George Eugene Conner Sr.
George Eugene Conner Sr. passed from this life on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, at the age of 92. Mr. Conner was born on the Feb. 10, 1921, in Jennings, to Rosalie Castex and Euclide D. Conner. He was the youngest of 12 children. Mr. Conner was predeceased by his lifelong friend and wife of 67 years, Dorothy “Dot” Pitre Conner; his beloved son, Michael E. Conner; and all of his siblings.
Mr. Conner grew up in Jennings and was a graduate of Jennings High School. The Conner and Pitre families were close friends in town and George was blessed to meet his wife Dorothy at a young age. They were married on the March 15, 1944, at the Naval Station in Corpus Christi, Texas, where George was stationed as a Marine pilot. Well-versed with the Corsair F4U, he became a flight instructor at various bases in North and South Carolina for the duration of WWII. After the war, George and Dot moved back to Jennings where George flew a Navy N3N biplane in an “inventive” crop-dusting style. He and his best friend, Tom Danaher, would race each other under the utility lines along the highways. He kept his pilot’s license active for another twenty years, flying as often as time permitted.
From Louisiana, the Conner family moved to the oil fields of West Texas and by 1954, they were living in Houston with their four children, George, Carol, Jane and Michael. George continued in the oil business during the oil boom of the ‘50s and the ‘60s, eventually leaving Milchem, Inc. as its president. After Milchem he and a partner purchased Zigler Shipyard in Mermentau, from which a variety of vessels were built and delivered to the off-shore oil and gas service industry. Possessing an uncommon mechanical sense, he is credited with a number of US Patents for oilfield equipment.
Though he left Louisiana in his late twenties, George was a Cajun at heart, having grown up in Jennings and on the Conner family farm in nearby Thornwell, returning often to visit both his and Dot’s families. A trip in the late 1940’s in an unairconditioned car with three small children from Odessa, Texas, to Jennings is a testament to the importance to George and Dot of their roots.
Crab and crawfish boils at Dot and George’s were an occasion for a celebration. Speaking of food, now that he’s with Dot maybe he can have her understand that he truly doesn’t hold her responsible for burning down their house in Houston with an unattended pot of gumbo on the stove.
He loved the outdoors, whether it be hunting, fishing or golf. He excelled at each, though his son George recalls a time when duck hunting, his dad forgot his hip boots and used his brother-in-law Raymond’s Coleman burner in the blind to dry his pants. For those not familiar with flash fires, were you there you would know.
Being the youngest of 12 with eight older brothers, he had to fend for himself, developing a determination to excel at whatever he attempted. He traveled the world both for pleasure and business. Speaking of excelling, he asked the family to wait until after his passing to apologize on his behalf to all those at Lakeside Country Club from whom he was able to finance his club dues from the gin rummy table.
Though often seen as having a tough exterior, he was always available with a helping hand for those less fortunate, providing funds or opportunities for those he knew personally who just needed someone to open a door.
George was a longtime member of Lakeside Country Club. The family extends its thanks to those there, both members and employees, that helped make his time there enjoyable. The family also thanks both Selena Moody and Gwen Robinson, his caregivers and buddies, for the kindness they showed to George in his later years,
George is survived by his son, George E. (Janine McCloskey) Conner Jr.; his daughter, Carol Conner (Christopher J., MD) Wilson; his daughter, Jane Conner (J. Stanley) Huckaby and his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Anne Crawford. He also leaves behind eight grandchildren: Laura Wilson (Kevin) Meadows, Sarah Christine Wilson, Kate Conner (Michael) Drone, Catherine Romayne Conner, Adam Michael Conner, Nathan Crawford Conner, Conner Marshal Huckaby and David Stanley Huckaby; and his three beloved great-grandchildren, Caroline Elizabeth Meadows, Conner Hossley Drone, and Ryan Gamble Drone.
A memorial mass is to be offered at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, at St. Michael Catholic Church, 1801 Sage Road in Houston, where the Rev. Douglas J. Guthrie, Parochial Vicar, is to serve as celebrant. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held in room A of the Parish Life Center.
In Jennings, service arrangements were pending at the time of this notice.
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions, in Mr. Conner’s memory, may be directed to The Holy Name Retreat Center, 430 Bunker Hill Rd., Houston, Texas, 77024.
Services in Houston are with Geo. H. Lewis and Sons, www.geohlewis.com, 713-789-3005.
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