Posts Tagged ‘In Memoriam’

Mohammed Abdul Quadeer Siddiqui (MS ’64, PhD ’67)

Dr. Mohammed Abdul Quadeer (MAQ) Siddiqui passed away on August 19, 2021 at home, surrounded by loved ones. He was 84 years old.

MAQ was born in Hyderabad, India and was the second oldest of fourteen siblings. As a young adult, he frequented the local United States Information Service (USIS) office where he voraciously read LIFE magazines and consumed information on life in America. He became fascinated with cowboy movies, the Beatles, and U.S. politics. It was also at the USIS library where MAQ first learned about DNA in a textbook, piquing his interest in the human body and biology.

After graduating from Osmania University with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, MAQ decided to pursue a career in scientific research – a decision that was met with hesitation as his family expected him to attend medical school. MAQ applied to multiple graduate programs in the United States and Canada and ultimately accepted an offer from the PhD program at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas.

To help finance his travel to the United States, MAQ worked as a field clerk for the local municipality’s Department of Agriculture, a job that required him to visit rural farmers and convince them of the benefits of using chemical fertilizers. Generally weary of the wilderness, MAQ was not fond of trekking to remote areas with no electricity and ample wildlife.

MAQ departed for America in December 1960 aboard the Neptune cruise ship, where he was to work on board in return for discounted fare. However, MAQ had only packed formal dress clothes which were inappropriate for his assigned job of cleaning the pool deck. After seeing him play table tennis, MAQ’s supervisor offered him a position scheduling and managing table tennis matches among the guests, in addition to providing lessons.

The Neptune sailed from Cochin, India to Genoa, Italy after which MAQ took a train to Calais, France and crossed the English Channel by boat. In Dover, England, he was completely unprepared for the winter weather and spent extra shillings to turn on the heater in the bed and breakfast where he was staying. After two days, MAQ flew to New York and stayed at a YMCA near 34th street. He then traveled to Houston, Texas, arriving at his destination 33 days after leaving India.

In Houston, MAQ found work as a gas station attendant but was fired on his first day for not knowing how to pump gas in unfamiliar American cars. He then started running biological samples between collection sites and the laboratory at the University of Houston, before eventually getting hired as a research assistant within the University’s Department of Biology. MAQ dove into his studies and found his passion in molecular biology, concentrating his doctoral research on the mechanisms by which antibiotics inhibit protein synthesis. MAQ was awarded a PhD in Biological Sciences in 1967.

MAQ completed post-doctoral work at the University of California at Berkeley amongst an inspiring scientific community of renown researchers. In 1969, he accepted a position at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in Nutley, New Jersey where he rose to the rank of Full Member in the Department of Biochemistry. MAQ’s research at Roche focused on the role of small RNA in protein synthesis and other physiological functions. In 1975, his laboratory became the first to isolate and clone a cardiac muscle gene.

In 1987, MAQ was appointed as the Chairman and Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Under his leadership, the Department grew to include over 30 researchers and secure $5 million in annual funding from the National Institutes of Health. MAQ also served as the Director of SUNY Downstate’s Center for Cardiovascular and Muscle Research. MAQ and his team conducted novel research to understand the molecular signaling pathways related to myocardial hypertrophy. His work led to two patents and formed the basis for future discoveries into the causes of left ventricular dysfunction and congestive heart failure.

Throughout his career, MAQ worked alongside several notable figures including Nobel Laureates, Dr. Severo Ochoa and Dr. Robert Furchgott. MAQ published over 150 papers and multiple book chapters on his research, many of which have greatly influenced the field of molecular cardiology. He was invited to speak at conferences and symposia across the United States in addition to Canada, Chile, Venezuela, China, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, India, Czech Republic, Russia, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, United Arab Emirates, Greece, Germany, Israel, and the Netherlands.

MAQ was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2003. When commuting from New Jersey to Brooklyn was no longer an option, MAQ continued to work from home, mentoring students over the phone and via email. He retired from SUNY Downstate in 2014.

