Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. George

 

George was 77, going on 78 when we met. He owned a firm that rather suddenly had become my client due to an emergency failure in their IT network – an emergency that lasted 20 years. A protégé of George’s at the firm would end-up becoming one of my best friends – a relationship that will last forever.

George was remarkable: full-bird Colonel on General Patton’s staff, DoD project manager for the implementation of the world’s first mainframe computer, editor of a military journal for decades, college teacher, business owner, founder of the Pachyderms – a group of folks with thick skins, a sense of humor, and a keen interest in politics and bourbon.

But the thing I remember most about George was his gentle, humble laugh. We sat for many conversations over the years in his glass office on Kirby Drive – always quiet, private, and interesting. Until just a couple years ago, George came to the office everyday … wearing a tie and a smile, with a pipe in one hand and a newspaper in the other. He was a classic gentleman, old school. Every time we talked I learned something about life, the military, history, WWII, women, politics, the original mainframes, bourbon, or pipe tobacco. We never once talked business – his or mine. He had other things on his mind and I was interested in hearing about them. Making George laugh was a special treat for me – I’ll always remember that gentle sound.

In my life I’ve met a ridiculous number of remarkable people – there’s really no accounting for it. They make you say things about them long after they’re gone. George was one of the remarkables. He passed-away on Saturday and was laid to rest at Veterans Cemetery yesterday in a misty parade of friends walking behind his horse-drawn caisson through hallowed ground. He was 103. I hope all the remarkables will live to 103, continue to sit and converse with me, drink wine, and laugh.

Requiesce In Pace, George McDowell

April 26th 2017

There are 19 comments.

  1. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Wonderful.

    • #1
    • April 28, 2017, at 9:24 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. Johnnie Alum 13 Coolidge

    Well done good and faithful servant.

    • #2
    • April 28, 2017, at 10:11 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  3. She Thatcher
    She

    Beautiful post. Rest in peace, Colonel George McDowell. And thank you.

    Excerpt from the above link:

    George McDowell’s 7 Rules to Live By:
    Rule 1: Stay Mentally Challenged Every Day
    Rule 2: After age 70, associate only with younger people
    Rule 3: Forget any rocking chair concept of retirement–stay active, exercise, walk
    Rule 4: Get at least 7 hours sleep each night
    Rule 5: Schedule an hour’s nap each afternoon
    Rule 6: On getting up from a nap, mix a good bourbon Old Fashioned to drink before dinner
    Rule 7: When leaving the doctor’s office, if he does not shout, “whatever you are doing, keep doing it’,” get a new doctor and a second opinion

    • #3
    • April 28, 2017, at 12:08 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  4. jonb60173 Member

    George & Patton, etal. – what did these exceptional persons see in the armed forces that eluded me? I’ve lived my life respecting these individuals who volunteered their lives to my/our country. So when that opportunity presented itself to me in Viet Nam I chose college instead. What’s wrong with me, what’s right with them?

    • #4
    • April 28, 2017, at 5:22 PM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Doug Watt Member

    Old school, the highest compliment I have for this man. Unfortunately not all change is necessarily progress, but fortunately there will be others that will come along that will be called old school.

    • #5
    • April 28, 2017, at 5:57 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  6. profdlp Inactive

    He lived life on his own terms, made a difference, and always made time for the things he enjoyed. That’s doing it right.

    • #6
    • April 28, 2017, at 7:06 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. NicholasNoecker Inactive
    NicholasNoecker Post author

    jonb60173 (View Comment):
    George & Patton, etal. – what did these exceptional persons see in the armed forces that eluded me? I’ve lived my life respecting these individuals who volunteered their lives to my/our country. So when that opportunity presented itself to me in Viet Nam I chose college instead. What’s wrong with me, what’s right with them?

    It’s one of the mysteries of life… George would have simply laughed gently at the question, puffed his pipe, and offered your a bourbon.

    • #7
    • April 29, 2017, at 8:45 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  8. NicholasNoecker Inactive
    NicholasNoecker Post author

    profdlp (View Comment):
    He lived life on his own terms, made a difference, and always made time for the things he enjoyed. That’s doing it right.

    So true. Spot-on. He was one of the “remarkables.”

    • #8
    • April 29, 2017, at 8:45 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Rodin Member

    The “Greatest Generation” is a bit of a cliche´but when you meet or read about so many truly great individuals from that era, the sobriquet does fit. Followed as it was by Boomers (among whom I am one) who seem awfully self-involved, the contrast is telling.

    • #9
    • April 29, 2017, at 8:47 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. NicholasNoecker Inactive
    NicholasNoecker Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Old school, the highest compliment I have for this man. Unfortunately not all change is necessarily progress, but fortunately there will be others that will come along that will be called old school.

