Dr. James William Stegall passed away peacefully in his sleep at Crestview Retirement Community in Bryan on Friday, April 27, 2012. Jim was born in Smetana, Texas, on June 25, 1928. He was the first child born to Howard Arthur Stegall and Louise Carol Lipscomb Stegall. Jim spent his childhood in Franklin. He had many stories to tell about those days of carefree and sometimes mischievous adventures with his best friend, Pryse Metcalfe, as well as many other dear friends and family members. He recalled the attack on Pearl Harbor that December 7th with great emotion as he ran home to find his mother sitting on her bed with the radio...
Dr. James William Stegall passed away peacefully in his sleep at Crestview Retirement Community in Bryan on Friday, April 27, 2012.
Jim was born in Smetana, Texas, on June 25, 1928. He was the first child born to Howard Arthur Stegall and Louise Carol Lipscomb Stegall.
Jim spent his childhood in Franklin. He had many stories to tell about those days of carefree and sometimes mischievous adventures with his best friend, Pryse Metcalfe, as well as many other dear friends and family members. He recalled the attack on Pearl Harbor that December 7th with great emotion as he ran home to find his mother sitting on her bed with the radio turned all the way up so the news was filling the entire house with the frightening events of the day.
Following high school graduation in Franklin Jim entered the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. He graduated in the class of '49, and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. He also received his Master's and Ph.D. degrees from TAMU. Thus began the 'Great Aggie Tradition' in the Stegall Home! His amazing love and pride in HIS College was renown in the area and there had best be no cheering for The University of Texas around him. His girlfriend during these years was his future wife, Evelyn. Evelyn attended The University of Texas and was quite a beauty that received many impressive 'titles' at this 'school' in Austin. At one Thanksgiving game Evelyn chose to cheer on 'her' school while sitting with Jim and the Corps – Dad always smiled and spoke with pride about his manly prowess in letting his girlfriend know that would not ever be acceptable behavior again! She always laughed about it with that mischievous little smirk that is one of her trademarks. Jim's love for his college gave him the opportunity to have a 'cameo' moment in a recent production called "Aggies, The True Story of Texas A&M" narrated by Lyle Lovett.
Jim met his wife, Evelyn Gladys Blazek Stegall, when she was in primary school in Franklin. Evelyn was dressed in a sailor outfit directing a choir with a little stick and she turned around when Jim and his friends came into the room. Dad said she looked at him with the most interestingly beautiful eyes he had ever seen. That day he told Pryse and all his friends "I am going to marry that girl!" He said they all laughed at him and told him to forget it. As it would turn out he DID marry that girl on August 12, 1949 in Hearne, Texas and they spent the next 63 years together. Evelyn's mother and father (Vlasta and Joe Blazek) were thrilled with their younger daughters' choice and the two of them never spoke a negative word about their beloved son-in-law, Billy Jim.
Dr. Stegall was often called by his family nicknames: To his children and grandchildren, he was "Pops" and Papa. To his sisters, nieces and nephews, and long-time friends, he was "Billy Jim". To his friends in Franklin and Hearne he was known as Pete or Bubba. To many neighbors and friends, he was simply "Jim". By whatever name he was known, he was loved and revered.
Following graduation from Texas A&M in 1949 Jim served as a commissioned officer and was on active duty in Korea in the Second Korean Winter campaign, earning the Korean Service Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the U.N. Service Medal. After his tour of duty in Korea, Jim returned home and continued to serve in many capacities in the US Army Reserve. In 1974, Jim was promoted to Colonel and subsequently became the Commander of the 443rd Military Intelligence Detachment (STRAT) based in Bryan. He served with the unit until his retirement in 1980 when he was awarded the Legion of Merit, the nations fifth highest award.
Just prior to leaving for Korea in 1951 Jim and Evelyn welcomed their first child. A girl named Billie Lynn (named for both of her parents). Upon his return from Korea the family moved to Burkeville, Texas, where both Jim and Evelyn became instant beloved citizens of the community. Both taught school, and Jim coached, did some administrative jobs, and proudly said he even cleaned the buildings and fields, sanded the desks in the summer to prepare for the next school term, and kept the playgrounds and fields ready for use. It was during this time that their second child was born. Joe Arthur Stegall was born in Jasper, Texas, on April 5, 1954. Both Jim and Evelyn adored their two children and always said they were blessed to have one of each, a boy and a girl.
Jim Stegall had a long and varied history of service to the community. In recent years, his compassion and involvement was recognized with the Jefferson Awards held annually to celebrate citizens. Jim assisted the Lions Club Governor Freddie Wolters in organizing the first club chartered in 1973-1974 in Lions International, The College Station Morning Club. He also assisted in organizing and chartering night activities of the Bremond Lions Club and the Grimes County Lions Club. He served as president or chairman of many organizations, including St. Joseph Hospital, the Bryan Lions Club, the First United Methodist Church Administrative Council, Brazos County United Way, Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center, Methodist Retirement Services, Inc., The Bryan Independent School Board, Texas A&M's College of Education Development Council, the Bryan-College Station Knife and Fork Club, and the Franklin Lindsay Student Aid Fund. Other boards and groups that benefitted from Mr. Stegall's involvement include The Boy Scouts, Brazos County Girls Club, Bryan Boys Club, the B-CS Chamber of Commerce, Brazos County Counseling Services, St. Joseph Foundation of Bryan and Region VI Educational Service Center. He served in The Association of Former Students as class agent for the Fighting Texas Aggie Class of '49.
