Jimmie “Jim” James Harvey Scoggins, age 83, noted Texan architect, commercial realtor, private pilot, artist and staunch advocate for Deaf rights passed away peacefully on February, 15, 2013, surrounded by his loved ones. Born November 24, 1929 in Stephens, Arkansas, Jim’s family moved to Texas when he was one week old. He graduated in 1947 from David Crockett High School in Conroe, Texas and went on to study Fine Arts at Mary Hardin-Baylor University in Belton, Texas. In 1948, he enlisted with the U.S. Air Force, became a chaplain and then served in the Korean War, where he served until 1952.
After his honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force as a staff sergeant with bronze star honors, Jim enrolled at the School of Architecture, University of Texas in Austin, fulfilling his lifelong dream to become an architect. While there, he saw a job posting for a part-time resident advisor at the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, where he added a new dimension to his life by acquiring American Sign Language skills, also honed while teaching football to 40 deaf middle school students. This led to his later commitment to advocacy on behalf of the Deaf community on the local, state, national and international levels.
He received his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Texas in 1957, then passed the architectural exam for the state in 1960 and moved to Irving, Texas in the same year. He continued his pursuit of excellence by taking up architectural design studies at the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico.
Jim ran a very successful architectural firm in Irving, Texas with partner Doug Reid Grogan, who passed away recently. Among the many commissions of Grogan and Scoggins from 1965 to 1985 were the current Irving City Hall, numerous churches, commercial buildings, public schools, personal residences, shopping centers and projects across North Texas. From 1985 to 1993, he practiced as Jim Scoggins, & Partners, Architects. While the bulk of his work was in North Texas, Jim also worked in California. In 1993, he retired and continued to work as an architectural consultant. At the time of his death, he served on a committee for the construction of a new police facility in Jonestown, Texas.
Certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Board, Jim received Architect Emeritus designation by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners in 2002; he was also a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Dallas and Inland California chapters, and the Texas Society of Architects.
Among Jim’s many architectural honors included merit and design awards from the AIA, Texas Society of Architects, the Dallas Chapter of AIA, the International Hotel and Restaurant Association, the American Association of School Boards and the American Association of School Administrators. He was also recognized by the Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Association of School Administrators.
While in Irving, Jim served on the Chamber of Commerce Junior Advisory Board and Local Affairs Committee, the Traffic Safety Commission and the Downtown Preservation Committee. His many roles included service as chair of the Joint Planning Group and the Fire Zone Study Committee. He was also chair of the Society of Irving Architects, vice president of Irving Aid, Creator of the Safety Town for children, and Honorary Chief of Police.
Jim was also elected official to the Dallas County Community College District Board of Trustees for seven years, during which time five out of seven colleges were built. He served as president of the Texas Association of Junior College Board Members and Administrators, as state chair of the American Association of Community College Trustees and as a member of the Dallas Baptist College Board of Trustees.
While advancing his professional career, Jim was a fierce defender of the human and educational rights of Deaf persons and worked in partnership with Deaf community leaders and members. He attained national certification as an American Sign Language interpreter and went on to serve as elected president of the Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf, affiliated with the national Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. He was instrumental in legislation that led to the creation of the Texas Commission for the Deaf in 1971, now known as the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services within the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. Subsequently he served on the state commission and received recognition by the Texas Association of the Deaf. Jim also served as interpreter and state coordinator for a seven-state Billy Graham Crusade tour, formed the Baptist Center for the Deaf, and chaired several international fundraising efforts to benefit Deaflympics athletes through his involvement with the Kiwanis Club of Irving, Texas.
Beyond his formal roles working in partnership with the Deaf community, Jim was beloved for his community building efforts through coordination of deaf social activities, e.g., softball teams, captioned movies and venison cookouts. He gave generously of his time and resources to those in need. For example, he helped create special memories for deaf children and adults by offering rides on his Harley Davidson motorcycle; he also invited families to his house on July 20, 1969 to watch the famous “man on the moon” moment on television - Jim interpreted so that they, too, could share in the historic excitement.
Jim was an architect, in more ways than one. He was an exceptional person of many talents and interests - the consummate lifelong learner, always including others with a twinkle in his eyes and a welcoming aura, generating smiles all around. His visionary prowess was evident throughout his many life endeavors - he was a source of inspiration, always ready to engage, nurture and mentor others in converting dreams to reality. He was quick to respond to requests for help, with no questions asked - to strangers and friends alike. Always quick to thank people, he showed genuine appreciation to all who contributed to the success of joint endeavors. Deeply proud of his two sons, Jim is remembered as a father and man who gave generously to them and to everyone so that all would have a better existence and for inspiring ethical, clear decision making in their lives.
An aficionado of the arts and architectural history and a classic car enthusiast, Jim took pride in his 1958 Corvette convertible, toured the U.S. with family and friends on his 1949 Panhead Harley Davidson and many cycles he owned during his lifetime, shared his love of flying as a private Cessna pilot, sold commercial real estate, and rooted for the Dallas Cowboys.
Well-loved by many for his kind soul and gentle nature, Jim doted on Bobbie Beth Bridges, who he married in 1978, and their shared love story of over 35 years is one that bridged families, languages, communities and countries. Jim was deeply engaged with his extended family, professional and civic colleagues and a wide circle of friends including those with whom he was involved in church-related endeavors. At the time of his death, he was immersed in research to identify sign language in medieval and renaissance works of art and structural adornments across the globe.
Jim was preceded in death by his father and mother, Wisdom Young Scoggins, Sr. and Viva Elizabeth Carpenter Scoggins, one brother and two sisters. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Bobbie Beth Scoggins of Jonestown; his son, Marrk Wisdom Scoggins and wife, Patricia Scoggins of Euless; his son, Michael Eugene Scoggins and wife, Danita Wallace Scoggins of Middletown, Ohio. With his wife, Jim is also survived by their daughter Kizzie Bridges Pomilio and husband, Nicola Pomilio of Rome, Italy, and their son Brandon Bridges and wife Sonia Bridges of Austin. His extended family includes eight grandchildren and a great grandson: Whitney Marie Scoggins, William Wallace Scoggins, James Michael Scoggins, Wayne Pomilio, Kyle Pomilio, Ariana Olivia Bridges, Finnley Lloyd Bridges, Ruby Ann Beth Bridges and Cayden Wisdom Scoggins. He is also survived by his sister, Annette Vincent of Sulphur Springs, Louisiana and his nephew, Stan Stover of College Station; and his mother in law Margie Lee Bridges of Jonestown.
The family requests in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to the “Jim Scoggins Deaf Education Advocacy Memorial Fund” and sent to Bobbie Beth Scoggins, 8504 Tip Top Drive, Jonestown, TX 78645. The purpose of this fund is to further public policy issues on the international, national, state and local levels related to Deaf education. In recent years, Jim supported educational advocacy efforts by the National Association of the Deaf and the Knowledge Center on Deafness, so the memorial fund in his honor has been created with these groups in mind.
A memorial service celebrating the life of Jim Scoggins will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, April 6, 2013 followed by a light reception, at the First Baptist Church, 403 South Main Street, Irving, Texas. To inquire further, call 512-815-7476 (v).