Howard  McNair
Howard McNair
1924 - 2019

Howard McNair passed away peacefully on the 13th of October 2019, at his home in Lake Jackson, Texas, at the age of 95. A member of the Greatest Generation, Howard leaves a world forever changed by his long, full life in service to God, his family and his country.

Howard was born February 8th, 1924, in the Wheelock Community, in Robertson County, to Marion Melton McNair and Bertie Gladys Dixon McNair. Howard was the grandson of the late John Rodrick McNair and the late Emma Catherine Melton McNair and the late Henry Eugene Dixon and the late Alice Haltom Dixon.

In 1928, the McNair family moved from Wheelock to be closer to the employment opportunities in the growing railroad town of Hearne. Howard graduated from Hearne High School and was valedictorian of his 1941 class. Howard always acknowledged Hearne High School principal and science teacher Lt. Col. Milton H. "Pete" Baughn, Jr. (Texas A&M Class of 1930) for encouraging him to pursue a career in Chemical Engineering and for inspiring him to apply for college at Texas A&M University.

Howard entered Texas A&M in 1941 where he was a member of The Corps and the Fighting Texas Aggie Band. However, like so many of his Greatest Generation contemporaries, World War II interrupted his college education. Howard joined the United States war effort by enlisting in the Army. Howard was on active duty status from 1943-1945 and served in the Field Artillery and the Infantry. Howard was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry in October 1944. During the war years, Howard was stationed at several U.S. Army posts in the Continental United States, before he was transferred to Schofield Barracks in the Territory of Hawaii. Howard's job with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield was to supervise the Civilian Personnel Office.

While in Hawaii, Howard met his future wife, Dorothy Fernandez of Brooklyn, New York. Dorothy served in the United States Naval Reserve (WAVES) during World War II and was stationed at nearby Barber's Point Naval Air Station on the Island of Oahu. Howard and Dorothy were married in the Post Chapel at Schofield Barracks on January 7th, 1947. After both Howard and Dorothy had been discharged from military service in 1948, they returned to College Station where Howard completed bachelor of science degrees in chemical engineering and industrial engineering, as well as all the coursework toward a master's degree in chemical engineering.

In 1953, Howard accepted a job with the Dow Chemical Company and began working in the Light Hydrocarbons Plant in Freeport, Texas. During his 31-year career, Howard worked and managed hydrocarbon plants all over the Dow world. His work assignments took him to the Netherlands, Canada, South America, Australia, Spain, Germany and Japan. His experience with ethylene plant start-ups was well-known and he was involved in resolving many challenging problems at Dow plants and as a consultant and Dow's representative at non-Dow plants as well. He was project manager for the building of the Light Hydrocarbons Plant #6 and project manager for Dow's Crude Oil Processing Plant at Oyster Creek. Howard also served as technical manager of Dow's Ethylene Center which was the focal point for the technology used in all of the company's ethylene plants around the world. Howard's final assignment at Dow was as major manager of Chlor-Alkali Production at the Freeport Plant.
Howard had a strong sense of family and purpose and a deep abiding faith in God. He enjoyed volunteering at Brazosport Community Hospital where he was able to visit with many Dow retirees. Howard was instrumental in setting the curriculum for an operator's training course for Dow employees at Brazosport College. For 30 years, Howard taught a Sunday morning adult Bible class at the Lake Jackson Church of Christ where he and his family have been members since 1953. He also enjoyed reading, listening to classical music, photography, working on family genealogy and held a ham radio operator's license for 50 years.

Throughout his life, Howard was a source of encouragement to those who knew him. He enjoyed watching the young engineers grow and develop in their jobs. He was a fair boss and a man of honesty and integrity. Howard was kind and compassionate and always willing to assist a young person further their education or help someone get a much-needed vehicle. Howard believed in the power of education because he had experienced the opportunities his engineering degrees from Texas A&M had provided him. Howard and Dorothy endowed science scholarships at Brazosport College and Texas A&M University to help young people achieve their goal of obtaining a college degree.

Howard was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Dorothy Fernandez McNair (1918-2004); his parents, Marion Melton McNair (1899-1982) and Bertie Gladys Dixon McNair (1899-1972); his brother, Marion Dixon McNair (1922-2005); and his son-in-law, Jaime Alvarez-Calderon (1949-2015). Howard is survived by his daughters, Marie Elena Alvarez-Calderon and partner Douglas Saam of Lake Jackson, Texas and Eileen Frances McNair Boaz and husband Joe of Huntsville, Texas; granddaughter, Elisa Marie Bruce Kepner and husband Rob of Aldie, Virginia; grandson, Joseph Carlton Boaz and wife Deborah of Huntsville, Texas; granddaughter, Emily Grace Boaz Stavinoha and husband Hudson of Dallas, Texas; great grandchildren, William Howard Kepner and Robert Andrew Kepner of Aldie, Virginia and Anabelle Fay Boaz, Joseph Albert Boaz and Marion Reese Boaz of Huntsville, Texas. Howard is also survived by his sister-in-law, Mary Pauline McNair of La Grange, Texas.

The memorial service celebrating Howard's life will be conducted on Sunday, November 10th, 2019 at the Lake Jackson Church of Christ at 11:45 AM. All are invited to greet the family at a lunch reception at the church following the memorial service.

The family would like to express their appreciation to Susana Trevino for the wonderful care and attention Howard received for the past 16 years. Susana's efforts allowed the family to fulfill Howard's wishes to remain in his home as his health began to decline. Throughout his later years, Howard continued to receive exceptional care from his long-time Lake Jackson physicians, Dr. Rajesh Dalal, Dr. Nabil Baradhi and Dr. Scott Harris. The family would also like to thank the many friends, fellow Christians, professional caregivers and IPH Home Health Care & Hospice who helped care for Howard.

In lieu of customary remembrances, and for those desiring, the family requests with gratitude that memorials be directed to Eastern European Missions, P. O. Box 55245, Hurst, TX 76054.
Published on October 29, 2019

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Carl & JoAn Ernest and Family
Nov 06, 2019
Sincere condolences to Howard’s daughters and family. As an only child, My mother, JoAn loved her first cousins like siblings. Prayers to your family and in celebration of Howard - a life well lived.
Sincerely,
Carla Ernest
John and Beverly Widders
Nov 03, 2019
So sorry to hear about Howard's passing. Prayers for daughters and families. Howard and Dot were such special friends of ours. We will never forget all that they did to welcome us to Lake Jackson and support our family over the years.