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Jimmy Bivins' daughter apologizes for funeral mess

3:05 PM, Jul 11, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The boxer's daughter has explained why she suddenly canceled her father's wake and funeral.

Jimmy Bivins died at the age of 92 on the Fourth of July, but his announced wake and funeral, scheduled for this week, were canceled twice by his daughter Josette Banks of Columbus.

"Josette Banks as his sole surviving child and next of kin would like to thank the community for its outpouring of support in this difficult time," Bivins' daughter said in a statement emailed to WKYC by her attorney, Bradley Hull IV.

Banks insists that her father had put her in charge of making arrangements. Other family members, including the Cleveland area nephews who looked after Bivins in his last years, say she had no such authority, and had not even seen her father in 14 years.

The nephews and their families made the local wake and funeral plans with Lucas Funeral Home of Garfield Heights.

"Initial arrangements were made but subsequently canceled," Banks said in her statement, "in order to bring those plans into full compliance with Mr. Bivins' wishes."

"Mrs. Banks apologizes to those who were inconvenienced as a result."

The off-again, on-again, off-again wake and funeral caused heartache for Bivins' nephews and their families, nephew Frank Nelson told WKYC. Just as the wake was about to begin on Monday, Banks called from her home in Columbus and ordered it halted.

Just as it was set to resume Tuesday, she called again and demanded a stop to the wake, and to Wednesday's scheduled funeral service and burial.

In her statement, Josette Banks did not specify when and where future arrangements for her father would take place. 

Bivins' Cleveland area relatives plan to challenge Banks in court, maintaining that she has no legal authority or standing to interfere in pre-planned wake and funeral arrangements.


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