James Martin Hoggard
1941 - 2021
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James Martin Hoggard

Wichita Falls - James Martin Hoggard died on February 23, 2021. He was born on June 21, 1941, to Reverend Earl and Mrs. Helen Hoggard in Wichita Falls, Texas. After serving in other locations as a Methodist minister, Rev. Hoggard and his family returned to Wichita Falls in 1951, where he became senior pastor of Floral Heights United Methodist Church. From that day on, Jim Hoggard made Wichita Falls his forever home town.

Jim graduated from Wichita Falls High School ("Old High"), where he excelled in his studies thanks to a love of learning for its own sake. Inspired by his Latin teacher Nell Sammons, Jim studied four years of Latin. He also credited his art history teacher Joyce Samuels for introducing him to modern art, its depths and expressiveness. Much of his later writing would reflect a unique, sometimes visceral, vision of art, nature, and the harsh beauty and dramatic weather of the North Texas landscape. A lifelong athlete, Jim played center for the Wichita Falls Coyotes when the high school varsity team won the state championship in 1958. He became an Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow.

Time outside of school was devoted to outdoor adventures, running trap lines in the wilderness that became the Tanglewood subdivision, getting sprayed by skunks, chased by rattlesnakes, and spooked by a white-faced cow in the Texas twilight, among other adventures. Lakes Kemp and Kickapoo were cherished fishing and swimming spots. Lifelong friend and fellow Wichitan Frank Bracken shared many of those experiences with Jim, including the high school football championship. Frank remembers Jim as "brilliant, kind, and funny." A man dedicated to fitness and athleticism his entire life, Jim participated in the very first Hotter ´n Hell Hundred ride in 1981 and rode for 27 years. He ran nine marathons and enjoyed hiking.

Jim graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1963. While there, his interest in writing grew, as did his interest in foreign languages, including French and German. Spanish would figure in his later studies and work. He earned his MA in English from the University of Kansas in 1965. He returned to Wichita Falls in the summer of 1965 and began writing for the Wichita Falls Record News. Dr. Joseph Satin, English Department Chair at Midwestern State University noticed and admired Jim's writing and offered him a teaching position for the spring of 1966. Thus began a dynamic teaching career, spanning 48 years.

With Satin's encouragement, Jim decided to make a career of writing and teaching, putting equal emphasis on each. Although he began the academic tradition of earning a Ph.D., usually necessary for college teaching, Jim made a daring decision to "fire" his PhD advisers. Not that he didn't admire his mentors; his drive to write his own work was simply too strong to allow a major diversion. This choice sent his career down the "road less traveled" and created an important legacy in Southwestern literature in our country. Although Jim's specialty was teaching creative poetry and prose, he also taught basic rhetoric and composition, American

literature, and graduate seminars. He had a special reverence and understanding for the Greek tragedies. The seminar room in which he taught these works was named after him in 2015. He also developed three signature courses for the university. In 1977, he was named Hardin Professor, the highest award given to an MSU faculty member for sustained excellence in teaching, professional activity, and service. He was named McMurtry Distinguished Professor of Excellence in 1997, and in 2001 was named the Perkins-Prothro Distinguished Professor of English.

His awards and honors were numerous. Texas began the new millennium with James Hoggard as Texas Poet Laureate in 2000. Other honors and award highlights were a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Grant; the Hart Crane and Alice Crane Williams Memorial Fund Award for Poetry; publication in Best American Short Stories; the PEN Texas Poetry Award; Souerette Diehl Fraser Translation Award from the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters; and the Lon Tinkle Award for Excellence Sustained Throughout a Career from the Texas Institute of Letters. Jim was elected to become a member of the Texas Institute of Letters in 1979. He later served as its president, secretary and treasurer in various years and was designated a Fellow of the organization.

Jim headed the Midwestern State University Press for 29 years. He served as project manager and editor in the publication of 22 books related to American literature, performing arts, regional history, and natural science. Under his leadership, the press published a wide range of topics, from author John Updike to oil wildcatter Bob Gunn, and Charley Farris, the first African-American female judge in Texas. Other subjects included: ballet greats Irina and Frank Pal; Leland Snow, founder of Air Tractor; important studies on ice age mammals of North and Northwest Texas; and the history of Midwestern State University.

Former President of MSU Jesse Rogers wrote: "Quickly upon his arrival, Jim established a reputation as a popular and respected teacher."

Students who took Jim Hoggard's classes weren't likely to forget the experience. Artist and teacher Willetta Crowe remembers: "When Professor Hoggard compared a mesquite tree to a rose, he opened my eyes to seeing beauty in the ordinary. He taught me to appreciate the skill involved in crafting poetry, combining the exact words to invoke sound, imagery and meaning. He shared his own poetry: the process, frustration, and joy. He ignited a spark that I've shared with my junior high and high school students as a librarian and teacher. That spark continues to burn in my heart and mind."

