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  • Bill Price

In Loving Memory of our Chairman, Jim Price

(Tod Marks photo)

It is with deep sorrow and broken hearts that we share the passing of W. James "Jim" Price IV, Chairman of Sonitrol of the Carolinas and father of our CEO Bill Price.

Jim, along with his wife Midge, were strong supporters of Sonitrol since our founding in 1964. He will be greatly missed by the Sonitrol family and all who had the great pleasure of knowing him.

Jim died on Tuesday at the age of 94 from complications of dementia. It is because of Jim, and the many others whose lives are affected by dementia and Alzheimer's Association - Western Carolina, that we are proud to be apart of the Queen's Cup Steeplechase that continues to donate all proceeds from race day to curing this terrible disease

During a long career in the brokerage industry, he became a partner and managing director of Alex. Brown & Sons, based in Baltimore. A Baltimore native, he was educated at that city’s St. Paul’s School and enrolled in Virginia Military Institute in 1942. The following year, he enlisted in the Army and served as an infantryman in Europe. In the final months of the war, he was wounded twice behind German lines in the Huertgen Forest in Belgium, once by a land mine and then by enemy gunfire while returning to Allied lines.

He was hospitalized for 16 months while recovering from his injuries and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. He completed his college education at Yale University, class of 1949. Known for his wry humor, he said that he and the late President George H.W. Bush had two things in common: they both went to Yale after the war, and they both detested broccoli.

Immediately after college, he formed his own brokerage firm, Price & Co., which specialized in mutual funds, then beginning to grow in popularity, and over-the-counter stocks. He joined Alex. Brown in 1952 as head of its mutual funds department.

That year, he married the love of his life, Marjorie “Midge” Beard of Philadelphia, and their marriage spanned 62 years to her death in 2014.

He served on the National Association of Security Dealers (NASD) board and as its vice chairman in the 1960s. A Connecticut company, Bunker-Ramo, began developing terminals for financial companies and unveiled the outline of an electronic securities market.

Price served on NASD’s automation committee, which recommended purchase of the concept for $20-million. NASDAQ began operation in 1971 under NASD ownership. Divested by NASD in 2000 and 2001, NASDAQ is now the world’s second-largest stock exchange with a market capitalization exceeding $11-billion.

He also was known for his personal touch, both with his family and others. We were proud to have him as our chairman. He would visit our headquarters several times a year. He made a point of greeting every employee. “What they remembered was his smile and the twinkle in his eye,” said his son Bill Price, our CEO. “He was a mentor of many people, including his children.”

Mr. Price’s philanthropy extended well beyond Maryland in that he and his wife Midge became significant benefactors to the Charlotte region’s annual Queen’s Cup Steeplechase. Held the Last Saturday of Every April, Bill and his wife Carrington are the founders and co-race chairs of the event attract over 12,000 tailgaters. This year, the race meet will celebrate its 24th annual and will dedicate the entire day’s events in both Midge and Jim’s memory.

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