LANCASTER, James Garrard (Jim)|
James Garrard Lancaster (Jim), our loving father, passed away on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Jim was born in College Station, Texas on September 18, 1926 to Robert Roy and Helen Erma Douglass Lancaster, the third of five children. He grew up in College Station, Texas, where his father worked for the A&M Extension Service. He attended A&M Consolidated High School, which was located on the A&M campus at the time. In 1944, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corp, was first stationed at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin and then, following the end of World War II, served in the occupation forces at Furstenfeldbruck in Germany.
Following his military service, he returned to what was then called the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Texas A&M University) and earned his Bachelor's degree in Architectural Engineering in 1951. While attending A&M, Jim and his brothers were acknowledged in the Battalion, the school's newspaper, for having all 4 brothers and 1 brother-in-law attend A&M at the same time; his sister playing in the Texas A&M Orchestra, and father working for the school. After graduation, Jim moved to New Orleans, where he met his future wife, Rose Campbell. They were married on February 25, 1955 and moved to Austin, Texas shortly afterward. This year, 2013, marked their 58th wedding anniversary.
Jim and Rose had four children while living in Austin: Liz, Jim, David, and Doug. They lived in north Austin for the first 8 years of their marriage before they bought and moved into their current home near downtown Austin. Their combined family interests included family, camping, sailing, swimming, car trips, and the Church. Jim was committed to family gatherings and vacations which gave priority to the family. Sailing at Lake Travis was a weekly family occurrence, and camping trips in Big Bend National Park were a special event. Both Jim and Rose were avid swimmers and still have fellow swimmers who start off their day swimming laps at Barton Springs Pool.
Jim's individual interests included music, designing and constructing things with his hands, family history, architectural history, and helping others. Jim started playing the flute in high school and played throughout his life, including playing duets with his sister, a harpist, at various events. He also was a member of the church choir at Central Presbyterian Church (formerly First Southern Presbyterian Church) for over 30 years. Jim's interest in designing and constructing things involved laminating and curving wood and making anything out of concrete. Jim also spent many years building houses for Habitat for Humanity, and was a regular at the Church, working on maintenance projects and building things. His love/hate relationship with the 100-year old limestone historic house, where Jim and Rose raised their family and lived for 50 years, grew out of his interest in historic architecture and a desire for a lot of outdoor space. He was very proud of their house, with its incredible view of downtown Austin.
Jim donated over 15 gallons of blood to the Austin Blood Bank over the years. On December 13, 1983, Jim became a friend of Bill W. He started the Central group that meets at Central Presbyterian in downtown Austin at noon on weekdays and also met weekly with his friends at the Austin Resource Center of the Homeless (A.R.C.H) and the Del Valle Correctional Center. The family would like to thank those that he taught and that taught him to "keep it simple." He is saving a seat for us at the big meeting upstairs.
Jim's career included working for a short time with Acme Brick Company, 20 years with the Portland Cement Association, 2 years with the Texas A&M Extension service, and 15 years with the City of Austin Engineering Department.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Rose (May 2013), and two of his brothers, Doug and John. Jim will be dearly missed by his loving family-sister Cynthia Cooper, and brother Bill; daughter Liz (Kent Rockwell), and sons Jim (Nancy), David (Cella), and Doug (Lori); seven grandchildren Chad (Kayla), Kody (Leslie), Matt, Grant, Kate, Kyle, and Doug, Jr. (DJ), and one great-grandchild, Ava Claire.
A service to celebrate Jim's life will be held at one o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, December 14, 2013 at Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E. 8th Street, Austin, Texas. Immediately following, all are invited to a reception in the adjacent Smoot Hall. Parking is available either on the streets surrounding the church or in St. David's parking garage (entrance off of Trinity Street).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to either Central Presbyterian Church (http://cpcaustin.org/) or Habitat for Humanity (http://www.habitat.org/).
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Dec. 8 to Dec. 9, 2013