HOUSTON, Texas — Eleanor May Glass Humphreys was born March 4, 1928, in Muskingum County, Ohio, where her father worked for the Pure Oil Co. She had been a resident of Houston, Texas, for 40 years.
Eleanor is survived by husband, Robert H. Humphreys; daughter, Janis Gibbs, and husband, Larry, of Mount Vernon, Ohio; granddaughter, Jenna Hayes, and great-granddaughter, Eleanor “Ella,” of Marysville, Ohio; grandson, Judson Hayes of Columbus, Ohio; daughter, Deborah Humphreys of Houston; son Robert H.B. Humphreys, and wife, Jill, grandson Robert H.B. Jr., and granddaughter, Amy, and husband, Kenny Scobee, and his son, Dutch; and son, Richard W. Humphreys, and wife, Cindy, grandson, William A., and granddaughter, Elizabeth, all of Houston.
Eleanor was preceded in death by her first grandchild, Charlie Hayes, 19, who died Dec. 5, 1989, at the Cleveland Clinic after his first year in college on a baseball scholarship. It was a tragic, heartbreaking time. Starting at age 1, Charlie had spent one month each summer with his grandparents. Eleanor pitched baseballs to Charlie for hours on end.
Eleanor’s journey through life was full of happiness. She had her first date with future husband, Robert Harvey Humphreys, in early February 1946. Robert had been discharged from the U.S. Army Air Force Cadet Program in November 1945, and was working for his dad at Cooper-Bessemer building 60-ton integral engine compressors on an assembly line.
Bob recalls, having seen her at an earlier function and learned her name, that he told Eleanor on their first date that he was going to marry her. She was the most beautiful girl in the county, Bob said. Bob was in the front row at Eleanor’s high school graduation in Bladensburg, Ohio.
Because Bob and Eleanor were not of legal age to be married, their parents — Robert Buxton Humphreys and Marie C. Kildoo Humphreys and Robert Curtis Glass and Frances Laura Orr Glass — had to go to the Knox County Courthouse to sign marriage consent forms. The young couple was married Oct. 11, 1946, at the Gay Street Methodist Church in Mount Vernon, Ohio, while Bob was attending Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, on the G.I. Bill.
This was the beginning of more than 65 years of wonderful happiness and adventure together. In August 1947, Bob was persuaded by Cooper management to help field service with development of a new compressor being installed on a major natural gas pipeline in Liberal, Kan. Bob left immediately for Liberal and later Eleanor followed with Janis, their 1-month-old daughter, for a four-month stay.
In 1948, Tulsa, Okla., hosted their largest International Petroleum Exposition which drew 300,000 visitors during eight days. Cooper-Bessemer exhibited the new 116-ton GMW-10 engine compressor operating on diesel fuel, which was the star attraction of the show. This was an opportune experience for a young couple.
In January 1948, Bob accepted an assignment to Tulsa, then considered the oil capital of the world, as a field service engine erector. Eleanor and young daughter, Janis, traveled with him to many oil and gas locations. With the arrival of daughter, Debby, early in 1950 and son, Bob, in July 1951, a portable baby bed was carried along as the family’s travels continued. The winter of 1951 was spent in a furnished apartment in the Elk City, Okla., oil field.
After installing and commissioning many units and attending night school at Tulsa University, Bob worked into unit sales engineering.
Eleanor modeled dress fashions at the 1953 Tulsa All-State Shrine Ceremonial where Bob was active in the Akdar Shrine.
In 1954, Bob was responsible for sales to major oil companies and gas transmission companies. Eleanor was beautiful with a winning smile, laugh and friendly personality. She never spoke ill of others and was an outstanding diplomat with major customers whose wives adored her and invited us into their homes as we welcomed them into ours. Everyone enjoyed laughter when they were with Eleanor during company functions and travels. These associations established lifetime friends.
In the mid-1950s, Oklahoma was still a dry state. Membership in the early Tulsa Petroleum Club provided enjoyable stories with customers and friends at lunches, dinners and dancing.
Eleanor was an avid reader and studied the Bible and related books, including Eerdman’s Bible Commentary, Unger’s Bible Dictionaries, Thompson’s Chain-Reference Bible, Catherine Marshall’s books and many others. She was always active in churches in each city where they lived and in town hall speaker selections.
As a housewife, Eleanor made it clear she would serve on the PTA and other school functions two years for each of the couple’s four children, which now included two daughters and two sons. While Bob traveled on business, Eleanor often served as a coach in his absence and made sure the boys got to their baseball games and the girls to dance lessons and meetings of the Brownies and Camp Fire Girls. A creative seamstress, she made clothes for the children. Always athletic, she would win when neighborhood children challenged her to foot races. Eleanor also worked in uniform as a volunteer at the new St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Meals on Wheels and for other charitable needs.
Eleanor was a proficient water skier who skied often with a group of friends, and in 1957, the family purchased shoreline acreage on Grand Lake of the Cherokees. The Tulsa newspaper published a full-page feature on the group’s acrobatics. The Tulsa Chamber of Commerce displayed a life-size photo in their entry hall of Eleanor and five other women, each on one ski, side by side with flags.
In the early 1950s, Bob became active in the Gas Processors Suppliers Association and later was president. Eleanor and Bob hosted many functions. They were active in the Southern and American Gas Associations and Society of Petroleum Engineers, traveling to yearly meetings with customer friends. In Tulsa, son Richard was born in May 1956.
