TERRE HAUTE —
When I covered the semifinal round of the IHSAA boys tennis sectional at Terre Haute North last week, it seemed like there was an empty seat in the bleachers.
In reality, I noticed few — if any — empty seats because plenty of spectators wanted to watch the host Patriots battle No. 14-ranked Terre Haute South for the right to advance to the next day’s sectional championship match.
In the end, junior Nathan Bogle pulled out a dramatic three-set victory at No. 1 singles to help South edge its crosstown rivals 3-2 on its way to capturing the sectional title.
Yet there was something missing.
The person who would have been in that empty seat I imagined, Nathan’s father Jim Bogle, had been battling cancer for close to two years and could not attend the sectional.
Sadly, cancer claimed his life Thursday morning. He was 52.
A 1979 graduate of South and a basketball standout during the Braves’ three-year state-finals run in the late ’70s, Jim always filled me in on South tennis news whenever I’d cover the Braves’ matches. His daughters Maddy and Jacqualynn were key contributors on some of coach Bill Blankenbaker’s girls tennis teams in recent years.
With South preparing to face No. 3 Park Tudor in the boys tennis semistate at 10 a.m. today at Center Grove, Blankenbaker said Nathan Bogle plans to be there with racquet in hand.
“That’s what his father would want him to do,” Blankenbaker told me Friday. “They had talked about this and they knew this might happen. I know Jim had told him that no matter what happens, he should still go ahead and play.”
Blankenbaker said he’s known Jim Bogle for decades through tennis.
“Jim was very, very supportive of his children,” the Braves’ veteran coach mentioned. “He used to hit a lot with them. … His daughters played for me. He did all he could do for them. He was a good parent for our program. I enjoyed talking to him and his wife [Dianne] after practices and matches.”
I’ve also known Jim Bogle for decades. I wrote a column partly about him in mid-February when former South boys basketball coach Mike Saylor revealed to the community that he had cancer. Saylor and Bogle have been friends since they were small children.
“We were as close as brothers our whole lives,” Saylor said Friday. “He lived two doors down from me growing up [on South 11th Street]. … He was very smart and very independent, made his own decisions to be a Christian young man. He loved athletics and he loved people. Obviously, he loved tennis and basketball.”
For that February column, Jim Bogle assessed his chances of beating major salivary gland cancer.
“With a lot of doctors’ help, I’ve been battling it successfully,” he told me at the time. “But it’s an ongoing battle.”
Back then, Bogle found time to take Saylor to a doctor’s appointment in Indianapolis on one occasion. Saylor said he could always count on Bogle to help in any way possible.
“I remember the day he was talking to me about his potential health problems in the [tennis] Bubble and I told him ‘I might be right there with you…’” Saylor reflected. “So we went through a lot of this [cancer battle] together. He had already been through a lot of that himself, so it was nice to have him with me.”
As a basketball player, Jim Bogle really began to make a name for himself as a South senior in ’78-79 when he joined the starting lineup as a 6-foot-5 forward on what proved to be another powerhouse team from Terre Haute’s south side.
In the Braves’ 89-55 triumph over Union for the sectional championship March 2, 1979, in South’s gym, Bogle and the late Kevin Thompson posted 20 points and 10 rebounds apiece. In South’s 60-55 overtime loss to Muncie Central in the state semifinals March 24, 1979, in Indianapolis’ Market Square Arena, Bogle tallied 22 points to lead a team that also included guards Cam Cameron and Richard Wilson.
“Jim was a very good player,” Saylor noted. “He was an excellent outside shooter. He just happened to be on a very balanced, big team that had a lot of different scorers.”
Bogle continued his basketball career collegiately at Indiana Central before graduating from Indiana State with degrees in business and education. As an adult, he worked as a customer account manager at G.E. Aviation for more than 20 years.
“Had he chosen to be a congressman or a mayor, he would have been great because he was so intelligent and so good with people socially,” Saylor said. “But he really chose to keep his life simple and gear it toward his family. So he ended up being a great father and husband and a great friend to everyone.”
Visitation for Jim Bogle will be from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday at DeBaun Springhill Chapel, with services scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday. Burial will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Calvary Cemetery.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Terre Haute Junior Tennis Association (THJTA) at the funeral home or checks can be mailed to the family, who will forward them to the non-profit THJTA.
David Hughes can be reached after 4 p.m. by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or 812-231-4224; by email at email@example.com; or by fax at 812-231-4321.