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Amond Douglas Brownlow
Early on the morning of Wednesday, July 11, 2012, Amond Douglas Brownlow (most knew him as Doug or Douglas), passed away. His wife Edna (formerly Edna Johns) of more than 55 years was holding his hand as he began his second great journey. His first journey began with his birth in Floresville, Texas, on Sept. 2, 1934, to parents Amond and Theresa (formerly Theresa Ball of Elmendorf) Brownlow. He was their only child.
Douglas grew up in the small community of Saspamco, where his mother was a schoolteacher and postmaster and his father worked for the pipe manufacturing company which forms the name Saspamco (San Antonio Sewer Pipe and Manufacturing Company). Living in the “company house,” which doubled as the post office, times were challenging for everyone as the family weathered the Great Depression and World War II. The banks of the San Antonio River and Calaveras Creek were Doug’s playground. His closest friends included several of the Johns boys (Francis and Lester), Joe Lydell Tackitt Jr., and Travis Mumme (currently of Taft). Tragically, in 1948, when Douglas was just 14 years old, a car accident in San Antonio claimed his mother Theresa and gravely injured his father Amond. During the recovery of his father, Douglas moved to Floresville, where he lived with his aunt, and at the age of 15, graduated from Floresville High School in 1950.
After graduation, being so young, his father felt Doug would benefit from a few years at a small local college before heading off to a university. He enrolled Doug in Schreiner Institute in Kerrville (now Schreiner College). In 1952, having just turned 18, Doug was off to Texas A&I in Kingsville. In May of 1956, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering.
It was during the weekend trips home from both Kerrville and Kingsville that Douglas met the love of his life, Edna Johns. Edna was the youngest daughter of Bruno and Edith Johns and younger sister to Doug’s best friends, Lester and Francis. Shortly after Doug’s graduation from A&I, he and Edna were married on June 22, 1957, in St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Elmendorf.
The young couple’s first house was in Riviera, on the banks of Baffin Bay, just south of Kingsville. Doug worked as an engineer for a chemical company, producing sea salt from the highly saline waters of Baffin Bay. In 1958, Doug and Edna packed up and moved to Houston, where Doug worked for Dixie Chemical Company. Shortly thereafter, their first son, Jeffrey, was born. Their second son, Mark, followed in 1959.
Late 1960 found the family of four moving from Houston to Bartlesville, Okla., where Doug worked as an engineer for the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Two more Brownlow boys were introduced to the world, Kevin in 1962, and Darrell in 1964. While Oklahoma had certainly been good to the young family, their hearts were back in Texas. Doug’s in-laws (Bruno and Edith Johns) also wanted their daughter and new grandkids home, so as an incentive, they agreed to sell to Doug and Edna a small tract of sand-covered land on the edge of a peanut field along U.S. 181 in northern Wilson County.
In 1965, when an engineering position opened up in San Antonio at Southwest Research Institute (SWRI), the family of six began planning their return. While living temporarily in a small home in San Antonio near the institute, Doug and Edna contracted a home builder and water well driller, and by 1968 their four boys had a new home and a back yard where they could hunt and fish to their hearts’ content. In early 1969, as a “housewarming” present, Edna gave Doug his fifth and final son, Collen.
It is remarkable to think that in just slightly over 20 years, young Douglas, an only child, who had nearly been orphaned, was now the father of five boys. Just as remarkable was how the situation had changed for Doug’s father Amond, who now had five grandsons.
Doug worked for Southwest Research Institute for nearly 30 years, retiring in 1996. He accomplished many things and had many professional successes. He developed expertise in the field of automotive engines, fuels, and lubricants technology. He traveled across the world to oversee engineering projects and perform research, and along the way he developed many friendships. He participated in and was actively involved in many local organizations, including the Wilson County Republican Party, the Texas Farm Bureau, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, and for several years was Gov. George W. Bush’s appointee to the Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District. His accomplishments are many and the details could fill volumes. However, here are the most important ones:
He was kind and forgiving. He was gentle and polite. He was courteous to women and respectful to men. He did not see color. He did not measure people by their wealth or lack thereof. He was selfless and would give the proverbial “shirt off his back” to help someone in need, and he did many times. He was passionate in his beliefs but measured in his actions. He loved his dad and his mom. He believed in God and supported his church.
Like his own dad, he sacrificed much to make sure his boys had every opportunity and he was always there for them. He taught his sons how to work cattle and build fence at their ranch in Millet, as well as how to hunt and shoot guns. He especially loved saltwater fishing and instilled that same love for the sea in all of his boys. He also loved his blue heeler dogs. As much as actually doing things, he loved equally writing about all the things he did. But more than anything, he loved his wife.
Doug is survived by his wife, Edna; their five sons, Jeffrey Douglas, Amond Mark, Kevin Wayne, Darrell Travis, and Collen James; three daughters-in-law: Jane, Brooke, and Patty Brownlow; two grandsons, Joshua and Dustin Brownlow; four granddaughters, Sarah, Devon, Kendra, and Jordan Brownlow; one great-granddaughter, Samantha Olah; one stepgranddaughter, Jordan Fusilier; and one stepgrandson, Zachary Rhodes.
The family is deeply appreciative of all those who supported Doug and his family by providing flowers, prayers, well wishes, and hugs during this challenging time.
A rosary was held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 12, in the Vinyard Funeral Home in Floresville.
A funeral Mass was held Friday at 9 a.m. in St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Elmendorf, with the Rev. Patrick O’Connor and Deacon Jack Miller officiating.
Interment followed in St. Anthony’s Cemetery in Elmendorf.
Serving as pallbearers were Bucky Ball, Travis Mumme, Joshua Brownlow, Dustin Brownlow, Zachary Rhodes, and Keith Brownlow.
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