Henry Jacob Lutcher Stark, biography c. 1926
[New Encyclopedia of Texas]
  Source: Davis, Ellis A. and Edwin H. Grobe, eds. New Encyclopedia of Texas. Dallas, Tex. Texas Development Bureau, 1926. Vol. I, p. 1012-1018.

HENRY J. LUTCHER STARK. Of the younger generation of men of Texas today, H. J. L. Stark is probably one of the best known. This is true because his activities, of a worth while and constructive nature, are of interest to citizens of every locality in the State. By nature a leader, by breeding, education and training a gentleman, by inspiration a vital force for all that is good in education, government and business, he has within the past few years made his influence felt and recognition has come to him for services rendered his native State. As chairman of the board of regents of the University of Texas, his name has especially come into prominence and to this office he has devoted much of his time. As one of the leaders among Rotarians he has contributed much to fraternity and improved business methods in commercial circles. Although a large part of his time is devoted to the above matters, yet he is also a business executive with interests of a diverse and extensive nature.

Mr. Stark's business interests include the following, in which he is an officer or director, or both: Lutcher-Moore Lumber Company, First National Bank of Orange, Gray Oil Company, Sabine Hotel Company, Yellow Pine Paper Mill Company, Vinton Petroleum Company, Orange Grocery Company, Orange Rice Mill Company, Stark-Hillard Warehouse Company, Lutcher and Moore Cypress Company, Dibert-Stark-Brown Cypress Company, Texas Creosoting Company, Orange Cameron Land Company, Sabine Packing Company, San Jacinto Life Insurance Company, Capitol City Oil Company, Sabine Supply Company, Josephine Advertising Company, Orange Furniture Company, and others. He achieved unusual success in the upbuilding of the Orange Light and Power Company. He overhauled and modernized this small plant, probably spending less than a million dollars and which he later sold to Stone and Webster for $2,500,000. His influence has been felt in Southeast Texas by reason of his interest in agriculture, poultry and cattle raising, fig and orange culture. The Lutcher Stark experimental farm has done much to encourage farmers and has led the way for them. A field of industry that is little known to the public at large is the trapping business, but Mr. Stark has delved into this field and on the 200,000-acre ranch owned by the Orange Cameron Land Company he conducts a fur business on business principles so that the muskrats, the principal product, shall not be exterminated. He has made successful experiments with land planted to oranges and figs and is now turning his attention to the canning business with the idea of planting the cut-over timber lands to vegetables and fruits. The Sabine Packing Company, recently organized, will serve as an outlet for the cattle of this district. He has devoted considerable time to management of the estate of his grandmother, the late Mrs. Frances Ann Lutcher, in whose will he was named the sole executor. Although his interests are diverse, still he selects trained people to assist him in his many business affairs and he usually gets results.

H. J. L. Stark is a native son of Texas, born in Orange, December 8th, 1887, the son of William H. and Miriam M. (Lutcher) Stark. William H. Stark is one of the outstanding men of Texas today, beloved by all who know him. A sketch of William H. Stark and Henry J. Lutcher, the founder of the Lutcher interests in Texas, will be found in these volumes. Mrs. William H. Stark is of the fine type of Southern womanhood and has done much good for those about her, being especially interested in the welfare of the working people and in philanthropy. Recently she gave an art collection of rare chinas, tapestries and original paintings by great masters to the University of Texas, and valued at $500,000. In addition she gave $150,000 in cash for the erection of a building to house the collection, which is considered one of the finest of the South. H. J. L. Stark was educated in the public and high schools and entered the University of Texas in the fall of 1906, receiving his A. B. degree in 1010. During his college career he was popular with the student body and was active in social and athletic circles. One year he served as assistant manager of the football team and one year as manager. He has never ceased to take a live interest in athletics since that time. A director of athletics at the University of Texas said of him, "Were it not for Lutcher Stark and his generous personality, athletics at Texas could never have reached the satisfactory stage in which we now see them". "With all his money and position and in spite of all his many gifts to the university, there is still that absence of haughtiness and pride; he still retains that magnetic personality and attractiveness that makes one love the man at first meeting."