MAQ’s natural mentorship abilities extended to family and friends as well. He regularly sent money to his family in India, beginning from his time as a loan-assisted student at the University of Houston. One by one, he paid the way for each of his twelve siblings to receive an education and move to the United States. MAQ was a patient and open listener for anyone that came to him for professional or personal advice. He provided heartfelt guidance to numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

As a scientist, MAQ was keenly aware of the nature of a progressive condition like Parkinson’s Disease. He faced a degenerative diagnosis with dignity and fortitude, never once allowing it to become a crutch.

MAQ was fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends from near and far, especially during the final years of his life. He will always be known as a brilliant, soft-spoken academic and avid tennis and cricket fan with a dry sense of humor and penchant for desserts. First and foremost, MAQ will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and dear friend.

MAQ is survived by his wife of 37 years, Samena Siddiqui; daughter and her husband, Norain and Montgomery; son and his wife, Umair and Flor; granddaughter, Serena; in addition to eight brothers, three sisters, and many nieces and nephews. MAQ is preceded in death by his parents, Mohammed and Quaderunissa; elder brother, Afzal; and younger brother, Akhlad.

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Elsie G. Schulze (M.Ed ’72)

Elsie Gwendolyn Schulze, born August 28, 1934, passed away Friday, June 25, 2021. She is preceded in death by beloved husband Albert, her parents, Voyd Harrelson and Alma Sparks Glover; siblings, Claude Harrelson, Charles Harrelson, Leonard Harrelson and Sybil Harrelson Nunley. She leaves behind sons James Schulze and wife, Donna, Dale Schulze and wife, Valerie, grandchildren, James, Jennifer, Lauren and Heather; great grandchildren, Isabel, Elle, Stella, Otto, Autumn and Paige; and many, many other family and friends.

Elsie grew up in Huntsville where she met her husband-to-be while he was working at the local movie theater. Love flourished and they were married in 1951. While raising 2 sons Elsie studied and earned degrees in education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She taught for 20 years at Almeda Elementary where she assisted countless students to overcome their learning difficulties.

Elsie also taught Sunday School and Catechism classes for many years at Trinity Lutheran in Corpus Christi, St. Michael’s Lutheran in Houston, and Epiphany Lutheran in Pearland. She loved to sing and was a choir member and leader everywhere.

A devout Christian, Elsie spent countless hours in study, devotion, prayer and service to her Lord and Savior in many roles throughout her life.
Elsie will be greatly missed by all those whose lives she touched through the years.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Elsie Schulze Memorial Fund at Epiphany Lutheran Church Pearland.

Esthermae L. Rooke (’45)

