James Mason Hart

James “Jim” Mason Hart, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 23. He was 87.


Known as Jimmie growing up, he was born in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma on June 27, 1931 to Hazel and Mason Hart. After graduating high school in 1949, he attended Oklahoma A & M where his stellar high school football career led him to a spot on the college team. Soon after his transfer to the University of Oklahoma, he was accepted to West Point where he received an NROTC Scholarship and became a US Marine. Before moving to training at Quantico, Jim married Tommy Karen Kendall of Santa Anna, CA. They soon thereafter had 2 sons, Jack Steven Hart and Jeffrey Spencer Hart.


During his time with the Marines, he traveled the world, reaching the rank of Captain before returning to Oklahoma. Thanks to his experience in football, much of his Marine service during the Korean War was as officer-in-charge of a Marine Corp traveling football team (a scene similar to the ones in MASH). Following Jim’s years of service, he began work in the oil industry with Philips 66 out of Montana for a few years, a place he cherished in his memories before their move back to Bartlesville, OK. Always the traveler, he voyaged extensively to the four corners of the world to places like Milan, London, and Switzerland, commuting most often from Indonesia to Bartlesville, OK where the family stayed.


David Hall, Jim’s college roommate, then convinced Jim to settle down in Edmond and serve as Governor Hall’s Chief of Staff.  He then established a successful credit insurance company, in collaboration with lifelong friend and business partner Barry Switzer, which was ultimately sold to Transamerica. Through the insurance business, he developed many lifelong friends he later considered family in Northwest Arkansas.


Jim and Karen were married for 49 years and loved spending time with their children and grandchildren.  Following his wife Karen’s passing, he married Melinda Ahart, who he was married to for 13 years. They enjoyed traveling and spending time with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  She was at his side when he died. As fate would have it, Jim’s entire family met just last weekend to celebrate a life well lived. He was able to say a happy goodbye to his two sons and their wives, Jeff and Kathy of Oklahoma City and Steve and Vicki of Washington DC. His grandchildren arrived from Oklahoma City – Patrick and Olivia Hart, Mustang – Devin and Kelsie LeBlanc, Washington DC – Jessica Hart, Nashville – Mason and Ellen Hart and Houston – Katie and Justin Saski plus three great grandchildren from Houston – Mason, Ryan and Lillian Saski. He is also survived by his two stepdaughters, Ashley and Christina Davenport and grandson Austin Pickle. He left many heartfelt wishes to his “second” father, Dean Hart and family, and his extended friends and family in Pauls Valley.


Jim will be remembered for his love of Sooner football, ‘forcing’ his grandchildren to march Marine style and commentary that was never boring. He was a lover of golf, especially in his later years, belonging to River Oaks and Oak Tree Country Club. Playing with his “buddies” was a highlight of his weeks and prized above all were his golf adventures in Greenbrier with sons Steve and Jeff and grandsons Mason and Patrick. Jim always smiled at everyone he met and said many times that “a smile goes around the world.” His smile will forever remain in the hearts of all those he touched across the globe — from here to Indonesia.


Jim was a member of New Covenant Methodist Church of Edmond and his services will be held there at 2pm, Saturday April 27 with interment to follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jim’s name to the Infant Crisis Center of Oklahoma City.


Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019, at New Covenant United Methodist Church at 2:00 PM with Rev. Dick Lutz officiating.


Interment will follow with Military Honors at Memorial Park Cemetery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

1 thought on “James Mason Hart”

  1. Bob & Paula Ahart

    Jim lived the American dream and leaves a legacy his family and friends will long remember. I’m glad I was lucky enough to have been influenced by his wit, good humor and good sense. Now he lives the eternal dream in the presence of the Most High! God’s speed, Jim!

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