After leaving college Mr. Stark entered into a life of usefulness in business, social and civic affairs. He could have easily chosen a life of ease and uselessness, but chose to devote himself to a life of doing good. Space will not permit a detailed account of his record since that time, but it might be said that he has accomplished much not only for Southeast Texas but for the State as a whole. He has contributed to the building of good roads and to the opening of the road from Orange to Port Arthur. As vice president of the Gulf Coast Reclamation and Drainage Association he has given of his time to the good work of this organization. As a Rotarian he has helped elevate business practice. He was a charter member and the first president of the Orange Rotary Club, that was organized in 1919. His good work in this office caused him to be elected governor of the district. During his incumbency of this office he added 20 clubs to the district and the attendance increased in the district from 55.33 per cent to 75.25 per cent, and the total membership from 2274 to 3566. At the International Convention at Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1921, he was elected third vice president of the International Organization of Rotary clubs. Since that time he has made speeches before the Rotary clubs in various parts of the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, France and Spain. In 1924 he ran second for the office of president of the Rotary International. It is his idea and ideal to make business in Texas, so far as within his power, a practical exemplification of Rotary principles, that service comes before self, that he profits most who serves best.

As chairman of the board of regents of the L'niversity of Texas, Mr. Stark is doing an excellent work and fights for the proper and thorough-going education at the State University. He was appointed regent by W. P. Hobby to fill the unexpired two years of the term of John Sealy. Governor Pat Neff appointed him to a six-year term and he was re-elected chairman of the board. Governor Miriam A. Ferguson appointed him to another sixyear term. His path has not always been easy, for he has been placed under fire at various times by reason of his stand in education. Thus far he has usually come out victor because he has always stood for right, and no one has ever questioned that. As to principle, some have differed with him. He is a fundamentalist, and so during the past few years when religious matters have been brought to the forefront, he was made to stand by his guns, and it seems that the majority of people of Texas are of his religious beliefs. It is said that he lives for the University of Texas and that he has made many sacrifices for it. It is his hobby, and Texas is fortunate in having such a man at the head of its great school of learning.

A field in which Mr. Stark has done good work, which is second to none, is that in which the investment probably pays the greatest in dividends. Reference is made to his boys' club in Orange. His success is this field should give inspiration to leaders in other communities to undertake similar activities. Mr. Stark organized, with the co-operation of a few interested boys, a boys' Sunday school class in the Presbyterian Church and also the boys' band of some fifty pieces. This band has been directed by experts and has come to be known throughout the State and elsewhere. It has given concerts in various cities and over the radio. It travels in especially constructed motor busses, and in 1926 Mr. Stark took the band overland to the Rotary Convention in Denver. The work counts, as is evidenced by the juvenile records of Orange. In 1924 there were seventy juvenile cases in the courts of Orange and in 1925 there were but three. Another unusual record is that the Presbyterian Sunday School at Orange is the only one of all the Presbyterian churches where boys and men generally outnumber the women and girls.

H. J. L. Stark was united in marriage with Miss Nita Hill of Austin, daughter of the late Dr. Homer Hill of that city. Mrs. Stark was educated at the University of Texas and has interested herself in social and civic affairs. For several years she has served as chairman of the National Committee of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity that maintains a settlement school at Tennessee, which they founded in 1912. Mr. and Mrs. Stark adopted twins, whom they named William H., and Homer B. Hill Stark. Mr. Stark is a member of various civic, social and religious organizations, among which are the Presbyterian Church, of which he is an elder, chairman of the Central Stadium Committee of the University of Texas, Rotary Club, Orange Chamber of Commerce, of which he is past president; director of East Texas Chamber of Commerce and the Phi Gamma Delta, College Fraternity. Few drives for money are undertaken in his section of the State without his contribution of time and money. He has been mentioned for the office of governor and the presidency of the University of Texas. He is a democrat and a power in local and State politics, although he has never sought office for himself.

H. J. L. Stark has lived an unselfish life of service for his fellowman and his friends predict a continued brilliant career for him.

Text and images were digitized and proofread from the original source documents by Murry Hammond. Contact Murry for all corrections and contributions of new material.