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D: 2019-01-29
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D: 2019-02-03
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2602 South Houston Avenue
Humble, TX 77396
Phone: 281-441-2171
Fax: 281-441-1445
Louis Riekert
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Obituary for Louis Albert "Lou" Riekert

Louis Albert "Lou"  Riekert
Louis Albert Riekert—a remarkable man of kindness, intelligence, and faith—passed away on December 4, 2018 in Pasadena, Texas. He was a tremendous role model in how to create a rich life of integrity, friendships, and faith in Jesus Christ. His family will host visitation at Rosewood Funeral home in Pasadena on Sunday, December 9, from 4-6 p.m., and his life will be celebrated and remembered on Monday, December 10, at CT Church (9701 Almeda Genoa Road) at 10 a.m.

Lou was born in 1935 in Cincinnati, Ohio, into a family of German immigrants. He grew up there with his close friend and younger brother Bill. Lou and Bill showed a strong knack for mechanical things: flying model airplanes, figuring out how to motorize their bicycles, and as teenagers, how to repair and modify the cars of the day.

After high school, Lou earned a mechanical engineering degree from Ohio University; paying his tuition most semesters with the money he made cleaning a local church each weekend. After graduation, he worked briefly with General Electric, but soon took advantage of a downturn in his industry to return to Athens, Ohio, and get his master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Several of his engineering professors became personal friends with whom he would communicate regularly for decades.

He worked again for General Electric in Colorado and in Texas (including work contributing to the Apollo space flights), but he spent most of his career with Brown and Root, Inc., designing and supervising the construction of gas turbine power plants. He was internationally known and recognized in this field, serving at one point as chairman of the board of the International Gas Turbine Institute. He was a lifetime member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Lou was a devoted husband to LaVerne Nichols Riekert, his wife of 56 years. They met in Golden, Colorado, married in her hometown of Fort Worth, and settled in the Houston area in the 1960’s. Together they raised three children: John, Paul, and Elaine. He was a supportive and loving father, always making time to be in the audience for football games, volleyball games, and piano recitals. He later showed the same dedication and support to his daughters-in-law (Carole Conway Riekert and Catherine Graves), his son-in-law (Michael Burleson), and his grandchildren (Summerlin and Nicholas Riekert, and Kendal, Caleb, Marshall, and Elyssa Burleson). All his life, he continually reminded each of us that he loved us and that he was proud of us.

Lou and LaVerne were lifetime members of the Assembly of God church, and he served as deacon and trusted pillar of every church they attended. In Pasadena, they worshipped and served at First Assembly of God in the 1970’s, and then later at Central Assembly of God. Lou and LaVerne made some of their closest friends from those congregations, including Pastor Gary and Annese Chapin. In recent years, they attended CT Church with Pastor Don and Susan Nordin.

Throughout his life, Lou was a trusted advisor and an active participant in many areas of service to the church—planning, doing building maintenance, and on Sundays, helping to collect the offertory while LaVerne played on the piano. He made countless visits to hospitals and homes to give support to sick or needy members of the congregation.

Underneath our father’s quiet demeanor was great intelligence. He was a student of history, and he had an incredible ability to recall complex equations from mathematics, physics, and engineering—formulas he hadn’t seen or used for many decades. If not for the “entertainment” category (Lou didn’t care for fads or pop culture), he would have won every game of Trivial Pursuit that our family talked him into playing.

Lou had many hobbies, and those activities led to important friendships. He had a lifelong appreciation for well-built things—especially vintage cars—and he spent thousands of hours restoring and rebuilding them. He served in many roles in the Houston Model A Club, including several stints as the chapter president. He got great satisfaction from planning club activities, traveling with close friends, and driving one of the perfectly restored Fords as they made their way through farm roads that led to historic Texas sites and landmarks. On another club trip, he drove his Model A Roadster to the top of Pike’s Peak.

His interests later turned to flying, and he loved seeing the irrefutable truth of Bernouille’s equation manifest itself in sheet metal, rivets, rubber tires, bundles of wires, and the smell of gasoline. His Model A found itself in the company of the airplanes that Lou built himself. He loved spending time at his hangar, and he looked forward to his weekly breakfast with his pilot friends.

He had multiple friendships that were renewed each year as he revisited the springtime Pate Swap Meet in Fort Worth, and each summer when he flew the Sonex airplane he had built to the meeting of the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Our father had a gentle spirit, and he had a word of encouragement for almost everyone he would meet. He rarely had an unkind word to say about anyone or anything, with the exception of telephone solicitors, liberal politicians, and the metric system.

Our family would like to express our deep gratitude to our many friends who visited, called, and prayed for his well-being. Thanks go out to the physicians and nurses who gave him excellent care in the last eighteen months. Special thanks to Dr. Mohummed Khani, and to Dr. Anish Meerasahib and the entire staff at the Deke Slayton Cancer center. Our family is grateful for your skill and expertise, but we are even more grateful for your kindness and your personal attention during this difficult time.

Most importantly, our father leaves a legacy of hard work, unwavering faith, and unimpeachable integrity. Not once in our lives did we ever see our father tell a lie, take advantage of a vulnerable person, keep anything of value that wasn’t his, or try to cheat someone in business. He had deep senses of honesty and justice, and he modeled these behaviors to us every day of his life. We will be forever grateful to him for that gift.
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