James Best, was born March 31, 1946, the son of late Mr. July Best Jr. and Mrs. Daisy Mae Best in Hampton County, South Carolina. At an early age he joined Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Gifford, South Carolina and in 2000, he was appointed to serve on the Trustee Board. James was a 1965 graduate of Estill High School, Estill,SC. Upon graduating, he returned home to Philadelphia, making a primary stop at his mother’s residence. His love for traveling would lead him into Brooklyn, New York where he would eventually, reside for 40 years. While living in Brooklyn, he held several jobs, including a taxi driver. In the late 70’s he began working as a carpenter, and plumber and he would later retire in 2008.
In 1973, he married his High School sweetheart, Edna and renewed their vows in 1998. Their union was blessed with two children; James Gerald Best and Antonio Best, in addition to James’ son, Illya Bernie Owens.His favorite past times included :playing chess, softball, watching football, basketball and just about every sport imaginable. His favorite basketball player is Lebron James, but James would jokingly called him” Lavern James.
James is preceded in death by his parents, July Best Jr. and Daisy Mae Best; sister, Joanne (Heddie) Hawkins; brothers, Cloy Bobby Best, Eddie Best and Willie Brunson.James made a peaceful transition on September 9, 2021 Mt. Sinai Hospital.
He leaves to cherish his memories and legacy, his wife, Edna Best; three sons, James (Kimberly) Best, Illya ( Angela) Owens and Antonio (Chequita) Best. Twelve grandchildren, Christopher, Illya Jr., Ke’Angela, Elanta, Mickalla, Adourin, James, Keyhanna, Kailil, Kyla, Keymani and Kali. Five great grandchildren, Nevaeah, Illyanna, Ayden, E’moni & Jasiah. One sister and sister in law of Philadelphia, PA, Vivian and Laura Best. Three brothers, July Best & Harold Williams of Gifford South Carolina and Marvin Williams of Fairfax, SC. And a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
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