James was born in Carrollton, Ohio to Daniel D. Oglevee and Verna Hanhauser on Aug. 7, 1930.
Growing up the son of a lawyer father, a schoolteacher mother, and the grandson of a lawyer/county judge, James was bound to excel in academics and debate. He attended the Carrollton schools and was part of the 4-person debate team that won the state championship his senior year of high school. He went on to graduate from The Ohio State University College of Law in 1953 and was inducted to both Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif.
Upon his graduation, he enlisted in the US Army and received his JAGC training from the University of Virginia. He was a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army as a JAG officer from 1953-1955. He was then admitted to the New York Bar, where he began a nearly 40-year career working for some of America’s most prominent industrial corporations, including General Electric, US Steel, Columbia Gas and Exxon Corporation.
At Exxon, he was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of Employee Benefits Law and was instrumental in the ever-evolving interpretation of federal ERISA law. His legal advisement was often sought by Exxon’s executive leadership. He was instrumental in the restructuring of Exxon’s pension and benefits policy and by extension much of corporate America followed Exxon’s lead in this regard. He was very active in the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation. He was also a director of the American Council of International Personnel Inc. since its inception in 1974.
He retired from Exxon in 1990 and relocated from Rye, New York to Northern Virginia with his beloved wife, Susan Halliday, whom he married May 5, 1990.
James was devoted to Susan for more than 30 years. They created countless fond memories during their extensive travels near and far. At the same time, James was wonderfully content at home, reading the New York Times cover to cover daily, grilling a delicious steak, sipping a glass of Bordeaux and listening to the Washington Symphonic Brass next to Susan after a day at the local farmer’s market. He was an avid birder and naturalist, enjoying and appreciating the simple pleasures that nature offered. James placed great value on the power of education and was a life-long supporter of his alma mater, The Ohio State University. The Ohio State football team provided him with years of entertainment and sometimes frustration, though he seemed to relish both.
Like his father, James endeared himself to many during his lifetime. He was blessed with an intellectual prowess only matched by his quick and dry wit. A true Scotsman, James could be intensely formidable one moment and light-hearted the next, flashing a warm cheeky grin that would ignite a roomful of laughter. Throughout his life, James demonstrated an uncompromising adherence to integrity in everything he undertook and formed deep connections with kindred spirits. James will be missed by many.
Besides his wife, Susan Marie Halliday, James is survived by his three sons from a previous marriage (Claire Joan White): Daniel (Kathy) residing in Columbus, Ohio, David (Ann) residing in Chicago, IL, and John (Shiho) residing in Tokyo, Japan as well as nine grandchildren, Emily, Mary, Owen, Anthony (predeceased), Lucy, Peter, Grace, Benjamin, Samuel, and Azuki.
Private funeral services and interment will be held at a future date at Arlington National Cemetery.