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Jim Scoggins CB ’51

Jim Scoggins CB ’51 passed away Feb. 15. A noted architect, commercial realtor, private pilot, artist, and staunch advocate for Deaf rights, Jim graduated in 1947 from David Crockett High School in Conroe, and went on to study fine arts as a Campus Boy at Mary Hardin-Baylor. In 1948, he enlisted with the U.S. Air Force, became a chaplain, and then served in the Korean War. 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 at the 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 that were 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 and ran a successful architectural firm in Irving. Among his company’s many commissions were the current Irving City Hall, numerous churches, commercial buildings, public schools, personal residences, and shopping centers across North Texas. 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. 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. 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. 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.