Outside the classroom, Jim produced a prodigious body of work that included poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, feature writing, columns, and reviews. He published more than 300 poems in various anthologies and journals, more than 30 short stories, three novels, one non-fiction book, two collections of short stories, and approximately 60 essays and nonfiction works. His nonfiction pieces appeared in literary journals, as well as high-circulation, consumer publications, such as Texas Highways, The Texas Observer, the Dallas Morning News, The Times Herald, and Texas Monthly. He published 23 books, including 11 collections of poetry during his lifetime, the last being Where Three Winds Meet, which included art and photography from fellow creators in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. Prior to that, Texas Christian University published New and Selected Poems by James Hoggard as part of their series on Texas poets laureate. Jim contributed numerous reviews on books by other authors to many publications. He also translated approximately 200 poems and completed six book translations from the Spanish, the most recent being Ashes in Love by Oscar Hahn. Jim was invited to read, teach, and lecture at numerous events and several institutions, including universities abroad in Mexico, France, Spain, England, and Iraq. He had seven plays produced during his career.

As he steadily contributed his writing to many sources, he also contributed to his community of Wichita Falls. Jim served on the boards of the Wichita Falls Symphony and the Wesley Foundation, and donated his time to present programs and in-service training sessions at various churches, the Downtown Rotary Club, local high schools, and the Texas State Poetry Society.

And, last but not least, he wrote the lyrics to 11 anthems set to music by Kiyo Watanabe and performed by the Wichita Falls First United Methodist Church choir. He was a dedicated member and constant presence at First United Methodist Church in Wichita Falls for many years. As Jim wrote in one of his anthems based on Psalm 26:8, the church was also his home: "This sanctuary where we sing is home to joy and home to grief, a home for blessed speech, a home where hymns and prayers rise, and earth is one with sky."

Hoggard's work was marked not only by originality and a unique voice, but also by an undying commitment to keep working and giving. Even as he came to terms with changes wrought by Parkinson's in later life, "Jim never lost the determination to adjust to new circumstances and meet new challenges," noted Jesse Rogers. "In all he did in life, he stands as a magnificent testament to the human capacity to persevere."

James Hoggard is survived by his wife Lynn Taylor Hoggard; brother Charles Hoggard and wife Connie; son Jordan Hoggard; daughter Bryn Talkington and grandsons Nickolas and Jack. He was preceded in death by parents Earl and Helen Hoggard.

Jim's family would like to give special thanks to Hospice, First United Methodist Church, and Tamara Graham and the staff at The Pines. Funeral arrangements are with Hampton Vaughn / Crestview.

A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. Memorials may be sent to First United Methodist Church, Midwestern State University, and Hospice of Wichita Falls.




