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Jim Compton 1915-2003

Many people knew for years that Charles E. "Jim" Compton was a prominent coal businessman.

His contributions to that industry are remarkable. From developing mining equipment like the Compton Coal Auger, the Compton Flexible Miner and side-dump trucks to various mining techniques that were more environmentally friendly, Compton dramatically changed the industry for the better.

"Jim was a dreamer, but he also had the ability to put the dreams into reality," said Bridgeport Mayor Joe Timms.

But Compton, who died Saturday at age 88, should be remembered not only for his great contributions to coal and area business, but also for his love of people.

When it came to supporting various groups and activities, from West Virginia University to hundreds of youth programs, Jim Compton was a pillar of his community.

While his support of his beloved WVU athletics program was well known, Compton's philanthropy didn't stop on the playing fields.

In fact, it would be safe to say that there were few, if any, programs that he didn't help in one way or another, from local churches and schools and various other non-profits.

His support of nutritional research and the state's Healthy Schools Program had a far-reaching impact on thousands of West Virginians over the past 20-plus years and will continue to make an important difference to our youth.

Probably more than anything, Compton's legacy should be that he always seemed to be working to make life better -- for his family, his friends, his business associates, his community, his state and his nation.