Jim Argue, Jr., a former state legislator from Little Rock and the president and CEO of the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas, died today of kidney cancer at 66. He was diagnosed only recently with the disease.

Argue served in the Arkansas House from 1991 to 1996, then in the Senate from 1996 to 2008. During his time in the Senate, he served as president pro tem of that chamber and chaired itse education committee. He played a pivotal role in crafting the school reforms that resulted from the Lake View decision, in which the Arkansas Supreme Court mandated the state legislature to develop a new system of education funding.

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A graduate of Hendrix College, Argue served as president of the United Methodist Foundation since 1981, according to the organization’s website.

Update, 10:30 p.m.: Here’s a statement from the foundation:

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UMFA President and CEO Jim Argue, Jr. Remembered

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (May 3, 2018) – The board members and staff of The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas are deeply saddened by the death today of long-time President and CEO Jim Argue, Jr. after a brief illness.

“Jim’s career goes far beyond his 35-plus years of service at the helm of the United Methodist Foundation,” said Clarence Trice, Senior Vice President and CFO. “His continuing national leadership on education issues, his long-term leadership in the Arkansas General Assembly, and his local board leadership with Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families are marks of his commitment to Methodist principles.”

James B. Argue, Jr. was born August 19, 1951, to Rev. and Mrs. James B. Argue, Sr. He attended Little Rock Public Schools, graduated from Little Rock Hall High School, and earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Hendrix College in 1973. He is a long-time member of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church.

In 1981, Argue became President of the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas. Under his leadership and in large part because of the many relationships he has fostered, Foundation assets have grown from $67,000 to more than $164 million. UMFA is one of the largest United Methodist Foundation in the country and is responsible for more than 800 funds that support United Methodist ministries.

Argue was the President Pro Tempore of the Arkansas State Senate for the 85th General Assembly and a Democratic member of the Arkansas Senate, representing the 32nd District, from 1996 to 2008. Previously he was a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1991 through 1996.

He was named a 2017 Distinguished Alumni of Hendrix College. Argue was an honoree at the 2016 Philander Smith College Living Legends Banquet and received the JCA’s Father Joseph Biltz award in 2000.