Cover photo for James Park Stegall's Obituary
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1942 James Stegall 2024

James Park Stegall

February 8, 1942 — May 25, 2024

Fort Worth

James Park Stegall 

May 25, 2024



 

James “Jim” Park Stegall, father, husband, grandpa, artist, nurseryman, teacher and mentor, released hold of his trusty shovel and picked up the Creator’s key to the tool shed to begin his new adventure.  Jim passed away at home with the help of hospice and his family. He was born February 8, 1942 in Wichita Falls, Texas, to JD and Opal Stegall.  Most of his early years were spent in Winfield, Kansas where he graduated high school. He then left to study at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia from 1961 to 1966, working under Ben Kamihira, Franklin Watkins and Walter Stuempfig.  His work has been included in such shows as the National Academy of Fine Art Fellowship Show and Kenmore Galleries in Philadelphia. He won many awards, including the Emile Cresson Memorial Traveling Scholarship for study in Europe: first purchase award, Pittsburg National Show, and the Tarrant County Annual Exhibition.  The Cresson scholarship, enabled him to travel to Europe in 1966 where he spent 4 ½ months traveling the continent, ending up in Spain.  This was the beginning of his love affair with Spain. He returned home to Winfield, Kansas and secured a job on the railroad enabling him to save enough money to return to Spain in 1967 and stay for a year-and-a-half. If Franco had not been in power he would have stayed in Spain forever but life there was becoming very dangerous and he was forced to leave and return home in early 1969.

 

He traveled to Fort Worth to meet up with a classmate from the Philadelphia Academy. He obtained a position teaching art at the Fort Worth Art Center Museum School and in late 1969 married Julia Beth Capps.  He continued teaching art through the 70’s with various artists and was listed in Who’s Who in American Art 1976 12th edition. He finally bought property near Kennedale and built his own studio and frame shop. He could finally leave behind the frustrations of leasing a property and being forced to relocate due to rent increases or renovations. He would continue to teach art classes for many years but closed the studio as a result of the covid pandemic in 2020. Jim also taught classes at the Fort Worth Woman’s Club for many years and developed strong lifelong friendships with his students there and at his studio in Kennedale. 

 

In addition to teaching he also restored old master paintings. While at the Academy in Philadelphia he trained under art conservator, Marilyn Weidner as well as Sheldon and Caroline Keck in New York.  Many sought after Jim for his expertise and advice for restoration of their painting whether they were family heirlooms, old masters from Monet or simple everyday paintings. He treated all the same, repairing and restoring their treasures as though they were his own, giving them new life.   He continued his conservation and restoration work until the late 90’s. Having suffered toxic shock syndrome twice due to the chemicals he handled for restoration work, he was told one more time would kill him. 

 

Meanwhile, in addition to art classes and restoration work he decided he’d like to own a nursery and grow plants.  By this time Jim had married his second wife, Trish Bunker, in July 1988. They began the job of raising his children, Ben, Todd and Tonya and Trish’s children, Jackie and Matt along with running an art studio and a frame shop.   In1990 he began building greenhouses.  Basically, Jim by himself did all the work of building the structures, just as he had built most everything on his property. He grew for a few local county club golf courses and as time progressed, he acquired more courses. This of course required enlarging the greenhouses. Then he wanted to propagate his plants, requiring the addition of another greenhouse strictly for that purpose. The small propagation room in the existing greenhouses gave way to more room for growing what was propagated.  Propagation also meant perennials, which led to converting open land to sprinkler lines and areas for plants that were grown from cuttings. 

 

At this time, 2006 or 2007 the golf course industry was undergoing a change and losing memberships resulting in budget cuts and first to go were the flowers. Jim began to focus on opening the doors to the public, something he hadn’t tried. It was slow and hard.  He began reading every bit of paper, book, or article connected to plants and growing. Not a simple task for a man that was severely dyslexic. When he met Lucy Harrell, organic gardener and horticulturalist extraordinaire a relationship based on shared knowledge and know-how kick started the flow of business. The business blossomed. The ensuing years brought him great joy, but he was never quite satisfied, always bringing in more plants, needing to add bushes, trees, vines, ornamentals etc, etc, etc.   Finally there wasn’t a bare spot on the property! But customers blessed him with their patronage so the ebb and flow worked, plants coming in and plants going out!  Spring was the best of times. He was known for the hanging baskets that he grew which were stunning and absolutely a basketful of joy. His daughter Tonya worked with him for years and was there to help pick up the pieces when all was lost in the freeze of 2021. He couldn’t have done it without her or the support of his family. But he was the driving force, hard headed, loud, non-stop talker, no filter and so much more.  He was a treasure and an irreplaceable blessing.  Jim loved his work and everyone he met. 

His memory will live on in the hearts and the gardens of those who generously supported his nursey and his beautiful vision.

 

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Trish, children Ben & Wendy Henry, Todd & Wendi Stegall, Craig & Tonya (Stegall) Conner, Roddy & Jackie Venable, Matt & Jessica Schlauch: and Grandchildren Madison, Parker, Brinklee, Reese, Ethan, Jacoby, Annalise, Tyler, William and Aiden. Great-Grand Children, Ryder.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, June 3, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Emerald Hills Funeral Home & Memorial Park

500 Kennedale Sublett Rd, Kennedale, TX 76060

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Funeral Service

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Emerald Hills Funeral Home & Memorial Park

500 Kennedale Sublett Rd, Kennedale, TX 76060

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Private burial

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Celebration of Life

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Starts at 4:00 pm (Central time)

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