Grab your coat and get your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep, just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.” Following her favorite song, Esthermae Litherland Rooke, 96, of Kerrville, Texas, peacefully passed away on July 6 at The Wesleyan in Georgetown, living independently until the last few weeks and leaving behind a rich legacy of memories and a deep love for her family and friends. She was born in Houston to Louis Owen and Nettie Litherland on October 9, 1924 and grew up as a big sister to Joyce and Lou. At Stephen F. Austin High School, she was a newspaper editor and bugle captain of the Scottish Brigade drill team. (Although she hung up her bugle, she continued to attend reunions there into her nineties.) During high school, she met David Rooke at a church youth group, and they were married on June 2, 1945 at Epworth Methodist Church, a day after graduating college. They were inseparable, leaning on each other for over 64 years, moving to Lake Jackson, Texas in 1946, then to Midland, Michigan for 8 years, and making their final move to Kerrville, Texas in 1982 to retire (although “retire” was never in her vocabulary). The first woman college graduate in her family, Esthermae graduated from The University of Houston, and became the first biology teacher at the then Freeport High School. She was an endlessly creative Mom of four sons, Cub Scout den mother, faithful Church leader and volunteer across many ministries, and P.E.O. sister. She received the Silver Fawn award from the Boy Scouts of America for her dedicated service over many years. Esthermae was a child of The Depression and never threw anything away that could be used for a greater purpose. Many were the tuna fish cans transformed into magnificent centerpieces, and she could magically turn cut-out letters and into handmade notes and poems with just scissors, colored pens, Elmer’s glue, and her beloved IBM typewriter. Family was her Heaven on earth, and her tireless arms wrangled a 10-year span of sons and their very different needs (celebrating three birthdays in the first week of April!). She made sure every holiday, from her favorite Halloween to Texas Independence Day to The Kentucky Derby, was always dressed up, and somehow, she made all the days in between just as festive. On birthdays, everyone waited in anticipation for that inevitable phone call and rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.” It will be missed. Every special moment hung like a charm on the ever-growing gold bracelet that she wore like a noisy celebration around her wrist. Esthermae was preceded in death by her husband David, her parents, uncles and aunts (of which her name was made by combining two of them), her younger brother Louis Owen Litherland, Jr., and her niece, Julie Goode. Survivors include her four boys and their spouses: Eugene and Cheryl, Mark and Jana, Paul and Debra, and Bruce and Julia; her sister Joyce Lindler-Hale and sister-in-law Becky Litherland; her grandchildren Thomas, Anna, Stephen, Alison, James David, Austin, Emily, Maegan, Melisa-Beth, Eleanor, and Travis and their families, including 15 great grandchildren; and nieces and nephews Vicki and Tim Scheddel, Steve and Cheryl Litherland, and Joel and Lynn Goode. All of us have been touched and shaped by her supportive smiles and hugs, those countless cards and poems, the spontaneous shuffle, ball, and change, cheers of “Go, Spurs, Go!”, singing hymns and big band songs with her in her last days, and the infinite gift of her favorite verse from Psalm 118: “This is the day The Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” We will rejoice and honor her life at a public memorial celebration at 3 pm on Sunday, September 5 at the Kerrville First United Methodist Church in Kerrville, Texas, with Dr. Donna Magee officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Kerrville First United Methodist Church, P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund, Schreiner University Litherland-Rooke Endowed Scholarship Fund, or a charity of your choice. For memorials to the P.E.O. Educational Fund, go to “Giving Opportunities” at or mail to: P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund P.E.O. Executive Office Treasurer’s Department 3700 Grand Ave. Des Moines, Iowa 50312 For memorials to the Schreiner University Litherland-Rooke Endowed Scholarship Fund, go to . Under Designations, select “Other” and then enter “Litherland-Rooke Endowed Scholarship Fund” in the box. Or mail to: Schreiner University Attn: Advancement 2100 Memorial Blvd. Kerrville, Texas 78028

Michael Kenneth Vest (’78)

Michael Kenneth Vest
JULY 6, 1954 ? FEBRUARY 19, 2020
Obituary of Michael Kenneth Vest
Michael Kenneth Vest was born on July 6, 1954 in Roanoke, Virginia and passed away on February 19, 2020 in Houston, Texas and is under the care of Memorial Oaks Funeral Home.

Margaret Hughes (’57)

Margaret Hughes, 84, died on Wednesday, April 28 in Fairfax at the Fairfax Nursing Center at the end of many years living with dementia. Born in Beaumont, Texas she was predeceased by her loving parents Herman Bundy Hughes of Voth, Texas and Inez Withers of Buna, Texas and her wonderful brother, John Hughes, of Houston, Texas. She is survived by her daughter, Melissa Foynes of Fairfax and son, Ron Robinson of Texas, as well as her granddaughter, Giselle of Fairfax.

Growing up, Margaret loved spending time with her many aunts, uncles, and cousins in Beaumont and in the Bayou City. After graduation in 1954 from San Jacinto High School in Houston she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Houston. An active member of the Psi Zeta Chapter of Chi Omega sorority she mentored many young women and served as a Leader in raising scholarship funding. She loved teaching First Grade and spoke fondly for many years of the wonderful children in her classes. In 1958, she married Thomas Robinson of Amarillo and eventually left teaching when expecting her first child as was the custom at the time. She spent many happy years raising her children, volunteering with the Texas Dental Association, Chi Omega and the Junior League. An avid learner, cook and lover of the arts she attended lectures and travelled extensively in Europe.

