On August 3, 2022, James D. (Jim) Hogg died peacefully at his home in Alamo at age 80, with his daughters, Katie and Sylvie, and grandchildren at his side. The cause was metastatic melanoma.
Born October 17, 1941 in Columbus, GA, Jim was the only child in an Air Force family, living in multiple locations on the East Coast, and in Germany, throughout his childhood. Later, the family moved to Fresno, CA, where Jim went to Bullard High School (go Knights!) and graduated in 1959.
He headed back East for college, graduating from the George Washington University in D.C. with a B.A. in political science in 1963. Passionate about culture and politics, Jim relished the excitement of living in D.C. in the ’60s – the civil rights movement, the music, the arts. He was there in the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered “I Have a Dream” in August 1963.
Later, Jim moved back to California and earned a J.D. at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. One evening in the late 1960s, Jim attended a seamanship class at the Venice Yacht Club, and there he met his wife, Marilyn, whom he would call “Mate”-wife and best friend-for 49 years. (Of course they were meant to be, as Jim had shown up to the sailing class in his knee-weakening Ford Falcon wagon, while Marilyn had driven her zippy Alfa Romeo Spider.)
Jim and Marilyn raised two daughters, Katie and Sylvie, with many moves along the way, including Santa Monica, Laguna Beach, Saudi Arabia, Walnut Creek, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Dubai, and Alamo. He lived in the Bay Area for most of his life, though, and was always proud to call it home.
As an international business manager for energy projects for much of his professional career, Jim traveled frequently to the Middle East, Far East, and Southeast Asia. His silver Halliburton suitcase, emblazoned with exotic airport and hotel stickers from so many overseas voyages, remains an object of veneration.
Deep-thinking and curious, Jim amassed a wealth of knowledge on topics far and wide by devouring biographies, history and political books, the Washington Post, the New York Times and the New Yorker. He was always incredibly well informed, and would own you in any kind of current events debate.
He was also painstakingly precise, and you always knew where he stood (with a twinkle in his eye) about the “right” way to do everyday things, from parking to pronouncing “Adidas” to buying pasta (always De Cecco, people. Come on!) He had the savoir-faire and class of another time, and there was deliberate style to everything he did. And he had the BEST head of white hair you’ve ever seen.
Photography (and all gear and gadgets pertaining thereto!) was a lifelong passion of Jim’s as well as a great excuse to travel to places far and wide – Antarctica, Svalbard, Europe, Central America, the Southwest, Yosemite and even his own Alamo backyard – to capture shots that became family icons.
Jim was a huge fan of music, with major audiophile cred and tastes ranging from classical, jazz, folk, and world music to country, rock, and 80s pop. He kept an open, unsnobby mind about music and gamely blasted Lady Gaga and The Weeknd for his grandchildren.
He loved German cars (the exquisite design and attention to detail!), the Warriors and the Giants, good shirts and jackets, and pho Tai no. 17 from Kevin’s in Walnut Creek. He stayed up late watching classic movies, offbeat TV, sports, and British mysteries. He appreciated good writing and interesting language, and kept a journal of cool phrases from favorite shows and books.
Jim adored his yellow Lab, Posey, his steadfast companion for the last few years of his life, and saw her through orthopedic surgery and rehab even as he was undergoing debilitating cancer treatment. (Posey lives happily on with Jim’s daughter Katie and her chocolate Lab.)
Though Jim was perfectly fine spending time alone (and often preferred it), and cultivated a gruff, “Pale Rider”-style countenance for family photos-when everyone else was, you know, smiling-all of that belied how kind and empathetic he was, and what a kick he got out of life. He had an easy charm and a gut-splitting sense of humor-a little dark, a little dry, always smart-and so many classic, signature lines. When you hung out with Jim, you always had fun and felt a little cooler for your time with him.
More than anything, Jim was a fiercely loyal family man, a devoted and loving son, husband, father, and grandfather, and will forever be a towering model of character, integrity, generosity, and wisdom for his daughters. He treasured his family, celebrated everyone’s uniqueness, and believed in them. He was an encourager when you were trying something new or hard, and shared sincere delight when you related your adventures and exciting news. He loved openly: he told you how he felt and was affectionate and present.
As a dad and grandfather (“Gentoo”), he taught with a light hand-whether it was learning to throw a baseball, flying a drone, or stumbling as an adult, he quietly observed, gave select and precise and kind comments and suggestions and let you learn it yourself.
Jim was ever evolving in his interests, ever absorbing the world and culture around him, and never lost his sharpness and wit, even when the cancer had finally spread to the point where-to quote a Gordon Lightfoot song-he was “down and shit out of luck.”
He is survived by his daughters, Katie and Sylvie; son-in-law Tim; grandchildren Quint, Gemma, Sam, and Finn; and dog, Posey. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn, and parents Clare and Robert Hogg. We will all miss him dearly.
Published by Legacy Remembers from Sep. 22 to Sep. 23, 2022.