|Birth: ||Sep. 26, 1903|
|Death: ||Dec. 18, 1957|
James Marion West Jr. (September 26, 1903 – December 18, 1957) was a legendary Texas oilman. He was the son of James Marion West Sr., the businessman who created the West family fortune. He was nicknamed "Silver Dollar Jim", because he would throw these coins toward passersby on the street. He was also called "Diamond Jim" because of the diamond-studded Texas Ranger badge he wore. He was known to chase criminals right behind the police. West kept a fleet of thirty cars, mostly Cadillacs in or around downtown Houston, which were equipped with an arsenal of 30-35 guns. He became an iconic fixture at Galveston casinos such as the Balinese Room. He is considered to be an archetype for the eccentric Texas oilman.
Throughout the twentieth century, however, there were those who contributed to Houston's reputation as the "city of wealth." Few so colorfully projected the image as "Silver Dollar Jim," an attorney, oil man, cattle rancher and eccentric. "Silver Dollar Jim" West was born on September 26, 1903 in San Antonio, Texas to Jesses Dudlin and James Marion West, Sr. When West was two years old, his father moved the family to Houston and later made a fortune in cattle ranching and in the lumber industry. Young Jim West attended the old Houston Central High School and Southwestern University in Georgetown, later studying law at the University of Texas Law School in Austin. "Silver Dollar Jim" typified the spirit of the so called "eccentric Texas Millionaire," if anyone did. He tipped only with silver dollars--often 20 or 25 at a time. For his own amusement he would toss a handful of them on the floor of a restaurant and watch while waitresses scrambled for them. To entertain guests at swimming parties, "Silver Dollar Jim would drop a number of coins into the pool to observe other guest diving for them. His standard tip for doormen at the Shamrock Hotel, whenever they delivered one of his 40 Cadillac's to the front door, was three silver dollars. When the color blue took his fancy, he had all his personal and business cars so painted. His eccentricity was not limited to silver dollars nor to the color blue. West loved radio. He owned a radio station and had as many as eight antennae on innumerable personal cars. He was very interested in law enforcement and was especially supportive of the Houston Police Department. West assisted the force in various ways: he placed his powerful radio receiver at the disposal of the Houston Police; he attended police conferences and was known to cruise with their patrols and held a Texas Ranger's Commission. West died on December 18, 1957 at the age of 54.
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery
Created by: K
Record added: Jul 10, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 54761905
One of the Lone Star State's greatest characters. Rest in peace, sir.|
Added: Jul. 10, 2013
Rest in peace.|
Bonnie Morris Conrad
Added: Mar. 29, 2011