James F. Hope                      Inducted 1985 - Class of 1935

A Woodward High School graduate of 1935, James Hope went on to achieve a considerable measure of success in both professional life and public office.

At Woodward, his activities included editorship of the Tattler, the student newspaper. He was awarded a scholarship to the University of Toledo based on scholastic standing and extra-curricular activities, and was graduated from UT in 1939 with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering, earning the degree magna cum laude.

His professional career began that year when he was employed as field engineer and assistant superintendent for construction of the Toledo Public Library (on the site, incidentally, of the former Woodward Technical High School), and, in Richmond, Va. , for the construction of the Virginia State Library and the Supreme Court of Appeals Building. In 1940-41 he was employed as assistant to the chief engineer for construction of the $18,000,000 Camp Lee Cantonment in Virginia, and in

1941-43 as executive engineer for construction of approximately $30,000,000 in naval shore facilities for the Fifth Naval District.

In 1943, Mr. Hope was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and served overseas with Carrier Aircraft Service Unit No. 1 at Pearl Harbor and aboard the carrier U.S.S. Ticonderoga as aviation engineering officer. He was honorably discharged in June, 1946, with the rank of lieutenant, senior grade.

Since his return to civilian life, Mr. Hope has been associated with the firm of Reid & Hope, contractors and engineers, of Suffolk, Va. The firm, in which he holds the office of president, has completed more than 1,280 major institutional, industrial, and commercial projects in Virginia and North Carolina.

Mr. Hope's achievements in public life are no less noteworthy. He served on the City Council of the City of Suffolk, Va., for 16 years, including 12 1/ 2 years as mayor from January 1, 1966, to June 30, 1978, when he retired from public office. He considers his most important personal accomplishment was in promoting and effecting the consolidation of the City of Suffolk with the City of Nansemond (formerly Nansemond County) and the incorporated towns of Holland and Whalleyville to form the consolidated City of Suffolk, which then became Virginia's largest city in land area (432 square miles) with a population of about 50,000. The merger culminated eight years of negotiations, and for this achievement Mr. Hope was named First Citizen of Suffolk and Nansemond in civic affairs for 1973 and awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

That was just one of the many honors he has received. Among others are the SIR award as "Construction Man of the Year," presented in 1972 by the Associated General Contractors of America, Virginia Branch; and, in 1974, the Gold T award of the University of Toledo Alumni Association, the highest alumni award presented by the university to honor graduates for outstanding achievement in their chosen profession. In 1983, when the college of engineering at UT celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding, he was one of nine civil engineering graduates in the 50-year history to be named a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus.

Mr. Hope's other activities are far too numerous to mention. He has, for instance, been president since 1965 of Old Dominion Investors Trust, Inc. He has served at one time or another as president or chairman of a wide range of church and civic organizations, among them the Boy Scouts and the Community Chest. He is married to the former Virginia Lee Mountjoy of Richmond. They have two children, James F. Hope, Jr., and Virginia Lee Hope Sakakini.

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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