Angus Hendrick III

Obituary of Angus Gustavus Hendrick III

Angus Gustavus Hendrick III, 75, died on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at the Creekside Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Pearland, Texas. Angus was born on August 14, 1944 in Guatemala City, Guatemala, to Angus Gustavus Hendrick, Jr., and Susan (Greer) Hendrick. The oldest son of a Pan American Airlines pilot, Angus moved to Mexico City when he was two, to New York City when he was four, and to Seattle when he was six. When he was ten, his father died tragically, drowning after his aircraft ditched in the Pacific Ocean. In the wake of his father’s death, Angus moved with his mother and three siblings: Carroll Reed, Susan and Charles, to Houston, Texas, to be closer to family. The four children grew up in a little house in Southside Place, where their mother provided for the family by working as a Spanish teacher. In 1962, Angus graduated from Bellaire High School and matriculated to Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. There he began a life-long love affair with philosophy, writing and theater, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1966. Angus then began a career (and sometime hobby) that in various forms would last the rest of his life, following his father’s footsteps into aviation. With the Vietnam War in full swing, Angus joined the Air Force, completing training at Lackland and MacDill Air Force Bases before deploying as an F-4 Weapon Systems Officer, or as he liked to say “GIB” (guy in back). He flew bombing missions over the Ho Chi Min trail and “far eastern Vietnam” (actually Cambodia). Though he ejected once during a belly landing following damage to his aircraft from enemy fire, Angus made it safely through the war and left the military in 1971, moving to Savannah, Georgia, with his first wife, Lane Barnes, and their young son, Angus Greer (born in 1970). In 1974, they moved to Seattle, Washington, and in 1975, he divorced and returned to Houston with his son, working in commercial aviation. In 1979, Angus began his 23-year career as a civil servant at the nation’s premier aviation organization: NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Angus started his career in procurement during the shuttle program. After completing sufficient education to work as an Aeronautical Engineer, Angus shifted to the technical branch and led the development of critical hardware for the International Space Station. During his career at NASA, Angus made many friends and was admired and respected for his ability to manage diverse groups. His final project required coordination among an international team that included Russia and Canada. Angus married the love of his life, Jessie (Holt) Hendrick on December 18, 1986, in Kemah, Texas. Angus and Jessie enjoyed traveling, especially through the small towns of southwest Texas, and took many driving trips. Tucson and Bisbee, Arizona, were frequent destinations for holidays with children and grandchildren. They spent a summer together in Tucson, where Angus famously shared his love of cooking with his visiting sister and niece, Susie. His habanero soup filled the house with fumes that drove everyone outdoors. (Surprisingly, Susie tried it afterward.) After he retired, Angus and Jessie moved to Cuero briefly, chasing their dream to convert an old building into an art studio with a live-in loft, but returned to Houston to care for Angus’s mother in 2005. Angus invited Jessie into his passion for aviation, taking her flying in small planes and stopping at the nearby restaurants for a special meal. He also continued his life-long love affair with philosophy and writing, including publishing a letter in the Houston Chronicle rebutting George Will, a favorite foil. Aside from political and philosophical writing, Angus wrote creatively, including several short stories and poems (among them love poems for his wife and grandchildren), and continued his pursuit of the Great American Novel, which dated back to his time in Savannah. Following his mother’s death in 2009, family members began noticing decline in Angus, and in 2012 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He lived at home with Jessie and continued to (try to) write. He became an avid cyclist, and at 68 reached a level of fitness that would be the envy of many teenagers, though he sometimes required a little help finding his way home as his faculties declined. Jessie cared for him until his condition necessitated in-patient care, whereupon she became his regular visitor, bringing him milkshakes to augment his diet at Creekside. On March 5, 2020, the facility closed to all visitors due to the pandemic. On June 27, the first staff and patients tested positive for the disease. On July 21, Angus was diagnosed with COVID-19. He died peacefully, under the care of the wonderful people at Creekside Alzheimer's Special Care Center and A*Med Hospice, to whom the family is especially grateful. Angus is survived by his wife Jessie, his sister Carroll Reed, his brother Charles, his son Angus, and his grandchildren Angus and Haley. They, along with his many nieces and nephews, remember him as a kind, thoughtful, principled, intelligent man who enjoyed a good debate about an interesting topic late into the evening. He was loving and fiercely loyal to people and ideas. While he enjoyed a good argument with the likes of George Will, he detested the growth of the anti-intellectual elements of the political right, and would urge anyone who would listen to Vote Blue. Though Angus desired to donate his body to science, the disease prevents that, and his remains will be cremated at the Clayton Funeral Home on July 30, at 2PM. No service is planned, owing to social distancing. An event will be planned at a future time in celebration of Angus’s life. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Houston National Public Radio, KUHF-FM.
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