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Jack Hopper '59 May 4, 2022 10:02 AM updated: May 4, 2022 10:06 AM

Dr. Jack R. Hopper
May 12, 1937 - April 11, 2022

Dr. Jack R. Hopper, 84, of Beaumont, died Monday, April 11, 2022. He was born May 12, 1937, in Highlands, to Rosa Mae Simmons and Bonnie Preston Hopper.

Jack was born and grew up in Highlands, Texas. He attended grade school in Highlands where his father was the principal. Jack became a Christian and was saved and baptized at an early age at First Baptist Church in Highlands. He attended Lee College in Baytown for the first two years of his college career. He later transferred to Texas A&M and married the love of his life, Marilyn Spears, in his Senior year in 1958.

Jack attended a long list of universities, beginning with Lee College in Baytown. He graduated from Texas A&M in 1959 and attended the University of Delaware, where he received his Master’s in Chemical Engineering.

Jack took a short break from academia and worked at Exxon (Humble Oil Baytown) where he started in 1959. He then attended LSU where he received his PhD in Chemical Engineering. When Texas A&M would play LSU in football, Jack would always say, “I can’t lose today!”

Jack began his career at Lamar University in 1969, becoming the Chemical Engineering Department head in 1974 and then the Dean of Engineering in 1999.

Jack created the College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board and started the first ever capital campaign, raising $150 million in endowments for Engineering.

Jack attended Redeemer Lutheran Church in Beaumont, Texas, where he served on many boards including the Board of Elders. He later joined his children at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Nederland.

Jack and Marilyn were married May 31, 1958. They were truly textbook Biblical examples of a Christian marriage! They loved each other for 64 years and were still in love till the day Jack passed. Jack would tell Marilyn until he drew his last breath, “Marilyn, I’ve loved you a long, long time!”

Jack truly modeled Jesus and showed all the Fruits of the Spirit! His patience is legendary. Of all of Jack’s achievements, the most significant would be his non-hesitancy to witness to everyone about his faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of his life.

Jack truly touched many lives throughout his professional and personal life. He was always genuinely interested in people. No matter where he was or with whom he was speaking, whether president of a corporation or university, a waiter, a doctor, a phlebotomist (and the last few years he saw a lot of these) he was genuinely interested in people. He would ask about their life, really listen to their response, and truly demonstrate genuine care and concern, sharing the love of Christ freely and joyfully.

Jack Rudd Hopper was loved by many and will be missed by many!

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn Hopper; children, Brad Hopper and wife, Moni, and Connie Weber and husband, Dan; grandchildren, Josh Matthews and wife, Kira; Maggie Hopper; and Holden Hopper; great-grandchildren, Jack and Luke Matthews; sister, Sue Campbell; sister-in-law, Beth Harris and husband, Chuck; along with numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family members.

He is preceded in death by his parents; parents-in-law, Myrtle and C.D. Spears; sister-in-law, Shirley Erwin; brothers-in-law, Clayton Spears and Ralph Spears.

A gathering for Dr. Hopper’s family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 13, 2022, at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 2711 Helena Avenue, Nederland. His funeral service will be at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, April 14, 2022, at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, with his graveside service to follow at 3:00 p.m. at Earthman Memory Gardens Cemetery, 8624 Garth Road, Baytown, under the direction of Broussard’s, 505 North 12th Street, Nederland.

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