    Old School, may well be dying…who knows? But I never took knowing George for granted. Not once. And I thank my lucky stars for the emergency failure in his IT network. He was one of the remarkables. Loved him. Miss him. He was one of the very last ones from that strange glorious time…soon, there will be no more and their untold stories will be gone.

    • #10
    • April 29, 2017, at 8:51 AM PST
    • 1 like
  11. barbara lydick Coolidge

    Johnnie Alum 13 (View Comment):
    Well done good and faithful servant.

    NicholasNoecker: founder of the Pachyderms – a group of folks with thick skins, a sense of humor, and a keen interest in politics and bourbon.

    That must have been some group. Sounds like an excellent premise for a group of some of you Ricochet guys. (Yeah, I meant guys.) Some old school traditions shouldn’t fade away…

    Thank you for posting this beautiful tribute.

    • #11
    • April 29, 2017, at 8:55 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  12. NicholasNoecker Inactive
    NicholasNoecker Post author

    Rodin (View Comment):
    The “Greatest Generation” is a bit of a cliche´but when you meet or read about so many truly great individuals from that era, the sobriquet does fit. Followed as it was by Boomers (among whom I am one) who seem awfully self-involved, the contrast is telling.

    Ditto. It is disquieting. For sure.

    • #12
    • April 29, 2017, at 8:58 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. NicholasNoecker Inactive
    NicholasNoecker Post author

    barbara lydick (View Comment):

    Johnnie Alum 13 (View Comment):
    Well done good and faithful servant.

    NicholasNoecker: founder of the Pachyderms – a group of folks with thick skins, a sense of humor, and a keen interest in politics and bourbon.

    That must have been some group. Sounds like an excellent premise for a group of some of you Ricochet guys. (Yeah, I meant guys.) Some old school traditions shouldn’t fade away…

    Thank you for posting this beautiful tribute.

    If you were running for office in Houston in those days, it behooved you to interview with the Pachyderms where you would be chucked into the gauntlet and come out the other side with bourbon and a smile waiting for you. No kidding.

    • #13
    • April 29, 2017, at 9:14 AM PST
    • 1 like
  14. NicholasNoecker Inactive
    NicholasNoecker Post author

    A note about Military Funerals with Horse-Drawn Caisson: After attending several of these over the course of my life, my reaction to them continues to grow. The eerie quiet rhythm of the stepping horse, the barely audible creak of the wagon, the soft clicking footsteps of the mourners parade following behind, the 18-gun, three volley salute, ending with the dramatic folding and presentation of the flag. It has always overwhelmed me…more so now than ever before.

    If you want to know more about George’s life – the things he wouldn’t tell you – follow this link to the Congressional Record of the U.S. Congress: https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2014/4/28/extensions-of-remarks-section/article/E606-2

    • #14
    • April 29, 2017, at 9:24 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  15. barbara lydick Coolidge

    NicholasNoecker (View Comment):
    If you were running for office in Houston in those days, it behooved you to interview with the Pachyderms where you would be chucked into the gauntlet and come out the other side with bourbon and a smile waiting for you. No kidding.

    Women, too?

    • #15
    • April 29, 2017, at 12:55 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. ST Inactive
    ST

    Great post and welcome aboard.

    • #16
    • April 29, 2017, at 2:10 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Coolidge

    Late to the party, but thank you for this marvelous post, and: “Welcome in!”

    • #17
    • April 29, 2017, at 7:59 PM PST
    • 1 like
  18. DudleyDoright49 Coolidge

    jonb60173 (View Comment):
    George & Patton, etal. – what did these exceptional persons see in the armed forces that eluded me? I’ve lived my life respecting these individuals who volunteered their lives to my/our country. So when that opportunity presented itself to me in Viet Nam I chose college instead. What’s wrong with me, what’s right with them?

    What is wrong with you is that this post is not about you, but you choose to make it about you. The exceptional people in the world live their lives in humble service to others.

    • #18
    • April 29, 2017, at 8:07 PM PST
    • 1 like
  19. NicholasNoecker Inactive
    NicholasNoecker Post author

    barbara lydick (View Comment):

    NicholasNoecker (View Comment):
    If you were running for office in Houston in those days, it behooved you to interview with the Pachyderms where you would be chucked into the gauntlet and come out the other side with bourbon and a smile waiting for you. No kidding.

    Women, too?

    There were always women in the mix and – there were many more women at George’s funeral than men…wasn’t even close.

    • #19
    • April 30, 2017, at 12:28 PM PST
    • 2 likes