Percy "PJ" James Pronger, III Profile Photo
1954 Percy "PJ" 2024

Percy "PJ" James Pronger, III

March 9, 1954 — April 25, 2024

Percy James “P.J.” Pronger III, 70, of Amarillo, passed away on April 25, 2024.

Memorial services will be at 3:30 pm, Friday, June 7, 2024 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church of Amarillo. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors. 

P.J. was born March 9, 1954, in Dumas, Texas to Vera and Percy James “Bunny” Pronger, Jr and spent an idyllic childhood growing up with and working cattle alongside his sisters and cousins on the historic Pronger Ranch near Stratford, Texas. P.J. often credited his uncle, Alfred E. Pronger Jr., for providing and caring for him, his sisters, and his mother after the death of his father Bunny, and he often spoke of a lively childhood in which he, his sisters, and his cousins ran in and out of and dined and lived equally in Alfred and his wife Jimmy’s home as well as in Vera’s. Together with his siblings and cousins, PJ graduated from Stratford High School. He attended Sam Houston State for a year before transferring to WTAMU and completing a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences. Following graduation, he took up the management of his own Lost Camp Ranch and settled into successfully continuing the Pronger legacy of raising Hereford cattle. PJ, at heart, was an adventurer with a love for travel and full-life experiences. While at Sam Houston State, he took up flying and earned his pilot license. A dirt runway at Lost Camp became the launchpad for many adventures, from flying and winning high altitude competitions at Angel Fire or flying north to Alaska on a whim with friends. The latter trip provided thrills when the radio in his Cessna 180 failed upon approach to the Juneau airport, and his skills were needed to land the plane by communicating with the control tower using only wing signals. While at WT, PJ learned of the University College Afloat/Semester at Sea Program, and after much persuasion, convinced his mother to allow him to spend a college semester taking classes while circumventing the globe on shipboard. Going on safari in Kenya, staying with a local family in Mumbai, diving in Jakarta, and bartering for pearls in Taiwan were adventures which shaped his love of travel, his curiosity, his drive to learn, and his cosmopolitan world view. He would later build on these experiences by learning sailing in Florida, building slalom skills in a ski program in Jackson Hole, gaining a certificate in French language and culture after a year of study at the Sorbonne in Paris, and exploring the ancient Maya in classrooms and through expeditions to ancient ruins during a six-week course in Merida, Mexico. 

PJ’s love of culture led him to become the first male docent of the Amarillo Museum of Art following his year at the Sorbonne. Soon after, he became the Executive Director of the Carson County Square House Museum in Panhandle, TX where he met his future wife, Kay Brizzolara. Soon after their marriage, PJ became the Executive Director of the Don Harrington Discovery Center. Building upon his knowledge of museum operations, he developed a mail order catalog business for cultural institutions. Partnering with the then National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, he launched a curated collection representing the work of artisans who created true Western crafts ranging from hand braided tack to silver jewelry and blacksmithing. Taking phone orders from actor James Stewart for a cowboy sculpture or from Martina Navratilova for etched glassware added spice to the working days in the catalog business. P.J. completed an M.A. in professional accounting from WTAMU while working as the C.E.O. of the Dalhart Chamber of Commerce. He brought Dalhart national recognition when both the Wall Street Journal and CBS News ran profiles of the Millenium Homestead Program, an innovative project PJ created which drew together local, state, and federal funding to attract needed workers to Dallam County. Participants who completed an entire year of steady employment at identified local businesses were rewarded with a full downpayment for a Dalhart home. The success of his work in Dalhart propelled P.J. to the post of Director of the WTAMU Small Business Development Center in Amarillo where he was instrumental in assisting many clients achieve success in launching, finding venture capital funding for, and growing their own businesses. From Sage Oil-Vac to Still Austin, P.J. oversaw and encouraged the growth of many companies integral to our area. During this time, P.J. also developed the West Texas Angel Network to bring together local venture capitalists with startup entrepreneurs, and he became a board member of the Texas Mezzanine Fund to foster investment in entrepreneurial enterprises across Texas. After a short move to Lubbock as the head of the Northwest Texas Small Business Development Center (Texas Tech University) through which he oversaw the work of SBDC’s in Abilene, Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Stephenville, and Wichita Falls, PJ returned to Amarillo and was privileged to join the firm of Lovelady Christy and Associates for several years before his retirement. P.J. was active in community affairs throughout his life. His many activities include helping create the Sherman County Economic Development Committee, serving for many years on the board of the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation, and most recently working as a volunteer and board member for Chalice Abbey. These public works pale in comparison to the quiet, private charitable work he did throughout his life in assisting the homeless and the elderly whom he encountered.

P.J. was devoted to Kay who loved him deeply throughout their thirty-seven years of marriage and to their two children, P.J. IV and Lauren, both of whom believed their father could fix anything. He followed WTAMU sports with a passion and could be found in the stands or before the TV for nearly every WT football and basketball game. 

Survivors include his wife, Kay Brizzolara; two children, Lauren Pronger and P.J. Pronger IV (Beth), both of Amarillo; a grandchild, P.J. “James” Pronger V ; his sisters Ivie Ann Wells of Stratford, TX and Martha Lee Mathews (Kenneth) of Huntingtown, MD; three nieces Christy, Lari, and Teresa Wells; two nephews James (Brandy) and Seth Mathews; and grand-nieces and nephews Ethan Weinstein, Sean Wells, Dylan, Emily, Luke, and John Mathews, and Sidney Bloom. In addition, PJ leaves behind his many Pronger and Harrison cousins and their families as well as many friends and colleagues, all of whom were dear to him.

The family suggests memorial donations may be made to the WTAMU Foundation at WTAMU Foundation, Box 60766, Canyon, TX 79016 or at www.wtamu.edu/one-west/give.html . Please denote “in memory of PJ Pronger” on your check or when prompted on the online form.




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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, June 7, 2024

3:30 - 4:30 pm (Central time)

St Andrew's Episcopal Church

1601 S Georgia St, Amarillo, TX 79102

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