James E. Hogle, longtime board chairman of Hogle Zoo, dies at 83

(Photo courtesy of Hogle Zoo) Longtime zoo chairman James E. "Jim" Hogle has died at the age of 83.

James E. “Jim” Hogle Jr., the longtime chairman of the board of the zoo named for his grandfather, has died after a yearlong battle with liver cancer. He was 83.

Jim Hogle served on the zoo’s board for 46 years, from 1974 until his death, and became its chairman in 1985. He held the title of chairman emeritus when he died.

“Jim’s leadership on the board is principally responsible for the zoo’s survival and success,” said current board chairman Paul Dougan.

Hogle was known as a master fundraiser and a skilled negotiator. One of his successes was striking a deal in 2003 with its neighbor, This Is the Place Heritage Park, to expand the zoo’s space for bigger and more animal-friendly habitats.

Hogle’s involvement in the zoo — named for his grandparents, James and Mary Hogle, who in 1931 donated the land at the mouth of Emigration Canyon where the zoo now sits — goes back to his childhood: When he was 12, Jim was paid a dollar a day to pick up trash around the grounds.

Hogle followed in the footsteps of not just his grandfather but his father, also named James E., who also served on the Hogle Zoo board for decades.

“My father believed he had to give something back, and he loved Salt Lake City as do I,” Hogle said. “When you’re associated with an institution, you’ve got to make sure it is as good as it can be for the community in which you live.”

Hogle also served on many other committees and boards. The Utah Nonprofits Association presented him with its Philanthropic Leadership Award in 2016.

In 2019, the zoo honored Hogle by naming its new meerkat exhibit after him.

“My father’s legacy and achievements will live forever through Utah’s Hogle Zoo,” said Hogle’s son, Patrick, who has been on the zoo’s board since 2002.

Hogle is survived by his wife, Theda, six children, and 10 grandchildren. Two children, Steven and Sarah, died previously.

A private graveside service, for family, is scheduled for Friday. Zoo officials hope to schedule a larger celebration of Hogle’s life next spring, COVID-19 restrictions permitting.