Charles Wesley Logsdon Jr.
B.A. 1929, HSU Trustee
Charles Wesley Logsdon Jr. was born May 29, 1904, in Hamby, Texas, to Charles W. and Daisy Logsdon, a pioneer ranching family who settled in Andrews County not far from the New Mexico border. Charles and his younger sister, Grace Katherine, attended school at Andrews until their high school years. The Logsdons then moved to Abilene “to assure a fine education for their children.” Charles graduated from Abilene High School in 1924.
Following graduation, he entered Simmons College (now Hardin-Simmons University), and completed the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1928. Grace Katherine followed him to Simmons, graduating in 1929.
While a student at Simmons, Logsdon played for three years in the Cowboy Band. He met his future wife, Koreen Jean Willcox, on the campus. They were married on October 14, 1932, by the Rev. George W. Truett, who was then pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas.
Logsdon ranched with his father until 1947 at which time his father died and left the operation of the ranch in Charles’s capable hands.
Logsdon was a member of First Baptist Church of Abilene for more than 55 years. He was president of his Sunday school class at First Baptist and served as chairman of the Building Committee.
He was actively involved in the Masonic Lodge, holding several offices and was also a member of the Rotary Club.
As an alumnus, Logsdon gave back to his alma mater financially and also gave of his time. In 1960 he agreed to serve on the HSU Board of Development. He was a valuable asset to the work of the board and was soon named to the Board of Trustees and served on the Executive Committee. He was also appointed to the Search Committee that brought Dr. Elwin L. Skiles to the HSU presidency in 1966.
Logsdon was a quiet, unassuming man who had deep convictions and lived a dedicated Christian life. He was a cooperative and helpful companion to the administration of the university and was always liberal in his support of the school. In 1971, he received the John J. Keeter Award, which is the highest award presented annually to alumni of the university.
Soon after his death in 1981, Koreen, in accordance with her own desires and in fulfillment of the stated desires of her husband, provided resources for the university to endow the Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Logsdon School of Theology and to fund the building for the school. Transferring properties that included Logsdon’s family ranch lands in Andrews County and near Abilene, along with mineral rights and other properties, their gift amounted to more than $5 million, the largest single gift to the university at the time. Grace Katherine White also provided $300,000 for the Visser-Rowland pipe organ now located in Logsdon Chapel in memory of her brother.
In a statement made at the time of the Logsdon gift, Dr. Jesse C. Fletcher, then HSU president, said, “The Logsdon gift makes possible the dramatic escalation of a program that is at the very heart of Hardin-Simmons University. The School of Theology will be able to train, on both the undergraduate and the graduate level, Christian vocation workers for both home and abroad on a plane unparalleled in the university’s illustrious history. In addition, it will make possible the training of lay workers in Abilene and the Big Country area through special scholarship programs.”
In 1989, along with her second husband, Dr. Lee Hemphill, Koreen established the Logsdon Chair of Church Music at Hardin-Simmons University with a $500,000 gift in Logsdon’s honor. He was a man who loved music, knew its value to the proclamation of the gospel, and was dedicated to Christian education.
Logsdon was known for his Christian grace, humility, and deep sense of stewardship, service, and generosity. Longtime friend and co-worker, Dr. Elwin Skiles, said of him: “Charles Logsdon, a dear personal friend, was loyal and devoted to the causes in which he deeply believed. These causes included his family, his church, and his school. His interest in his alma mater was revealed in a constant concern for the development and well-being of Hardin-Simmons.”
At the time of his death on October 8, 1981, Charles continued to serve HSU as a member of the Board of Trustees Executive Committee.