Jim Tachias was something of an ambiguity, always stepping up but never seeking the spotlight.
“He was outgoing, but he was also very quiet,” Jackie Reynolds said of Tachias, whose face could be seen at many Longview events, including those staged by the Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center where Reynolds is the community outreach coordinator. “He had the biggest heart. He would always sponsor any event we had.”
Tachias, 58, died at his home Saturday after a brief battle with cancer. Services for the longtime Longview and Gregg County volunteer are set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Mobberly Baptist Church, where Tachias was a member. A graveside service will follow in Rosewood Park.
The family will receive condolence calls from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Rader Funeral Home in Longview.
“What a kind person, with a gentle spirit,” fellow Rotarian and fellow past Rotary chapter president Dietrich Johnson said Wednesday. “He was always willing to work in any capacity he could as a Rotarian. He’s the type of guy that continues to make our world go around, to make our world a better place, without a lot of needed recognition in terms of what he does.”
Tachias met his wife, Raina Howerton, in Rotary, and the couple wed 14 months ago. She survives him, along with her daughter, Isabelle.
A 1982 Baylor University alumnus, and member of the Bears football team, Tachias arrived in Longview in 1985 as national sales manager for Fleetwood Travel Trailers. The Dallas native became a Wells Fargo financial adviser in 2009.
Since arriving here, Tachias served on the governing boards for the Great Texas Balloon Race, the Longview Museum of Fine Arts, the Greater Longview United Way and the LeTourneau University President’s Council.
Tachias, whose name rhymes with “matches,” also held advisory roles to the former Longview Habitat for Humanity, the T-Bone Walker Blues Festival, One Hundred Acres of Heritage, Junior Achievement of East Texas and Longview Community Ministries.
He shouldered those responsibilities quietly, friends said.
“He was a servant,” fellow balloon race board member Gai Bennett said. “And so many people do things for the exposure. He did it to make a difference.”
Longview accountant Mark Dulweber, a fellow Rotarian who also served with Tachias on the balloon race board, agreed that his friend was a gentleman.
“Oh, yes. Most definitely,” Dulweber said. “And another term like that: quiet gentleman. He was not loud and boisterous, just quiet and always there.”
The Rev. Glynn Stone, senior pastor of Mobberly Baptist Church, said the church is honored to help Tachias’ family celebrate his life.
“Jim Tachias was a vibrant part of our community and church family,” Stone said Wednesday.
Fellow balloon race volunteers Bennett, Tammy Fuller, Sherry Rand, Leslie Paull and 2019 Race Chairwoman Rhonda Bullard missed Tachias during pilot check-in for the Great Texas Balloon Race last month — he’d always helped out at that predawn ritual but had been in the hospital.
So, they sent him a group selfie saying they missed him.
“Me, too,” he replied, showing his dry sense of humor. “I’m home. Hope to see everyone Friday morning. I’m highly medicated and fall asleep every five minutes. Sleep will be my friend tomorrow. Please give everyone my love!❤️”
Reynolds said Tachias would deliver a bundle of dog toys and treats, paper towels and other items on the animal center’s everyday donations list each Christmas.
“It was just something that was in his heart that he wanted to do, and he never expected anything in return,” she said. She described his devotion to his Maltese/bichon frise mix dogs, Sophie and Maci.
“He had the biggest heart. He was one of the most generous, caring men I ever met, both professionally and personally,” Reynolds said.
Dulweber noted Tachias fulfilled the first rule of contributing to a community.
“He showed up and was there when things were happening,” Dulweber said. “And I will miss him dearly.”