Obituary for T. H. (Hager) St. Clair

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T. H. (Hager) St. Clair

August 5, 1933 - May 27, 2017

Talmage Hager St. Clair was born in the Virginia Piedmont on August 5, 1933. His parents, Ruth and Russell, moved to inner city Indianapolis a few years later. Known as Hager to his family and friends, he grew up on the sandlots of Indy’s parks, playing baseball and basketball, running paper routes, working at Riverside Park and in the clubhouse at old Victory Field, where he met several future hall-of-famers, including a young Hank Aaron. Hager adored his mother, an expert seamstress. A few hours before he passed, he said all his memories of Ruth were “wonderful.” At the age of 14, he was recruited by legendary coach Frank Baird to attend the elite Broad Ripple High School, where he excelled academically and as a multi-sport athlete. Baird was a lifelong mentor and counseled him in his decision to join the Navy following his graduation. Hager saw duty on a cruiser during the height of the Korean War and later served on the staff of Adm. John “Jack” McCain, where he wrote an early paper arguing that the US should stay out of Indochina. After his discharge from the Navy, Hager attended Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis), where he became a star centerfielder on their championship baseball team and later graduated cum laude. More importantly, it was at ICC that Hager met his future wife, Doreen Wright. They were married in the Methodist Church on campus in 1958. After graduation, Hager went to work at Westinghouse, helping to write code for an early computer processor. While at Westinghouse, a colleague bet him $100 that he didn’t have the intellectual stamina to attend law school. Hager took the bet and became part of the first cohort to attend night classes at the Indiana University law school in Indianapolis (while working all day at Westinghouse.) He earned his law degree and passed the bar in 1965 and immediately went to work in Marion County prosecutor’s office under District Attorney Nobel Piercy, working on civil rights and housing discrimination cases. After leaving the DA’s office, Hager joined the Indianapolis law firm headed by his close friend the late Ed Lewis, where he soon became a partner in the firm known as Lewis, Bowman, St. Clair and Wagner. Over the decades, Hager represented a wide spectrum of clients from Wilma Mankiller, chief of the Cherokee Tribe, to the ABA-era Indiana Pacers, from auto dealers Ray Skillman and Gary Pedigo to his pals John Guy and Bob Foulks’ Steak & Shake franchise. He also quietly performed considerable pro bono legal work for low-income clients over the years and mentored many young athletes, students and lawyers. In 1979, Hager and Doreen moved to the forested hills of Brown County, where for more than 30 years he kept meticulous nesting records of eastern bluebirds. He and Doreen spent many summer weekends cycling, an avocation that eventually took them to the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park and the hills of Tuscany. Most Sundays in the fall, Hager was adorned in blue, cheering on his beloved Colts. In his later years, he took up stained-glass design, started learning Chinese, taught himself to play the piano and sweated it out with his Tabata group at the Brown County Y. A celebrated raconteur, Hager’s mind stayed sharp and engaged until the very last moments of his life, a life he lived full-speed ahead. He is survived by his wife Doreen, his son Jeffrey, a journalist in Oregon, his daughter Jennifer, a director of program management in Washington state, and two grandchildren Zen and Nathaniel.

We request that donations be made in T.H. St. Clair’s name to:  Frank Baird Scholarship Fund co Jack Engledow, 1819 Wood Valley Dr., Carmel, IN 46032 or to the Brown County YMCA 105 Willow St, Nashville, IN 47448Funeral services have been entrusted to Meredith – Clark Funeral Home Cremation & Personalization Center in Morgantown.Information:  812-597-4670


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Born: August 5, 1933
Died: May 27, 2017

Condolences for T. H. (Hager) St. Clair

GEORGE MARSHALL posted on 8/11/17

Doreen, Your video of Hager and your beautiful family is priceless. Hager used to keep me laughing with his dry, stoical, desensitized humor, but I never would have thought that a snap-shot video of his life would bring me to tears. You all did a super job putting it together. Thanks for sending it to me, our world and our lives are richer because of Hager being a part of them. George