John Arch McGill peacefully departed this life on October 29, 2022, at home in Houston, Texas.
He was born August 2, 1923 in Okolona, Arkansas, first-born child of Archibald McGill and Florie Elvira Peters McGill.
Preceding him in death was his wife of 74 years, Cornelia Roberta Mellard McGill during the 2021 COVID-2 pandemic; his sister, Jean Ann McGill; and brother, Robert Lee McGill.
He is survived by his sister-in-law, Frances Clark McGill of Little Rock; his children, John Robert McGill (wife Grace) of Alva, Florida, Marci Lynn McGill Alvis (husband Steve) of Houston, Texas, and Jan Marie McGill Elmore (husband Alfred Leon “Chip” Miller, III) of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas. John McGill (Papaw) has seven grandchildren, Brad Elmore (wife Rebecca) of Houston, Texas, Russell Elmore (wife Ann Clark) of Houston, Texas, Jill Kraft (husband John Rix “JR”) of Austin, Texas, John Thomas Elmore of Austin, Texas, Austin Alvis (wife Holly) of Houston, Texas, Andrew Alvis (wife Paige) of Houston, Texas and Londell Aberdeen of Portland, Oregon. He has 17 great-grandchildren.
John joined the Army Air Corps following his graduation from Okolona High School in 1942 during World War II. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and following the war was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve. John attended Henderson State College in Arkadelphia, where he met his sweetheart, Cornelia (Connie) Mellard. He always said “it was love at first sight!” After transferring to The University of Texas at Austin Connie and John were married in 1946. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1949 while on the GI bill. Following a brief stint with Union Carbide at Port Lavaca, Texas, he began a long-term employment relationship with E. I du Pont de Nemours beginning in Orange, Texas. He worked for du Pont in the following cities: Orange, Texas, Victoria, Texas, Wilmington, Delaware and Old Hickory Lake, Tennessee. Hendersonville, Tennessee was one of his favorite locations where he and Connie enjoyed lakeside living and opening their home for weekly Bible studies.
During the 1960’s he and Connie raised their three children on an 18-acre ranchette in Victoria. As an expert carpenter, he built a red barn complete with hay loft, sheds, and crossed fenced the property for the cows and horses. Weekends found him in his workshop or on his Ford 8N tractor. He enjoyed the annual deer hunting season while in Victoria. At the age of 55 he completed his life long dream of becoming a pilot and purchased a Piper Cherokee!
As a prolific inventor, he was awarded a United States Patent on an airless wheel/tire design (US Patent No. 10,889,148) when he was 97 years old! His hobbies and talents included: quality furniture and toy making, creative metal sculpting, folk art painting, writing poetry, imaginative storytelling, innovative designs (roller blades) and the world’s first three-wheeler (Mustang Power Sulky) constructed in 1959 in Victoria, Texas in his garage. He also restored an Army Jeep to add to his list of many accomplishments. He could literally fix anything! John was a very industrious, creative and intelligent man.
John McGill was avid UT Longhorn, Dallas Cowboys, and Houston Texans football fan. He was a Methodist Sunday School teacher, an Official Board member of the local Methodist church involved with youth ministries. He was an honorable man of integrity to his children and grandchildren and will be greatly missed by all those who loved him.
The family requests, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Gideons International for the distribution of Bibles. John McGill was a long-time member of the Gideons.
There will be a memorial service celebrating his 99 years of life for his 100th birthday at the Houston Oaks Country Club Chapel. Burial will be in the McGill family plot in the Dobyville Cemetery at Okolona with full military honors on November 7, 2022, at 2 p.m.