Lanham, MD – Earl Hargrove, who co-founded the general services contractor Hargrove, Inc. after World War II, died April 6 at the age of 86. Hargrove died peacefully with family members present, the company said in a statement. Funeral arrangements were pending.
A statement issued by CEO Tim McGill and President Carla Hargrove-McGill said, “He was an industry pioneer, able to foresee a future industry few others could imagine, creating a company that he considered family. His larger-than-life personality will be missed, but his legacy will remain with us all forever.” Larry Arnaudet, executive director of the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA), said, “We have lost another pioneer of our industry and he will be missed by many. Our sincerest best wishes go out to Tim and Carla in their time of sorrow.”
There will be a celebration of Earl’s life on Saturday, April 11 at 11:00 a.m. at St. James Church, Solomon’s Island Road, Lothian, MD. The ceremony will be followed by the interment.
Hargrove, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, teamed up with his father in1946 to launch their namesake company in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. By the 1950s, Hargrove, Inc. was a go-to firm for not only trade shows and corporate events, but also high-profile public events in the capital. Earl Hargrove personally oversaw the annual lighting of the National Christmas Tree and every presidential inauguration since Harry Truman, which earned him the nickname “the president’s prop man.”
Hargrove stepped down as president of the company in 2008 at the age of 79, but said at the time that he was not retiring but rather “passing the torch” to his daughter and son-in-law.
“His personal philosophy was helping people feel great about our nation,” the statement said. “We are dedicated to ensuring that Hargrove continues to do so for many years to come.”