Hughes Otto Baker (’71)

Hugh Otto Baker March 15, 1937 April 27, 2021 A memorial service for Hugh Baker, 84 of Crockett, will be held at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, May 8, 2021 at First United Methodist Church in Grapeland. Rev. Wade Harman will be officiating. Mr. Baker passed away Tuesday, April 27, 2021 in Crockett. He was born March 15, 1937 to Seymour and Violet Kellermeyer Baker in Yonkers, New York. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Grapeland. He attended Friendswood High School where he was an All American running back. He received his engineering technology degree from the University of Houston. After his retirement from engineering he and Donna moved to the Crockett area from the Spring/Conroe where he became a part time rancher. He also liked flying model airplanes. Mr. Baker is survived by his wife Donna; his daughters: Karen J. Carlton (Kenny) and Peggy J. Keep (Travis); his son: Mike R Baker (Lisa ); grandchildren: K. C. Carlton (Eileen), Justin Carlton (Amanda), Jacob Carlton (Laurie), Daniel Baker, Stephan Baker, Kayla Altizer, and Keylee Altizer; and great grandchildren: Avery Carlton, Brystal Carlton, Arriana Ochoa, Jasper Carlton and Molly Carlton and great-great grandchild: Julios Ochoa. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother Phillip Ross Baker; and grandson Thomas Edward Keep.

Billy G. Box (’73)

Billy Garland Box October 2, 1942 April 21, 2021Billy Garland Box, 78, a resident of Cape Coral, FL since 2008, formerly of Ecuador, passed away Wednesday, April 21, 2021 in Cape Coral. He was born October 2, 1942 in Houston, TX to Allen P. and Reba J. Shelton Box, now deceased. Billy was of the Baptist faith and a Veteran of the United States Navy. He grew up in Houston where he attended university of Houston and got an accounting degree. He passed the CPA exam and worked for several oil companies as CFO. He enjoyed traveling the world. He loved boating and fishing and the beach. He is survived by one sister, Jackie Lewis; wife, Irma Box; numerous nieces and nephews; as well as his beloved pet, Pooch. He is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Delana Godwin, and brother, Allen Box Jr Committal Services with Military Honors will be held 11:30 AM Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Road 72, Sarasota, FL 34241Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Cape Coral, is entrusted with final care.

Jesse P. Jackson (’57)

Dr. Jesse P. Jackson was born January 19, 1933 in San Antonio, Texas, and passed away on April 20, 2021.He grew up in Medina, Texas, excelling in both academics and sports. He went on to play basketball at Rice University. After completing his undergraduate work, Jesse received his doctor of optometry at the University of Houston. He practiced at Texas State Optical for many years before opening his own practice in 1982 in San Antonio, serving thousands of patients before semi-retiring in 2010.Jesse had many hobbies throughout his life, namely sailing, flying his own personal aircrafts, playing tennis, golf, and, most notably, fishing the many lakes in and around Texas. He was also an avid Dallas Cowboys and San Antonio Spurs fan. He is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Bonnie Jackson; children, Scott Rowe, Alan Jackson and wife Mary Ann; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; brother Louis Jackson and wife Shirley; numerous nieces and nephews; and many other relatives and close friends.

Floyd L. Jennings (JD ’96)

