Joseph Haggar Jr., Notre Dame trustee emeritus and former president and chief executive officer of the Haggar Clothing Company, died June 1 in his Dallas home. He was 87 years old.
Haggar’s father, a Lebanese immigrant, founded the Dallas-based clothiers in 1926 and Joseph joined the family business at 14, going to work in the thread and button room. He retired from the company in 1995, having served as president and CEO for more than a quarter century.
Haggar’s work in the clothing company he inherited from his father was interrupted only by wartime service in the U.S. Navy and his college career at Notre Dame, where he studied aeronautical engineering and from which he was graduated in 1945. He also served two terms on the Dallas City Council.
Perhaps the most prominent of Haggar’s customers was his fellow Texan, President Lyndon B. Johnson, who so liked Haggar slacks that he telephoned Joseph Haggar to order several pairs of them. Johnson’s recently released Oval Office phone recordings include one memorable conversation with Haggar in which the President colorfully described to the clothier some adjustments he would like made in the garment’s inseams.
A devoted alumnus of Notre Dame, Haggar was president of Notre Dame’s Dallas Alumni Club when he joined the advisory council for the University’s Mendoza College of Business in 1978. He served on the council for 12 years and joined Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees in 1990. His and his family’s numerous benefactions to Notre Dame include the Department of Psychology’s Haggar Hall and the Haggar Fitness complex in the Loftus Sports Center.
A memorial Mass for Joseph Haggar will be celebrated at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Christ the King Catholic Church, 8017 Preston Road in Dallas.