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Alexander Massad

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Alexander Massad Obituary
Alexander Hamilton Massad passed away January 16, 2010, at the age of 86 and two weeks shy of his 60th wedding anniversary with his beloved wife and best friend, Delores Razook Massad. He died in his sleep at his home in Austin, Texas. He was raised in Oklahoma City and had many friends and family here.Alex was born July 10, 1923 in Drumright, Oklahoma. His parents, George and Bedyah Hamra Massad, had both immigrated to this country from Lebanon. They arrived as teenagers, without their parents. They met here and married in 1916. Alex and his four siblings were raised in Drumright and later Oklahoma City. He graduated from Classen High School in Oklahoma City in 1940.In the fall of 1940, Alex enrolled in the University of Oklahoma, where he majored in petroleum engineering. During summers, he worked in the oilfields for Kerr-McGee Corporation, Phillips Petroleum Company and Halliburton Company. Because of World War II, like many of his generation, he completed college on an accelerated basis, graduating in December 1943. He enlisted in the Navy, entered Midshipmen's School and was commissioned an Ensign. He was assigned to the USS Cross, a destroyer escort, as Assistant Chief Engineering Officer.The Cross sailed to the Pacific Theater, where its assignments included participating in the invasion of Iwo Jima in 1945. Near the end of the war, Alex was promoted to Lieutenant JG and Chief Engineering Officer of the Cross. He left active duty in April 1946 and remained in the Naval Reserves until 1956.In June 1946, he went to work for Magnolia Petroleum Company as a roughneck in Vanderbilt, Texas, and then several other small towns in Texas and Oklahoma. Magnolia, together with its successor Mobil Corporation, was to be his sole employer until he retired in 1986.In April 1949, he met the love of his life, Delores Jean Razook of Wichita, Kansas. They met at a dance organized by the Lebanese-American communities of Wichita and Oklahoma City. After a long distance courtship, in which he let her believe that he owned the various rental cars he drove to Wichita, they married on January 29, 1950. The wedding service was performed by Alex's father at St. Elijah's Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City, where he was the parish priest.Alex and Dee first "settled" in Wewoka, Oklahoma, where Alex worked as the District Engineer for Magnolia. Over the next 18 years, as Alex worked his way up in Magnolia and then Mobil in various engineering and managerial jobs, they were transferred nearly a dozen times. In addition to Wewoka, they lived in Drumright and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Houston, Midland and Victoria, Texas; Morgan City and Lafayette, Louisiana; and Darien, Connecticut (and twice each in three places). Along the way, they met and re-met many wonderful friends, many of whom worked for Mobil.In the fall of 1968, Alex was transferred back to Mobil's headquarters in New York City, and he and Dee moved back to Darien, where they would live for 18 years. After a few years, he was promoted to Executive Vice President of Mobil Corporation and President of its Worldwide Exploration and Production Division. He was a member of Mobil's board of directors from 1977 to 1986, as well as a director of Ingersoll Rand Corporation from 1982 to 1996 and Bangor Punta Corporation for several years.In his work for Mobil, Alex traveled all over the United States and to more than 60 foreign countries, often accompanied by Dee. His travels included leading Mobil's first delegation to the People's Republic of China in 1978. Among his proudest accomplishments for Mobil were the development of the Arun liquefied natural gas project in Indonesia and the exploration and development of the Statfjord field in the Norwegian North Sea, for which the King of Norway presented him the Commander Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. He was also closely involved in Mobil's high profile acquisition efforts in the turbulent 1980s, including its acquisition of Montgomery Ward. He then joked that he could tell his mother - who had always been skeptical of his many transfers and had urged him to abandon the oil business for the retail business - that he finally owned a store.In 1986, Alex retired from Mobil. He and Dee moved to Austin. Although they had not lived in Austin before - and though he was a Sooner! - they became active in the Austin community. In Austin, Alex served on the boards of Texas Commerce Bank-Austin, Seton Hospital, Shivers Cancer Center, the Lower Colorado River Authority, St. Stephens Episcopal School and the University of Texas College of Engineering. He was also on the boards of the College of Engineering of his alma mater the University of Oklahoma, the Sarkeys Energy Center and several smaller public and private corporations. He and Dee were also active supporters of the Austin Symphony and UT performing arts programs.Particularly during his years at Mobil, Alex was known for his hard work, perseverance and self-reliance. Those who worked for him knew that, while he demanded much of them, he demanded more of himself. His reputation earned him a spot on Fortune Magazine's first list of the 10 toughest bosses in America in 1980. Yet he was also known for his big smile, his twinkling eyes, his quick sense of humor and his ceaselessly optimistic outlook on all things. While dedicated to his work, Alex was devoted above all else to his immediate and extended families. He was a wonderful, involved father to his three children and grandfather to his eight grandchildren at all stages of their lives. He remained close to his parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and loved family reunions and other gatherings. He enjoyed time with family and friends on the tennis court, on the golf course and around the dinner table. He and Dee especially loved their time at the weekend farm they owned for many years near Mineola, Texas, and later their house at Horseshoe Bay, Texas. During his retirement years, he wrote a multi-volume family history several hundred pages long, which traces his and Dee's heritage back several generations and describes their lives and the lives of their parents, children and grandchildren.Alex was predeceased by his parents, the Very Reverend George and Bedyah Massad; his brother, Omar; and 19 brothers- and sisters-in-law. He is survived by his wife, Dee; his son, Steve Massad of Houston; and his daughters, Caroline, Sally and Maggi; his daughter, Alexis Massad Gleitman and her husband Jim Gleitman of Austin and their children, Jimmy, Robert and Rachel; his son, Tim Massad and his wife Charlotte Hart of Washington, DC and their children, Emil and Jayne; his brother, Mike Massad of Dallas; his sisters, Minerva Massad Cohlmia and Esther Massad Samara of Oklahoma City; his sisters-in-law, Jacque Massad of Oklahoma City, Ruth Razook Davis of Springfield, Missouri and Mary Razook Simon and her husband Mitchell of Clinton, Oklahoma; and 54 nieces, nephews and their spouses. He was also especially fond of his and Dee's housekeeper for 24 years, Edna Galindo, who was like another daughter to them. Family and friends are invited to attend a memorial service and celebration of Alex's life at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, January 30, 2010, at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 3201 Windsor Road, Austin, Texas, followed by a reception immediately after the service.In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in memory of Alex to Seton Hospital, 3501 Mills Ave., Austin, Texas 78731 or to Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 3201 Windsor Road, Austin, Texas 78763.Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home South Congress, 2620 S. Congress, Austin, TX 512/442-1446. You may view memorials at www.wcfish.com

Published in The Oklahoman on Jan. 19, 2010
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