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James Ward (Jim) Hargrove

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JAMES (JIM) WARD HARGROVE, a long-time resident of Houston, passed away on Sunday, July 25, 2004. He was born October 31, 1922, in Shreveport, Louisiana, the son of Reginald Henry and Hallie Ward Hargrove, but moved to Houston at an early age. He went to school at Montrose Elementary and Sidney Lanier Junior High School in Houston, forming friendships that lasted a lifetime. He attended Sewanee Military Academy in Tennessee, where he was second in command of the Corps of Cadets as well as playing center for the football team. Returning to Houston and Rice University, Jim majored in Philosophy, worked as editor of the Thresher, and was named to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1942, Jim married Marion Elizabeth Smith, shortly before being called to active duty in the army. During WWII, he was a member of a team responsible for interrogating prisoners of war, an experience he documented many years later in his memoirs. Following the war, he began what was to be a long, varied, wide-ranging and successful business career. In 1947, he joined Texas Eastern Corporation. Over the course of the next 22 years, he served in a number of capacities, culminating in his position as Senior Vice President of Finance and Director. Jim left Texas Eastern in 1969 to become Assistant Postmaster General for Finance. He was instrumental in the reorganization of the Post Office department into the semi-autonomous US Postal Service, in which he held the post of Senior Assistant Postmaster General for Support Services. In 1976 he was appointed US Ambassador to Australia by President Gerald Ford, a position he retained until the end of the Ford administration. Returning to Houston, he joined the investment management firm Vaughan, Nelson and Boston, later renamed Vaughan, Nelson and Hargrove. He remained with the firm as a Chartered Financial Analyst until his retirement in 1985. During this time, he was also a member of the board of Transco Energy, and Blount, International. He was also non-executive Chairman of Pioneer Concrete, USA, a subsidiary of an Australian firm. Active in retirement, he continued to pursue business ventures, including partnering with management in the buyout of Entrix, Inc., an environmental consulting firm in Houston. He served as Chairman of the Board until 2003 and cared deeply for all the Entrix employees. Deeply religious, scrupulously honest, and generous with both his time and money, Jim fulfilled the admonition in Micah 6:8, And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. An active Presbyterian, he served as an Elder in several churches, most recently First Presbyterian in Houston. He taught very popular Bible study classes for various ages from High School Students to Senior Adults. He supported Operation ID, an organization that helps provide identification for the homeless so they can apply for other services, and was a life member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board. Jim is survived by his wife, Marion; his children, James Ward Hargrove Jr. and wife Linda, Florence Hargrove Ray, Thomas Marion Hargrove and wife Lizzy, William Henry Hargrove and wife Lynn; grandchildren, Charles Hargrove and wife Amy, Hugh Ray and wife Katheryn, Claire Hargrove, Hallie Ray, Derek Hargrove and wife Morag, Lindsey and Sam Hargrove; great-grandchildren, James Henry and Mary Carol Ray, and Cameron Hargrove; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws. A memorial service will be held at 2 P.M. on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 at First Presbyterian Church of Houston, 5300 Main, with the Rev. Asa Hunt, officiating. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to Operation ID, First Presbyterian Church or the Salvation Army.

Published in Houston Chronicle on July 26, 2004
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