James Eugene Hagerty, resident of Morongo Valley since 2000, passed away on Feb. 28, 2020, following hip surgery in January. He grew up in Thermal on the Mesquite Tree Ranch and graduated from Coachella High School in 1955 where he enjoyed music classes, playing both saxophone and piano.
James was one of two children born of parents Horace and Lucile Hagerty. His sister, Martha (Marcy) Lynn Hagerty, sometimes performed as a singer at CVHS. She passed away in 1983.
James’ partner, Steven Spence, passed away in July 2019. James is survived by his nephew, Bruce Welden, and his wife, Zayda, of Indio.
Over the years, James was active in many civic affairs in Morongo Valley and was instrumental in getting the only stop light in MV on Twentynine Palms Highway. He was also a volunteer member of the Morongo Valley Clean Team.
James was known as a creative artist, painter, writer, metal sculptor and jazz piano musician. He often played jazz music at many of the annual spring events in MV. He was also a participating artist in the Hi-Desert Art Tours for many years.
James was also a veteran, serving in the Army for three years from 1961 to 1964.
He most recently enjoyed volunteering his musical jazz piano talents, once a week, at the Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs for several years.
He is missed by those who knew and loved him.
A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at the Palm Springs Center for Spiritual Living 2100 E. Racquet Club Road.
Rest in peace James!