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Living Tribute to James W. "Jim" Fonteno
Born: July 2, 1926
Died: June 30, 2008

Jim Fonteno, born July 2, 1926 in Port Arthur, TX son of Walton and Lula Mae Fontenot, passed away June 30, 2008. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Manon “Blue” McFarland, and Margaret Bell and his brother, Jay Maxey.

At an early age he joined the merchant Marines and later joined the Army, receiving an Honorable Discharge. Jim continued to serve the people, as a Municipal court Judge in Baytown for a couple of years before moving to Houston in the early 60’s. There he became a real estate consultant and an independent fee appraiser. In 1970 he was appointed to serve as a Commissioner for the Houston Port Authority. He was elected in 1974 as Harris County Commissioner of Precinct 2 and served for twenty-eight years. He is well remembered for starting the first Harris County Senior Citizens program in 1975, which included an educational and recreational bus program as well as an after school program for at risk children, both of which are still thriving today. In addition, he instituted having an opening prayer at every Commissioners Court session. Also during this time he served as an auctioneer for many charitable fundraisers. One time he was flown by helicopter from one FFA auction in Sheldon to another FFA auction in LaPorte to get both done on the same day. It is estimated he raised over four million dollars for local charities in Harris County.

After leaving office his fellow Commissioners bestowed him many honors including: the renaming of the Harris County Courthouse # 26 on Wallisville Road, “The Jim Fonteno Courthouse,” creating the “Jim & JoAnn Fonteno Family Park” near the Fonteno Courthouse, and the naming of a new Senior Education Building in Harris County Precinct 3, “The Jim and JoAnn Senior Education Center.” He was also honored by members of the United States Congress in renaming the main U.S. Post Office in Pasadena, “The Jim Fonteno Post Office.”

Jim was a member of Holy Trinity United Methodist Church in Northshore for almost thirty-five years. He served on many committees at Holy Trinity and several Methodist District Committees.

Jim is survived by his loving wife of almost thirty-five years, JoAnn; their children, James Fonteno Jr. and wife Claire, Jann Morton, Sharon Hamlin and husband Danny, David Proctor and wife Cindy, Donna Kester and husband David, Diana Saufley and husband Vic, all of Houston; and Chase Fonteno of Dallas; their grandchildren, Michael Hamlin and wife Jennifer, Nathan Hamlin, Holly Hamlin, Christopher Proctor, Joshua Proctor, David Alan Kester, Andrew Kester, Amy Kester, Jared Saufley and Benjamin Saufley, all of Houston; his brothers, Bobby and wife Rose Ann of Port Arthur, Donald Joe and wife Janita of Lake Charles, LA; and Kermit and wife Ouida of Red Oak, TX; his sisters, Gladys Walsh of Richardson, TX; and Louise Schenkewitz of Port Arthur; and a host of other relatives and friends.

Pallbearers will be Joe Dow, Paul Greene, Henry Jackson, Judge Mike Parrott, Judge Steve Phelps and Paul Virgadamo.

Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m on Monday, July 7, 2008 at Second Baptist Church of Houston - North Campus, 22770 Highway 59N, Kingwood, Texas. Visitation will be between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 6, 2008 at Rosewood Funeral Home, 2602 South Houston Ave @ Rankin Road, Humble, Texas.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Pct2gether Senior Citizens, 13828 Corpus Christi, Houston, Texas 77015; Holy Trinity United Methodist Church, 13207 Orleans, Houston, Texas 77015 or Houston Area Parkinson’s Society, 2700 Southwest Freeway, Houston, Texas 77098.

Please leave a personal message for the family at WWW.ROSEWOOD.CC

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