Jim came from a long line of educators including his mother, Louise Lipscomb Stegall, his uncle, Travis "Mr. Lip" Lipscomb, and other relatives employed by Franklin ISD, some of whom remain in the teaching profession today. His daughter, Lynn, followed in his footsteps, teaching in Houston for many years. The Bryan Public Schools from 1955 – 1970 employed Jim. He was much loved by the hordes of students who then and now refer to him as a favorite teacher, coach, and administrator. He molded the young people of Bryan while working on several campuses: Lamar, Jones, Milam, and Stephen F. Austin. Colleagues and faculty alike adored and respected him because he was a team player, a part of the school, always giving and pitching in to help the kids.
Jim retired as principal of Stephen F. Austin High School in 1970 when he was hired by City National Bank to start their Trust Department. He later became an Executive Vice-President and Trust Officer for First City Bank, Texas. He remained with the same bank, although the bank had many name changes, until his retirement as Regional Trust Officer for Wells Fargo Bank in 1992. He was a graduate of the Southwest Graduate School of Banking, SMU, a member of the Administrative Council, Texas Bankers Association, and Chairman, Education Committee, Texas Bankers Association. Local attorney, friend and family member, Fred Davis said of Mr. Stegall, "He basically invented the position of Trust Officer in Brazos County".
Jim loved his family beyond measure. Their annual trips to South Padre Island with everyone in tow became a tradition and provided many sweet times and memories for his children and grandchildren. While Jim loved his children he was enthralled with his grandchildren. Lynn's two boys were his pride and joy as the adventures of Papa and his boys became legendary in the Stegall household. On one particular occasion the family had gathered for dinner and Grandmother Blazek remembered she had left the homemade rolls at her house down the street. Upon starting her car and attempting to back the car out of the driveway a loud 'explosive' sound echoed. Papa stood up and said, "It's alright. I know what that was." We went out to the driveway where Papa, Jim, and Jason had been practicing hooking up vehicles to each other for towing purposes. As Grandma backed the car out the front bumper was pulled off, and Pop assured everyone that it was not a big thing and it would be fixed right away!
The family continued to grow with his son, Joe and his wife, Barbara's additions of two grand daughters. Andrea Kelly and Megan Eileen were born in Bryan and spent much of their childhood with their Papa. He taught them how to drive his truck on the family farm, and never missed a dance recital.
His love for his grandchildren was unlimited and unconditional. He never failed to provide them with whatever he could in every way. He adored his family and at every turn sacrificed his needs and wants to insure his family had what was important to them.
There was never a problem Papa and Mama couldn't be a part of helping solve – way too many to express here.
As can been said about many larger than life heroes of "The Greatest Generation", James Stegall has more accolades and virtues than this page can contain. From the Jefferson Award to his other endeavors, watching the Aggie documentary and his presence therein, to wings at Crestview Retirement Center dedicated and named for him, to his presence at Veterans' Park and service on boards not yet mentioned, to his tennis partners at Briarcrest Country Club, to serving on community advisory boards at the Junior League of Bryan-College Station and Sam Rayburn Middle School, Mr. Stegall's dedication to the world ensures that he has left this earth a better place because he was here. His devotion to his wife, his family, his friends, and his world will long be remembered by all the loved ones he leaves behind. His tender, gentle, and sweet spirit endeared him to all who knew him.
Jim's parents, his sisters, Nelda Louise Metcalfe of Franklin, and Nancy Carol Phillips of Easterly, as well as one brother, David Stegall of Franklin, predeceased him.
He is survived by his wife, Evelyn Gladys Blazek Stegall of Bryan and his two children, Billie Lynn Stegall McKemie and her husband, John Edward McKemie, of Houston, and Joe Arthur Stegall and his wife Barbara Ann Stegall of Forney, Texas.
He is also survived by 4 grandchildren: James Edward McKemie (wife, Carrie) of Houston; Jason Emory McKemie (wife, Adrienne) of St. Petersburg, Florida; Andrea Kelly Stegall Bouressa (husband, Chris) of Dallas; and Megan Eileen Stegall Trenchard (husband, Charlie) of Baltimore, Maryland. And 3 great grandchildren: Ella Claire Crabtree of Houston, Olivia Novie Bouressa of Dallas, and John Joseph McKemie of Houston.
He is also survived by a host of nieces and nephews, one of whom was instrumental in composing this tribute, Sue Ellen Davis.
Pallbearers will be Chris Bouressa, Red Burditt, Fred Davis, Ronald Hale, Joe Hanover, Al Jones, John Phillips, Scott Phillips, Kent Potts, and Charlie Trenchard.
Visitation will be from 4:00pm to 7:00pm Monday May 7th, at Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan. Services are set for 10:30am Tuesday, May 8th, at First United Methodist Church in Bryan with interment at 3:00pm at the Wheelock Community Cemetery.
Charitable donations may be made in Jim's name to MRC Crestview or to First United Methodist Church of Bryan.