James Larry Potter
December 10, 1939 – August 19, 2019
James Larry Potter of Lake Jackson, TX passed from his earthly life to his eternal home Monday, August 19, 2019. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend.
Born on December 10th, 1939 to Edith Hazel Holt Potter, and James Fred Potter in Chattanooga, TN, he was the oldest of five children; Donald, Wayne, Joyce and Tommye.
Larry’s parents raised him to understand the value of hard work, and his first job was helping the family with daily chores such as bringing in the coal or firewood to heat their home and start the stove. Later, when he was 9, his cousin, Allen Snyder, convinced Edith and Fred that he should work with him as a caddy at a local golf course. To join the caddying ranks, the induction ceremony involved running through a belt line and jumping into Chickamauga Creek. This was a scary proposition for a 9 year old who hadn’t learned to swim yet, but Allen was there to catch him when he made that leap. Being a caddy became a starting point for his lifelong love of golf. Later he would become a great teacher to his son and grandsons, and enjoyed many rounds with close friends
In junior high, Larry took on a second job delivering newspapers. His boss, Arthur Tate, became a lifelong friend. Through Arthur’s encouragement, he graduated from Central High School in Chattanooga, and won Senator Estes Kefauver’s nomination to attend the Air Force Academy. God’s plan, however, had him earn his BA in Chemistry from the University of Chattanooga in 1962. His passion for learning and chemistry led him to earn his MS degree in chemistry under the tutelage of Dr. James C. Stallings at Sam Houston State University. He completed his dissertation through a Welch Foundation Grant. At Sam Houston, he didn’t rest on his laurels, earning his spending money by teaching a variety of chemistry labs and classes.
While at Sam Houston, Larry met the love of his life, Betty Engle. Their marriage on December 18th, 1965 would be a life-long partnership and gave them many years of happy memories to share together with their family and friends.
At this time, Larry was working for the Dow Chemical Company in the Organic Chemicals Department Over the next 30 years, he worked in several different departments, mainly in research and development. Larry’s work resulted in numerous patents. He also served as the Life is Fragile safety program leader, and as a hiring coordinator, mentoring many college graduates. He retired in December 1994 as a Research Manager.
In Larry’s own words, the best days of his life were as follows; his marriage to Betty 12/18/1965, the birth of his son, James Ryan on 10/18/1971, his grandsons, James Alexander, 9/28/1994, and Nicholas Ryan on 3/17/1999. The roles he valued most in life were as a Christian, husband, father, and grandfather.
Larry and Betty were very involved in their son’s life, raising him to be a child of faith. They taught Sunday school classes together and Larry worked as a coach on Ryan’s baseball and soccer teams, with Betty at his side often serving as team mom. He also spent several years working with Gerald Tiner as Assistant Den Leader for Ryan’s Cub Scout Pack. From junior high through college, he had an almost perfect attendance record at Ryan’s football games. The only game he missed was when he was snowbound on a business trip.
Larry grew up in the Bible belt at a time when prayer and Bible classes were taught in the public school system. This learning, coupled with church attendance at Eastdale Baptist gave him a lasting faith in his savior, Jesus Christ. In retirement, he continued to study the Bible, attending Men’s Bible Study Fellowship for 12 years, and 2 years with Community Bible Fellowship. He also would teach, along with other classmates in the Adult Roundtable Sunday School Class, and worked on a paint crew with Habitat for Humanity for many years.
In their golden years, Betty and Larry enjoyed golfing, playing bridge, watching the Astros, traveling with friends and family, and taking an active role in politics. Larry was known for his quiet and thoughtful demeanor, which made him good at solving problems both at work and at home.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Edith and Fred; and brother, Wayne.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 53 years, Betty Potter; son, Ryan and daughter-in-law Nicole; grandsons, Alex and Nicholas; brother, Don; sisters, Joyce Perry and Tommye Speitz; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and treasured friends.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Chapelwood UMC, 300 Willow Drive, Lake Jackson, TX on Monday, August 26th at 10:30 a.m. Interment will be at Earthman Resthaven, 13102 North Freeway, Houston at 3:00 p.m.
Memorials may be made in honor of Larry to: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN, 38105; Shriner’s Hospital for Children, Attn. Office of Development, 2900 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tampa FL, 33607; Habitat for Humanity, 12 Circle Way St, Lake Jackson, TX 77566; Chapelwood United Methodist Church, 300 Willow Drive, Lake Jackson TX 77566.