Jim Southard hated to see anything go to waste. He lived quite frugally, but was very charitable, said his daughter, Jane Warren. He collected food for the Central Austin Food Bank, volunteered with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, and delivered meals through Meals on Wheels. Jane said that of all the volunteer work he did, however, Hospice Austin held the biggest place in his heart.
Two things influenced Jim Southard’s decision to volunteer for Hospice Austin: his mother’s death when he was in college and his belief that the last days of life are best spent at home, cared for by a team of well-trained, loving caregivers rather than in a hospital or other institution.
His commitment to Hospice Austin was not limited to his volunteer efforts. In 1998, Jim donated his home to Hospice Austin through a retained life estate. The planned gift was a way to help Hospice Austin and allowed him to stay in his home until his death in February at the age of 94.
The WWII veteran stayed active until the very end, even participating in the Capitol 10K last year. He loved to read and walked daily to a nearby library. He passed away quietly at his desk – his favorite place – reading a periodical.
The community came together to help make Jim’s condo ready to sell. Robin Banister of Gottesman Residential Real Estate donated her services, Greg Williams provided a thorough cleaning and staged and photographed the property. Jan and Bobby Jenkins of ABC Home and Commercial Services donated a new AC at cost, and Ms. Banister’s associate, Tia Sales, even donated the bonus she would have received as part of the condo’s sale. The sale brought in more than $200,000. Jim would have been pleased.
“He was just a big-hearted, giving person,” said Jane. “He did things his way, and I think a lot of lives were touched by that.”