Floyd L. Jennings, Ph.D., departed the felicity of this life on 4/21/2021. Born in 1940, he was, throughout his life, engaged in a perpetual quest for knowledge, entering undergraduate school at age 16, and earning a B.A. (1961) from McMurry University; a B.D. (1964) and S.T.M. (1969) from Southern Methodist University, the J.D. from The University of Houston in 1996, and the Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1972. At age 51, he began studying law having become interested both in health law and forensic evaluations. Quixotic in style, he was nonetheless caring as a clinical psychologist, thoughtful and ethical as an attorney, radical in his theology as a minister, and careful (though not prolific) as a writer. He was an immensely complicated and neurotic soul, driven to engage in many activities, studies, and work simultaneously. Sometimes distant and pompous in manner, he was also very tender-hearted and had a deep mischievous streak that surfaced unexpectedly. His interests were wide-ranging, and he delighted in switching from discussion of curricula for training attorneys as mental health specialists to a conversation about 16th-century Protestant reformers or the papacy in the 14th-century, to comment on means of tuning a Colt 45 pistol for optimum performance, or the efficacy of some new psychotropic drug, or the impact of some recent court decision on healthcare, or new case law regarding competency and sanity in Texas. Sometimes wrong, he was rarely without an opinion which he was not reticent to share. Dr. Jennings practiced clinical psychology in Houston since 1978; he was for many years a consultant for mental health agencies and a long-time adjunct faculty member in the Dept. of Psychiatry at UT Med School in Houston. In 2008 he accepted a position with the Office of County Court Administration, and in 2010 with the newly-formed Harris County Public Defender, dealing with the problems of the mentally ill in the criminal justice system which he said was his most challenging vocational experience. He was the author of some 50 publications. He was active in numerous professional organizations and past-President of both the Southwestern and Houston Group Psychotherapy Societies; and a fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association. He was also a retired United Methodist minister and served some fifty years in that capacity (being involved at a general church level with design of criteria for evaluation of clergy). As well, he examined clergy candidates for The Episcopal Diocese of Texas and served from 1982 to 2010 as a psychologist to the Harris County Sheriff’s Reserve. Dr. Jennings’ survivors include his wife of many years, Shirley who, he often said, tolerated his many eccentricities with grace; children, Sherry Scott of Houston, Glenn Jennings and wife Michelle of Austin, LeAnne Buffington and husband Matt of Tulsa, and Lynne Jennings of Cypress; grandchildren, Abby Reiners and husband Anthony, Taylor Castillo and husband Jesse, Tatum Buffington, and Sydney Davidson; and great-grandchildren, Titan Castillo, and Maverick Reiners. He loved life, enjoyed jeeping, sailing, skiing, and traveling; but much more than these, he loved his wife and children. Rarely critical he would but say with mild frustration, “I would prefer that you would…”. In recent years, interested in ethics and law, he lectured to mental health professionals; in addition to, inflicting some misery on his staff in the mental health division of the Harris County Public Defender’s Office. Services will be held at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer Rd., Houston, Texas 77027, at 11:00 a.m. on 6/12/2021; with Dr. Tom Pace, Dr. Charles Millikan, and Dr. Chappell Temple, pastors, officiating.

Ryan J. Rabalais (’14)

Ryan Jay Rabalais was 48 years of age when he passed on April 16th 2021 in Orange Beach, Alabama, after being struck by a vehicle. Ryan was born in Houston, Texas to his mother, Sharon Anita Wallace, and father, Thomas Ray Rabalais, on July 20th 1972. After graduating high school, Ryan served the US Navy for three years in his early adulthood. With a passion for higher education, Ryan would go on to graduate from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. After college, he found enjoyment in a career that allowed him to travel the United States as a licensed commercial truck driver. Ryan was an ardent follower of U.S. politics. In his spare time, Ryan was very imaginative and creative. He would make music, videos, and use other types of media to express himself. Ryan also gained an affinity for fishing, golfing, and the fine arts, including jazz. Ryan was a man very devoted to his friends and family. He was the type of person that would visit a friend after 25 years and act as if not a day had passed between them. Ryan was preceded in death by his mother, Sharon Anita Wallace, as well as both his maternal and paternal grandparents, Owen June Crawford and Doris Fay Crawford, and Bernard Ishmal Rabalais and Billie Jean Rabalais. He was also preceded in death by his biological maternal grandfather, James Hughie Horton. Ryan is survived by his two children, Paul Jacob Rabalais and Kathryn Rae Rabalais, his parents, Thomas Ray Rabalais and Tina Rabalais, his sister, Jeana Rae Handley, his stepbrother Christopher Warren Crochet, his girlfriend Julie Mackie, and many dear cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends.