James Fikes will be remembered as a supporter of education and children’s health and the catalyst behind the growth of Temple-based Fikes Companies, which includes CEFCO Convenience Stores, a petroleum services group, a financial services company and others.
Fikes, 73, died Tuesday in Austin.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Monday at Dossman Funeral Home, 2525 N. Main St., Belton.
The company began when Fikes’ father, Clarence E. Fikes, opened a Texaco service station in 1952 in Cameron. When James became president in 1988 there were four stores, and today, the CEFCO Convenience Stores brand boasts more than 250 stores in seven states.
Fikes supported a number of organizations that benefited local residents, including Children’s Miracle Network.
In 2015, James and Kim Fikes were the first to respond to a $5 million challenge grant for the construction of the Sue and Frank Mayborn Performing Arts Center at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. The Fikes stepped forward with a substantial gift.
The Fikes’ gift was not their first to UMHB. In 2006 they established the C.E. Fikes (CEFCO) Endowed Scholarship in memory of James’ father. Subsequent gifts to that endowment have made it possible to help many students earn a degree at UMHB.
“James was a great friend and champion for Mary Hardin-Baylor and we are heartbroken today,” UMHB President Randy O’Rear said. “He was a quiet, humble, and incredibly generous man.”
The university will never be the same thanks to his and his wife Kim’s investments in students and campus facilities, O’Rear said.
“Julie and I loved James very much and always considered him a part of the UMHB family. Our deepest sympathy and prayers are extended to Kim and their family,” he said.
The Fikes have been longtime supporters of Scott & White and children’s health organizations. In 1999, they launched a partnership with Children’s Miracle Network through CEFCO that to date has raised millions of dollars in funds to provide health care to Central Texas children in need.
“We are grateful to Kim and James Fikes for their unwavering philanthropic support of Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center,” said Jana Sharpley, president of the Baylor Scott & White Central Texas Foundation. “Their personal generosity and support of Children’s Miracle Network through CEFCO Convenience Stores provides lifesaving health care for the children of Central Texas.”
The support of the Fikes/CEFCO Emergency Center at McLane Children’s enables the children’s hospital to serve 40,000 patients annually as the only pediatric-specific emergency and trauma center between Dallas and Austin, Sharpley said.
“No number can adequately describe the Fikes’ lasting impact on the children who will grow strong and healthy because of their selfless giving,” she said. “There is no greater legacy than this.”
In 2014, Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center, officially dedicated the Fikes/CEFCO Emergency Center in recognition of a substantial donation to Scott & White from James and Kim Fikes and their company.
The Fikes’ donation helped fund the acquisition of specialty equipment and supplies to address the medical needs of children requiring emergency care and expanded McLane Children’s ability to meet the health care needs of Central Texas children close to home.
CEFCO has been a supporter of Temple College for a number of years. The company has an endowed scholarship for employees and their families who attend TC.
“His (Fikes) legacy as an employer is huge in Central Texas,” said Jennifer Graham, Temple College Foundation executive director. “But his desire to continue to promote his employees, not just through their jobs, but through education, has been a game changer for us.”
Survivors are his wife, Kim Coufal Fikes; two daughters, Anne Fikes Carter and Laura Fikes Thomas; a sister, Susan Fikes; a brother, Carroll Fikes; and five grandchildren.