Clyde Willbern Obituary
Clyde Elton Willbern, passed away on August 5, 2011, in Fort Worth, Texas.Service: A memorial service was held on Friday, September 16, at 3:00 PM at Southwest Central Church of Christ, 4011 W. Bellfort, Houston.Memorials: Contributions in his honor may be made to the Willbern Family Scholarship at Texas State University, the Houston Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Foundation, or HRDF in Houston.Mr. Willbern was born in Runge, Texas, on July 28, 1919, to Dr. David York Willbern and Berta Young Willbern. After graduation as valedictorian from Runge High School, Mr. Willbern attended Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University) where he met his future wife, Helen Young. Following a brief stint teaching high school and immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the US Navy.
Mr. Willbern served in the Pacific theater nearly three years, spent a year in post-graduate work at the US Naval Academy, where he married Helen, and was later discharged with the rank of lieutenant. After the war, Clyde attended the University of Texas Law School on the GI Bill; he served as Quiz Master, wrote for the Texas Law Review, was president of the graduating Class of 1948, and was a member of Phi Delta Phi.
Mr. Willbern was a corporate lawyer in the oil and gas industry, employed for most of his working years by Getty Oil (formerly Tidewater Oil), first as a staff attorney, then rising to Associate General Counsel and then to Manager of Administration, Southern Division. He retired in 1982. He served on the board of the Petroleum Club of Houston, was a Bible scholar, and for over 35 years taught adult Sunday school classes at Southwest Central Church of Christ in Houston.
After retirement, Mr. Willbern and his wife traveled extensively and remained extremely active in their community of Bellaire, where he served as chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, of the Advisory Board for the Bellaire Office on Aging, and of the Bellaire/Southwest Houston Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber named him "Mr. Bellaire" in 1986. Mr. Willbern was involved in many charitable organizations, including the Braes Interfaith Ministries, the Hospitality Apartments-HRDF, and the Scholarship Foundation of the Bellaire/Southwest Houston Chamber of Commerce. In 1994 Texas State University honored Mr. Willbern with the Distinguished Alumni award, an honor he shared with both his older brothers.
After the death of his beloved wife, Helen, Mr. Willbern was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He spent the last years of his life in Fort Worth near his daughter, Margaret. As the years of Alzheimer's disease dimmed his senses, he remained a man of character and determination, with a sparkle in his eyes and a smile for his caregivers.
He was preceded in death by, Helen Young Willbern, wife of 52 years; brothers, York Willbern and Roy Willbern; and sister, Drucilla Willbern Marshall.
Survivors: His daughter, Margaret, and her husband, James B. DeMoss, of Fort Worth; two grandchildren, Megan DeMoss and husband Clayton Whisnant of Spartanburg SC, and Jeffrey DeMoss and wife Jessica of Austin; five great-grandchildren; five nieces; and numerous special friends in Bellaire and Houston.