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Published in Times Record News from Feb. 24 to Feb. 25, 2021.
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17 entries
March 4, 2021
Many artists and writers who experience great success in life end up living ego-first. Jim was never like that. He reveled in being a part of our local community, always willing to lend a hand when someone needed advice, writing critiques, or another member to serve on a church committee or community board. Jim lived soul-first, always ready with insights, a great story and a mysterious smile. To know him was to have your life influenced or even changed n a positive way. A good friend to many, he will be deeply missed. It's a good time to remember his wife, colleague and life partner, Lynn Taylor Hoggard, also a professor, poet, author and translator. Together they have woven a legacy, for which we are all the richer and the better. Not only in Wichita Falls, but across the nation and beyond. Sending much love to Lynn and giving thanks that I life gave me the gift of knowing and working with Jim.
Ysabel
Friend
March 2, 2021
Mr. Hoggard was one of the most impactful professors, teachers, mentors, and friends that I ever encountered. He inspired me with his passion for truth, clear expression, and understanding. As a teenager who hadn't encountered many great minds yet, he also inspired me to keep going, that people I could admire were out there. He caused me to seek a clarity of thought and expression that otherwise I might never have known was so important. So much of who I am, and my writing, and my view of the world, I owe to him. Thank you Mr. Hoggard for everything that you did for me and for so many others. My deepest sympathies and much love to his wife Dr. Hoggard.
Leila Ali
Friend
February 28, 2021
As a freshman/sophomore student in Jim's Creative Writing classes, I discovered something and someone very unique in academia. Here was a prof/instructor/teacher that was not only extremely competent in their area of study and expertise, but also passionately and actively involved in the subject matter (writing) along with his students progress and growth.
I must say he received the upmost respect and admiration from his students; the kind and personal attention he gave to everyone was remarkable. He was gentle, he was eager, his eyes were alive with anticipation.
I learned much from many of his teachings and ideas, but one small phrase of his that never escaped me (after 47 yrs), which was invaluable in helping me 'to see,' was
"...based upon this person's orientation toward experience..."
Sleep well my friend. His Kingdom is coming.
John J Fox
Student
February 28, 2021
Godspeed.
Roy Baggett
Acquaintance
February 26, 2021
Lynn, we were saddened to learn of Jim's death. We send our sincerest condolences to you and your family. We have enjoyed the many conversations with the two of you at the annual meetings of The Texas Philosophical Society.
D. Jack & Gail C. Davis
Friend
February 26, 2021
While we greatly anticipated each new book of Jim and Lynn's, we knew them best as lovers of the outdoors in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. Jim was active, kind, intelligent, and creative. He and Lynn were, from our perspective, the perfect couple. When he walked out on his deck to greet us in the cool mountain air, the mischievous twinkle in his eyes and the smile on his face immediately brightened the day. How greatly our lives have been enriched by his presence.
Tillman and Carolyn Rodabough
Friend
February 25, 2021
Jim Hoggard was a true man of letters and faith. I studied with him both as an undergrad and in graduate school where he sat on my Thesis Committee. His generosity of spirit - particularly with his time - was boundless. Nearly thirty years have passed, but I can remember drinking coffee with him discussing his travels in the Middle East, the Gospels, Ezra Pound, politics, weight training and cycling, a shared love for Yeats. . . like it was yesterday. He and Lynn would regularly take students to Dallas to see foreign and arts films with drinks and discussion to follow. His class on the Greek tragedies was the best college course I ever took. He did not lecture; he engaged. Jim was also hilarious. For Jim, teaching was a calling - a great one. He instilled in all his students a lifelong passion for learning that has remained with me so many years later. To aptly quote Yeats, "education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." We pray for Jim's family, particularly Lynn and his children for this great loss. But we also say a profound prayer of thanks for the blessing of Jim's life. Chris Gilbert
Chris Gilbert
Student
February 25, 2021
The best teacher, mentor, friend.
Barry Lucy
Friend
February 25, 2021
Dr. Hoggard was one of the best professors I have ever had. I will never forget what he taught me about poetry, and just life in general. He told some wonderful stories, and was just a wonderful man. Prayers for his wife (another wonderful professor) and family. May the grace of God see you through this trying time.
Laura Estrada
Student
February 25, 2021
Jim was always the one with a smile and a comforting comment when we were in high school. The respect and admiration by all was well deserved. His love of Life was shared in so many ways. He will be missed.
Linda King
Friend
February 25, 2021
Out of the depths we cry to you, O Lord. Hear our voice.
We wait for you, O God. Our souls wait for you.
Give us now your word of hope.
We know your love is steadfast, always there when we need it.
Let us feel your presence now in our time of sorrow.
Help us to look to tomorrow to see hope beyond grief,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-
Student
February 25, 2021
Jim was an amazing professor. I'll always cherish the memories of the stories he told about his past during class, and I feel especially blessed to have taken Creative Writing: Poetry with him. His poetry was wonderful and his teaching style was just as good. I wasn't a great poet, but Jim always pointed out the great bits of each piece I turned in. He will be sorely missed, and I wish Lynn and their family all the comfort in the world.
Crystal Land
Student
February 25, 2021
Mr. Hoggard was one of my favorite professors at MSU. As an English major, I both took his literature and creative writing courses. He was always kind to me. He was always happy to talk with me after class, be it about writing or college or life in general. He was also very supportive of my creative writing, and he always took the time to read my stories and give me feedback, both on the ones I wrote for class and the ones I wrote outside of class. His encouragement meant a great deal to me. Although I am greatly saddened to hear of his passing, I will always hold fond memories of him as a teacher and a mentor in my heart.
Carrie Sullivan
Student
February 25, 2021
Can ‘t think of not hearing his voice again; have to wait until the other side. What a friend. What a man.
Barryskiles
February 25, 2021
Jim Hoggard was an extraordinary teacher, one whose memory was long and whose humor was fast. I learned many things as a student in his classes. Jim taught me to embrace my Texan heritage, and I have felt compelled to share that thinking with anyone else since. MSU was fortunate he chose to alight in Wichita Falls, as we all are fortunate to have nourished our souls in his generous classroom. As I begin teaching Lonesome Dove to my sophomores, I am sad today.
Lori Edmonson Welch
Student
February 25, 2021
An amazing, talented, and inspiring teacher who could make you see things in a whole new and often hysterically comedic way. Some of my best memories of my time at Midwestern are from his classes and hearing him recite his poetry at our English club parties. Fare thee well, free spirit.
Lis Burckhalter Libengood
Student
February 24, 2021
Jim’s talent as a writer is only matched by his caring, kind, and loving spirit. In loving gratitude to a fine man.
Jinny Marting
Friend
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