James C. Leventis was born February 23, 1938, in Columbia, SC to parents Kathryn Kapsalis Leventis and Chris P. Leventis. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina in 1960, where he served as student body president and was awarded the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award. He received his J.D. from USC School of Law in 1964.
After law school, Jim worked as a commercial lending officer for Citibank in New York and later served as vice president and general manager of Genway Corporation, the nationwide leasing system of General Motors in Chicago.
In 1974, Jim returned to Columbia to set up his law practice. He served in many roles in the community including a member and chairman of the Richland County Council from 1976 until 1984; president of the USC Alumni Association in 1981; president of the Columbia Rotary Club in 1982; president of Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts of America from 1983 until 1985; chairman of the Central Midlands Regional Planning Council in 1984. He was a member of the Richland One Board of School Commissioners from 1986 until 1992; chairman of Cities in Schools from 1991 until 1993; co-founder of City Center Partnership in 2002; chairman of the Greater Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau; and president of the Parish Council, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.
During these years, Jim continued his involvement with banking. He became chairman of the board of Republic Bank in 1985. In 1995, he co-founded First Community Bank serving for 15 years as chairman of the board and retired in 2009 as chairman emeritus.
In 1988, he was chosen the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year. In 1985, he received the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. In 2004, he received the Richland County Bar Association’s Matthew J. Perry Civility Award and was inducted into the Richland School District One Hall of Fame in 2011.
Jim enjoyed spending time with his family. He was a consistent and supportive figure at his children’s sporting events, ballet performances, scouting activities and vacations together at the beach.
James C. Leventis died on November 9, 2015. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Laura Todd Leventis; his children, James Leventis (Ami), Laura McKinney (Jim), Todd Leventis (Meagan) and Cristina Vasilis (Stefan); and his grandchildren, Maggie Leventis, Tristan McKinney, Brennen McKinney, William McKinney, Kathryn McKinney, Erin McKinney, Wade Leventis, Claire Leventis, Ellis Leventis and Lia Vasilis.