James “JIMBOB” Patrick Graham
Words are inadequate to describe the life and spirit of James P. Graham (affectionately known by many as “Jimbob”). Part wildcatter, part gentleman, part good ol’ boy, part statesman, part warrior, part rebel, indisputably a beloved Texas legend, he walked a fine line between everyday man and larger-than-life figure, unabashedly comfortable at a Harley-Davidson rally or a ritzy-glitzy Aspen affair at the Caribou Club. Born in Tyler, Texas on October 16, 1947, Jimmy passed away suddenly of a heart attack in his home in Dallas, Texas on November 13, 2019, while enjoying his daily nap in the warmth and comfort of his Elvis room. He peacefully went to sleep and woke up in heaven with the good Lord. Jimbob lived an extraordinary life with numerous adventures and paths that touched the lives of many people. He grew up in Tyler, Texas, and some of his best friends to this day are from his time at Robert E. Lee High School where he was a stud all-state running back, track star, and Mr. Robert E. Lee. He graduated with honors in the top 3% of his Senior Class from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969 and then received an MBA in Finance from Southern Methodist University in 1971. After college, Jim began his career in the oil and gas business at the bottom of the totem pole as an eager landman with Hunt Oil & Gas. After a few short years he decided to try his luck at running his own business and founded Palo Petroleum, Inc. in 1976. A couple of “dry holes” later, he was down on his luck and on his last dime, when Palo discovered the legendary Blind Hog field in Central Texas which catapulted his career into many more opportunistic and impactful ventures down the road, including keeping Schick Shadel Hospital, an alcohol and drug addiction treatment facility located in Seattle, WA, from closing its doors. He served as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Schick Shadel for 10 years. Jimmy met and married his wife, Pamela Loaring-Clark Graham (aka Princes P), 45 years ago and considered his life complete with his true soul mate. They loved traveling the world or simply hanging out with good friends and family at their lake house in Austin, mountain home in Snowmass or at the ranch in Evant, Texas…no matter where they were, they were seen by all as the inseparable couple people naturally gravitated towards. Jimmy loved the Lord, his family, his friends, riding his Harley, skiing, scuba diving, boating, travel and anything pertaining to the Longhorns, English bulldogs and Elvis. He lived by an honor code where a handshake still meant something, a code that comes from living an upright life with integrity and care for others. In addition to his many business ventures, Jim also served as president and managing general partner of the 1986-87 MISL Championship Dallas Sidekicks, Dallas’ first professional sports champions in over a decade at the time. Jim was actively involved in the community and the City of Dallas on many fronts. As an civic leader and volunteer, Jim served as president, committee chair and member of the Dallas Park and Recreation Board, was a past president of the Friends of Fair Park and was the founding chairman of the City of Dallas’ “Send a Kid to Camp” program, a program to re-establish summer camps in city parks for inner-city youth. In 1988 he was appointed by Mayor Annette Strauss and the Dallas City Council to serve as the city’s sole negotiator with entertainment giant, MCA, Inc., for the contract renegotiation of the Starplex Amphitheater (now Dos Equis Pavilion) for which the Friends of Fair Park proclaimed him the charter member of the Knights of the Magnolia Society. Jim was also appointed by the Dallas City Council as Chairman of the World Cup Dallas 1994 Bid Committee. Competing against 33 other U.S. cities, Dallas was awarded six games, including one of two opening games, was selected as the site for the International Broadcast Center and operational headquarters for the world’s largest single sporting event. Jim was appointed by Dallas City Council along with Lamar Hunt in 1992 as co-chair of the World Cup Dallas 1994 Host Committee, which was recognized by FIFA as the best of the nine U.S. host committees. The highly successful 1994 Dallas World Cup games had an economic impact in excess of $300 million and presented Fair Park and Dallas to over 1 billion people around the globe via television. In 2009 Jim was appointed by Mayor Tom Leppert to serve as co-chairman with Clark Hunt to lead Dallas’ efforts to help bring the FIFA World Cup games back to the United States and Dallas in 2018 or 2022. Jim also chaired the White Rock Lake Master Plan Development Committee; co-chaired the Fair Park Master Plan Development Committee and served as a director for the Dallas Grand Prix at Fair Park and the Dallas 2012 Olympic Bid Committee. Jim was also a former director and executive committee member of the board of Mountain States Legal Foundation. In 2015 Jim was honored with the Spirit of the Centennial Award for his many years of outstanding service to Dallas’ jewel, Fair Park. Jim has been inducted into the North Texas Soccer Hall of Fame and is a past recipient of the Dallas All Sports Association “Big D” Award. Jimmy is survived by his precious wife, Pamela, his two boys, Jace Graham, married to Hilary, with grandsons Jimmy Jett and Beau Chancey; and Tyler Graham, married to Jessie and soon to be born grandson, Brody (aka Baby Slugo as dubbed by Jimbob). There are many cousins, nephews, nieces and adopted family members, known as “best friends”, who adored him and happily followed wherever he went. Jimbob’s energy and East Texas warmth endeared him to many, and he will be profoundly missed by his family and friends. He was an inspiration with his high-octane energy, razor sharp wit, and was never too busy to share one of his priceless “Jimbob-isms” to brighten up your day. God bless Texas, and God Bless Jimbob! There will be a Visitation on Wednesday, November 20th starting at 6:30pm followed by a Vigil at 7:30pm at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home located at 7405 W. Northwest Highway, in Dallas, Texas, 75225. A Celebration of Jimmy Graham’s life will be at 3:00pm, Thursday, November 21st, at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church located at 9200 Inwood Road, in Dallas, Texas 75220. Jimbob was larger than life and lived his life fully and honorably. He expected the same from all who knew him. To continue the mission he began in 1988 and to celebrate his charitable legacy, memorial contributions may be made to Communities Foundation of Texas “SEND A KID TO CAMP”, 5500 Caruth Haven Ln, Dallas, Texas 75225 or online at https://portal.cftexas.org/send-a-kid-to-camp.