Mr. Raymond Hargis will celebrate his 85th birthday on February 10. When he was born on that date in 1928 Calvin Coolidge was president and it was a far different world than what we know today.
A member of the Grundy County High School Class of 1946, he played basketball and football in addition to being salutatorian and holding membership on the Annual Staff, Press Club, and Beta Club. Probably more importantly to a youngster, though, he was named “Most Handsome Boy” in the Class of 1946.
After high school he attended college and worked part-time jobs such as a sawmill worker and coal truck driver and enjoyed playing baseball in the old Mountain Valley League in the days when almost every town in the area had teams playing Sunday afternoon games.
During that time he was hired as the math teacher at Grundy County High School after the unexpected death of Mr. Rudolph Schild. He held that position until being drafted into the U.S. Army and served stateside in the Korean War.
Returning from military service, Mr. Hargis resumed his college studies and led Palmer Elementary School as Principal from 1955 to 1958. In 1958 a sense of change was in the air in Grundy County politics and an old baseball teammate, Harvey Brown of Palmer, urged him to run for County Court Clerk. He defeated the incumbent and held the position from 1958 to 1968 before using his background in education to run for school superintendent. He held that position from 1968 to 1976 and again from 1987 to 1992.
Mr. Hargis grew up as the only child of Lee and Thelma Troxler Hargis of Gruetli and today “Lee Hargis Road” is named in honor of the family. He is the widower of Doris Brown Hargis and they were married almost 60 years before she passed away in 2011. They are the parents of current Grundy County Director of Schools Joel “Jody” Hargis and retired teacher Deborah Hargis Boyd.
Palmer Town Historian David Patton says that, “Most people call him Raymond but he was my principal at Palmer School and will always be “Mr. Hargis” to me. I want to publicly thank him for all his help with my history work on Palmer and Grundy County. I don’t hesitate to say that with his background in education, sports, politics, and the church, he has known more people and more different kinds of people, than probably anyone in the history of Grundy County and he’s always willing to share this amazing knowledge with others.”
If you would like to send a card, the address is Mr. Raymond Hargis, 228 Sherwood Drive, Manchester, TN 37355.