Monday, January 24, 2011

Tom Hargrove '66 dies of heart attack

A brief report earlier today from the Eagle on Twitter gave news that Tom Hargrove '66 died Sunday of a heart attack. I'll look for more news to come, but I wanted to post here the text of our plaque honoring Hargrove, who in 1996 was the first journalist inducted by Texas A&M's Former Journalism Students Association into its Hall of Honor.

Please leave me news, updates or tributes in the comments or send to aggiejournalists (at) gmail (dot) com.
(photo of plaque, above, taken by Jerry Cooper '63)

The plaque reads:

Tom Hargrove is a distinguished writer and publisher whose life work has involved finding ways to get practical agricultural publications into the hands of farmers throughout the Third World.

He worked for 18 years as a writer and editor with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. By 1989, under his leadership, the institute had published 33 books in more than 40 languages in 29 countries. This included "A Farmer's Primer on Growing Rice," the world's most widely published agricultural book. He left the Philippines for Cali, Colombia, in 1992 where he headed the communications unit for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.

On his way to work one day in September 1994, Hargrove was kidnapped by Colombian rebels and held for ransom. For 11 months, he lived in chains in primitive camps in the Andes. In an extraordinary display of courage and tenacity, Hargrove survived his ordeal and, starving, stumbled out to the mountains after his family had negotiated his release. Hargrove kept a daily journal, scribbled on checkbook stubs and other scraps of paper. His diary became an inspiring book, "Long March to Freedom: Tom Hargrove's own story of his kidnaping by Colombian Narco-Guerrillas."

Hargrove grew up on a cotton farm in Rotan, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in agricultural journalism in 1966.