In 1958, Eleanor and Bob were friends of the Floyd Stanley family. Stan promoted and built the Florida Gas Transmission pipeline from the valley of Texas to Miami. Eleanor and Bob attended the pipeline dedication in Jacksonville, Fla., representing Cooper-Bessemer.
In 1964, Eleanor was a Goldwater Girl in Tulsa and with a friend distributed the presidential candidate’s literature statewide. Eleanor and Bob were delegates to the Republican State Convention. They traveled with their children to Washington, D.C., and all six were guests of their congressman, Page Belcher, in the congressional dining room. Oklahoma was one of two states that Sen. Barry Goldwater carried, along with his native state Arizona.
In February 1965, Bob became manager of the Gulf Coast area in New Orleans and offshore business was booming. He and Eleanor enjoyed Mardi Gras and other festivities with their new oil and gas company friends and rode out Hurricane Betsy in their lakeside home with three of the children.
Following the hurricane, Bob and Eleanor hosted the Cooper Industries Board of Directors meeting. At dinner Bob sat beside Gen. Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan Project and a board member.
In March 1966, Bob was named worldwide manager of gas and oil production sales activities. Eleanor, Bob and the three children moved to Mount Vernon, Ohio, still the home office for Cooper Industries. Returning home was a blessing because Eleanor’s and Bob’s parents were still in good health. Eleanor managed the home front while Bob traveled to most of the foreign and domestic locations producing oil and gas.
In Mount Vernon, Eleanor hosted many business customers, associates and wives from Kuwait, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and the Soviet Union. A small Soviet delegation visited Mount Vernon, accompanied by one KGB watchdog, for two weeks. On one dinner occasion Eleanor gave an appropriate subtle impromptu speech. There were some interesting conversations as well as the exchange of minor gifts made in each of the countries. On another occasion Bob and Eleanor hosted 20 engineers and one wife from Iran for six weeks.
Through all of this Eleanor, having never played golf, still found time to win the third flight Mount Vernon Country Club and Knox County golf championships and taught junior golf. She also enjoyed many friends in the Old Homestead Club and Psi Iota Xi Sorority helping those in need.
In January 1972, Cooper reorganized their marketing and Eleanor and Bob moved to Houston with their youngest child, Richard, 15, where Bob was Regional Director, including South America. They joined the local John Wesley United Methodist Church and were active early supporters of the church. Two other children, Bob Jr. and Debby, followed them to Houston later.
Bob and Eleanor became members of the Houston Petroleum Club and moved into the Champions housing development where they joined the Champions Golf Club. Eleanor, starting in Tulsa, was an excellent bridge player and enjoyed it further in their new locations. The couple developed new friendships, arranged social events and continued travels to oil and gas professional organizations’ yearly meetings. It was impractical for Eleanor to travel to the Middle East in the 1960s; however, her travel to South America was very helpful and enjoyable.
Although they had no past experience in Mexico, Bob and Eleanor were asked by Cooper’s president late in 1977 to assist on a Pemex major gas pipeline to the U.S. Many successes followed and Bob formed a Mexican joint venture, Servicios Energticos Cooper S.A. With the business growth Eleanor and Bob were asked to move to Mexico City, where Bob served as vice president and general manager. The move was made in March 1980, while maintaining their home and an office in Houston. The joint Venture grew with some manufacturing and was profitable through tough times. Eleanor learned Spanish and hosted many functions. She was active in the church and made many new friends.
Bob presented two papers to the World Trade Institute seminars in Houston on Mexico: Opportunities and Obstacles. In March 1985, Eleanor and Bob moved back to Houston where Bob managed operations in Mexico and South America. Eleanor continued to travel with Bob and help with foreign customers and associates.
In the late 1980s, Bob formulated a contract and formed a company in Maracaibo that built in Venezuela and installed seven 35,000 horsepower, 820-ton Cooper-Rolls gas turbine centrifugal compressor structures for offshore Lake Maracaibo. Eleanor traveled some and managed the home front and social functions.
Eleanor and Bob retired in 1992 and drove their diesel motor coach 97,000 miles, mostly in the western states, while towing a 4-wheel-drive Jeep Grand Cherokee. Using maps they tackled many tough Jeep trails.
For nine years Bob wrote a monthly column, Tech Notes on diesel motor coaches, for the Large American Coach Owners Association. Being in this club Bob and Eleanor made many new friends and they enjoyed dancing at rallies held at interesting locations. Eleanor was a versatile dancer. On occasions when the group visited Tin Hall in Houston they depended on her to lead line dancing to “Cotton Eye Joe.”
After more than 40 years of annual physicals, dedicated gymnastics, speed walking, diet foods and vitamins, Eleanor was still petite and beautiful.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests that donations be made to John Wesley United Methodist Church, 5830 Bermuda Dunes, Houston, TX, 77069 http://www.jwumc.org.
The family will remember the outstanding care given to Eleanor by the staff of the Medical Center Methodist Hospital in the Jones Tower and doctors from the Medical Clinic of Houston.
Funeral services will be held today, July 17, 2012, at 2 p.m. at the Klein Funeral Home, 16131 Champion Forest Drive, Spring, TX 77379 (281-320-2674). Interment will follow at Klein Memorial Park FM 2920.Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.