Eugene (Gene)'s Story
Eugene (Gene) Payne Myrick, age 85, beloved husband, dad, and Grandpa Gene, passed away September 2, 2016 at his home in Huntsville, TX.
Eugene (Gene) Payne Myrick was born on July 13, 1931 in Ft Smith, Arkansas to David Nicholson Myrick, III and Gladys Mae Payne Myrick. Due to the Great Depression, his parents had to move back to their hometown of Ladonia, Texas so Gene arrived in Texas when he was four weeks old. After his father's death in 1942, his mother took on the job of managing the farm lands owned by his father's four sisters. Gene attended the Ladonia schools until January 1946 when his mother took a job as a fraternity housemother at Southern Methodist University so that Gene could get a faculty scholarship to SMU. He graduated from Highland Park High School in May 1948 with honors and as a member of the National Honor Society.
After living for two and a half years in a fraternity house on the SMU campus, Gene knew that he needed to change plans. One of his Ladonia friends had registered at the University of Texas Austin's School of Architecture, so Gene decided to do the same. After one semester, he found he was in the wrong school and changed to the School of Business. He excelled in his new situation and became a grader in Business Writing and Accounting while working at the Bureau of Business Research. He also became an Associate Editor of the Cactus, the school yearbook. He joined Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity, becoming president in his senior year and was elected to Beta Alpha Psi Honorary Accounting and Beta Gamma Sigma for his honorary overall scholastic achievement. While studying at the University of Texas, Gene supported himself by working for four years at the Scottish Rite Dormitory for women as a dish washer, waiter, and finally as head waiter.
Gene received his Bachelor of Business Administration with honors in May 1952 and his Master of Business Administration in August 1953 from the University of Texas. While in school, he had been receiving "U.S. Army draft notices" for two years, so he reported for duty in September of 1953. He was told to go home and they would contact him when it was his turn. Gene got a job at the Dallas Morning News as an ad checker for two months before his number came up in November. His basic training was at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas where every week he was given the "opportunity" to go to officer's training school. As that invitation included four years of service instead of the two years of his current enlistment, he always said "No, thank you." He was assigned to the Army Chemical Corps Research Procurement Agency in Edgewood, Maryland. He became an aide to the commanding officer the day he arrived probably because when he was sent to be interviewed by Colonel David Hulsey, Gene saluted and said "Grandmother Hulsey says to tell you hello."
During his service, Gene traveled a lot as he delivered Army contracts. He also became Manager of the Post Theatre after working in the ticket booth for six months. In the summer of 1955, he went home to Dallas where now his mother and grandmother lived. He interviewed with twelve companies for possible post-Army employment. He received offers from the University of Texas and Louisiana State University to teach Business Writing courses, however, he decided to go to work for Magnolia Petroleum in its Dallas headquarters so that he could be near his home.
Gene was assigned to the Controller's Training Program at Magnolia where he worked at various field jobs and the accounting office back in Dallas. After eighteen months, he was assigned to a regular staff position in the Dallas office.
About a year after moving back to Dallas, Gene joined the T-N-T (Twenty-Not-Thirty) class at Highland Park Methodist Church where he became social chairman and later President of this class for single young adults. This is where he met the love of his life, Felicia Ann Melburn. They became engaged and married in Georgetown, Texas on June 21, 1959. They bought their first home in Richardson and moved in on July 4, 1960. They brought with them their daughter Lauren who had been born in April. Gene joined the Richardson Jaycees and became President in 1962. In 1963, Gene was offered a promotion to move to Midland where their son Mark was born in June shortly after their arrival. This was the first of many more moves in his future: Midland for three years, Dallas for one year, back to Midland for three more years, Corpus Christi for three years, Houston/Katy for thirteen years, and finally to Dallas for three years.
During these moves, Gene served as President of the Midland Council of Churches and the Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies of North America. While in Houston, he was elected to two terms on the Board of Trustees of the Katy Independent School District and served as Treasurer for five years and President for one year.
In February 1989, Gene and Felicia began construction on their home at Elkins Lake. The idea was that Gene would commute to and from Huntsville until he would retire at age 60. However, Mobil made available to him and five other accounting personnel an offer of early retirement with full pay until the age of 60. So Gene retired on October 31, 1989 and he and Felicia moved into their new home on December 18, 1989.
Since moving to Huntsville, Gene volunteered his time and talents in so many different ways. He served as Treasurer of the AARP chapter (1 year), Elkins Lake Community Association Director Chairman (7 years), Sam Houston State University Raven Advisory Board for the College of Arts and Sciences (1 year), Huntsville Public Library Board (6 years President 1 year), Friends of the Huntsville Public Library (24 years Treasurer 2 years, President 11 years), Huntsville Chamber of Commerce Adventure Guide (2 years), Huntsville University of Texas Exes Club (10 years President 2 years), and the Huntsville Community Theatre (9 years Secretary 1 year, Treasurer 1 year, President 7 years).
During his time working with the Theatre, it was necessary to find a new location because the theatre space was too small and too expensive. After receiving a challenge gift of $100,000, Gene and Felicia became founding directors of the Friends of the Old Town Theater (He was President and she was secretary from 1998-2011). It took four years to reclaim the Town Theatre from ruin and establish the J. Philip Gibbs Centre for the Performing Arts. For his tireless work on this project, Gene was named Huntsville Citizen of the Year for 2000.
Gene and Felicia joined the First United Methodist Church fifteen days after getting to Huntsville. He worked in many areas of the church including Weekday Ministries for Children Board (2 years), Board of Trustees (2 years), Communion Steward (18 years), Evangelism Committee, Sybil Turner Lecture Committee, First United Methodist Church of Huntsville Foundation (16 years President 11 years), United Methodist Foundation of the Texas Annual Conference/Heartspring Methodist Foundation (9 years Chairman 1 year).
Gene was an avid blood donor. He began giving blood during his stay in Midland and continued in every city he lived in. Being that he loved numbers, he kept track of his donations and while living in Huntsville he gave 72 pints or 9 gallons of blood!
Gene is survived by his wife of 57 years, Felicia, his daughter, Lauren Nash, his son Mark and wife Claire; his grandsons Dustin Nash and wife Lauren, Josh Nash and wife Colby, Taylor Horton and wife Sarah, Cody Nash, and David Nash; his great-grandchildren, Dalton, Weston, Sutton, Chandler, and soon to be baby Horton.
The family will receive friends from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 in the Chapel of Sam Houston Memorial Funeral Home.
Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at First United Methodist Church of Huntsville, Texas. Burial will be in the Adickes Addition of Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville, Texas following the services.
The family asks that you consider honoring Gene's memory by donating to one of his favorite charities. Contributions in Gene's memory may be directed to Friends of the Old Town Theatre (P.O. Box 1431, Huntsville, TX 77342-1431), Huntsville Public Library Friends (1219 13th Street, Huntsville, TX 77340) or First United Methodist Church of Huntsville Foundation (1016 Sam Houston Avenue, Huntsville, TX 77320).
Full obituary may be viewed and memorial condolences made to the family at www.shmfh.com.
Published on September 6, 2016