James R. Agar, prominent local businessman, civic leader and husband of the late Jere Agar, passed away peacefully at his home in Norman on November 21st. He was 86.
The son of a prominent meatpacking family, Mr. Agar was born in Chicago, Illinois to John George Agar and Lillian (Rogers) Agar and later moved to Beverly Hills, California at the age of 14. He attended Lawrenceville preparatory school in New Jersey where he befriended Norman resident Graham Belton Johnson, Jr. who introduced Agar to his sister, Jere, also from Norman. The introduction began a romance which spanned over 65 years. Jim and Jere married in 1953.
Jim attended Stanford University where he played on the baseball team and graduated with a bachelor's degree in history in 1953. After graduation, Jim received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was called to active duty soon thereafter and served the next two years in Germany with Jere at his side.
After his tour of duty in the Army was complete, Jim planned to return to Beverly Hills and pursue a potentially lucrative acting career as his older brother, John Agar had done. But after the tragic and untimely death of Jere's brother in 1954, Jim left behind his dreams of going to Hollywood and instead chose to make Norman his new home in 1956.
For the next 60 years, Jim amassed an impressive list of achievements as both a businessman and civic leader. He successfully ran the largest insurance agency in Norman, managed a savings and loan, served on the board of City National Bank (now First Fidelity Bank) and Harold's Clothing, Inc., operated a large farm and cattle ranch near Norman, owned a small chain of WIC grocery stores, and jointly owned two oil companies with his brother, Frank Agar.
Jim was elected to the Norman City Council from 1970-1972, and was a member of both the Rotary Club and Lion's Club. He served as senior warden of St. John's Episcopal Church in Norman, where he and Jere were married. Jim also started the "Bootstrap Program" which aimed to give disadvantaged youth financial support and a mentor in the business community. He and Jere were also benefactors for Norman Regional Hospital, St. John's Episcopal Church, and the University of Oklahoma.
An avid golfer, Jim won dozens of tournaments in his lifetime, culminating in his 1987 victory at the World Senior's Championship at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. His other interests ranged from scuba diving to poetry to flying airplanes.
Jim is survived by their four adopted children, including his son, Graham B. Agar of Austin, Texas; his daughter Lacy A. Barrett of Norman, Oklahoma; his daughter Adrienne Hernandez of San Antonio, Texas; and his son Colonel (Ret.) James R. "Jimbo" Agar II of Alexandria, Virginia and their spouses. He is also survived by six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; wife Jere; his two brothers; and one sister.
Visitation will be held Monday November 27 from 2:00 PM - 7:00 PM with family receiving friends from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM at Tribute Memorial Care, 708 24th Ave. NW, Norman. Services are scheduled for 2:00 PM, Tuesday, November 28, St. John's Episcopal Church, 235 Duffy Street, Norman. Memorial donations may be made to Bridges (Independent Living for Teens) 1670 Stubbeman Ave, Norman 73069 (www.bridgesnorman.org) 405.579.9280. Online condolences may be shared at www.tribute.care (405.292.4787).
Published on November 24, 2017