Ben Shervin, 84, of Ambler, a retired sales representative with a passion for basketball, died of colon cancer Tuesday at home.

Mr. Shervin was a gymnast at Northeast High School and later played tennis at Sturgis Playground in Olney near the home where he and his wife raised their six children. The men shooting hoops at the playground would ask him to play, and he got hooked on the game, his son Vincent said. He continued to play pick-up games into his 70s.

From 1965 to 1975, he refereed high school basketball games for Catholic, public and inter-academic leagues. After moving to Ambler in 1998, he coached sixth graders at Germantown Academy for eight years.

He was a familiar presence at area summer basketball league games, cheering players and offering advice, his son said. In 2005, the Hatboro-Horsham Girls Basketball Summer League honored him for his dedication to girls basketball. He received the Father Time Award from Sturgis Playground for his participation in and support of its basketball programs. In recent years, he enjoyed attending his grandchildren's games.

Mr. Shervin grew up in Kensington with 10 siblings. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Force as a radio operator aboard C-47s. He flew supply missions out of Naples, Italy, and survived a plane crash. He felt that every day after that crash was a bonus, his son said.

After his discharge, Mr. Shervin worked at two restaurants his family owned in Philadelphia and later was an institutional food sales representative. He was representing Jack & Jill Ice Cream Co. when he retired in 1988.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 55 years, Anne Quinn Shervin; daughters Anne Marie Stockbower and Carol Kelley; sons Daniel, Michael, and Christopher; 18 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

The funeral will be at 2 p.m. today at Urban Funeral Home, 1111 S. Bethlehem Pike, Ambler. Friends may call at noon. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham.

Memorial donations may be made to the Cardinal Dougherty High School Tuition Fund, Alumni Development Office, 6301 N. Second St. Philadelphia, 19120.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.