James L. Pokluda, Jr. (’61)

James Pokluda passed away peacefully at New Haven Assisted Living Home in Spring, TX, on July 17 with his loving wife and care-giver at his side. Jim drew comfort is his final days and hours by the frequent, daily presence of his children, and grandchildren. Jim was born July 13, 1937 in Houston, TX, the son of Jimmie and Mary Pokluda. He attended All Saints Catholic School and St. Thomas High School, and in 1961, Jim graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Chemical Engineering. His professional career included employment at Good-Rich Gulf Chemical Company, U.S. Borax Company, Nalco Chemical Company and eventually the Lubrizol Corporation where he retired in 1999. His expertise included chemicals for water treatment plants, synthetic rubber manufacturing, fertilizer chemicals, and, ultimately oil, gas and grease additives. Jim’s real love was chemical sales, at which he excelled. His comprehensive knowledge of the materials he sold and his friendly, expansive personality ensured his success and popularity. As one of his co-workers once said, “Just give him a brief case, ten minutes to review the data, point him in any direction, and he’ll make the sale.” Jim met his future wife, Maria Callan, in a Cleveland apartment building, and, despite a rather awkward introduction over a noise complaint at 2:00 a.m., they eventually worked out a suitably agreed-upon noise arrangement, and were married in Franklin, PA, in 1963. Jim’s career took him from Cleveland, Ohio, to Chicago, IL, to Cleveland again, and, in 1977, to Houston. In the course of these moves, Jim and Maria welcomed the birth of their four children, the source of his greatest pride and joy. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Ronald Pokluda, and his daughter, Jennifer Pokluda Peterson. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Maria, and his son James Pokluda and daughter-in-law, Melody, and his grandsons James IV and Samuel; his daughter, Dr. Joan Kay and son-in-law, Dr. Joseph Kay, and their children Joey and Jenna; Son, Mark Pokluda; and son-in-law, Erik Peterson and grandchildren Erik, Jr., and Karly Peterson. The family would like to extend their eternal gratitude and appreciation to the loving staff of New Haven Assisted Living home and to Jim’s extraordinary care-giver, Kristi Jones, who administered to him lovingly for many years. A private service will be held Thursday, July 23 at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. Because of the current health risks imposed by Corona, a reception will be held at a later time.

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