FAIRBORN – Deputy Mayor James Hapner of Fairborn originally planned to retire after his term was complete. However, he did not intend for his home to be sold as quickly as it has. Therefore Hapner will take an earlier retirement, effective Sept. 1.
He and his wife plan to move to Florida to be closer with their family. The deputy mayor said his decision was not based on politics or his health.
“This is my retirement and it’s strictly because my wife and I are moving to Florida to be near our children,” Hapner said. “It’s a nonpolitical issue, it’s a personal issue … We’re looking forward to our move down to Florida.”
He has been involved with the city for the past 25 years, beginning with the beautification committee, then the city’s planning board, followed by the zoning board of appeals then the planning board once more. After a former councilman passed away, Hapner stepped up to the plate to finish the term on the city’s council. He then ran and was elected for a seat on council, and was later appointed to the deputy mayor position. Council members, city staff and Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick honored Hapner and his wife during the Aug. 17 meeting, and presented them with a clock and flowers.
“It was a great run,” Hapner said. “It had its bumps and valleys, but for the most part serving the citizens of Fairborn for nine and a half years was a very pleasant experience … I feel like I served the citizens of Fairborn faithfully and it was a good run, it really was.”
He feels that he leaving his loose ends in relation to city business tied up, and has a positive outlook for the City of Fairborn in regards to the current city employees and growth currently taking place within the city.
“With the current council and city staff we have, it’s probably some of the best I’ve worked with during my nine and a half year period on council,” he said. “I forsee, with the economic development going on in Fairborn, nothing but great expectations. Especially along the I-675 corridor at the 235 exchange and the 444 exchange, I forsee, over the next few years, very rapid growth … I see nothing but positives for Fairborn in the future.”
In addition to retiring from his city duties, Hapner has ended his 40-year-career as a funeral director. His wife formerly served as the principal of Fairborn Primary School, but has since retired. Hapner said she is excited for the move.
Although he said he won’t miss Ohio’s winter season, he will be missing his companions in Fairborn and hopes to maintain their friendships.
“Fairborn is a melting pot of citizens, with our university and our Air Force base, of course we have a large appalachian community, but the warmth of the citizens is overwhelming to me,” he said. “I wish the Fairborn citizens well. I enjoyed my stay in Fairborn for the last 25 years.”