A loving family man, talented artist, and devoted follower of Christ, Harry Gladstone Congdon, passed away Thursday morning, the 10th of July 2014. Born on the 22nd of March 1921, in Zion, Illinois, Harry worked hard at an early age to help support his mother Alta and younger brother Clyde. Harry discovered a passion for art while working on ad copy for a Chicago department store and soon enrolled at the American Academy of Art.
erupted, Harry joined the Army
Air Corp with dreams of being a pilot. The Air Corp had other ideas, discovering his creative talents and appointing him Art Director of the military publication Log of Navigation. Working on the Log brought Harry to Texas where he met his true love on a blind date: Maidee Jane Dixon. Janie, a strong, intelligent, outgoing Southern belle who Harry repeatedly confessed was out of his league, brought out the best in the shy, sometimes taciturn soldier from Chicago, and the two quickly married.
After the war, the newlyweds sprouted a family in Houston. To support his family, Harry set aside his dream of being the next great American muralist to work as an art director for various ad agencies. Harry eventually used his experience and talents to start his own highly successful business of commercial illustration. Foremost among his many clients was the Sugar Creek Corporation.
One of Harry's favorite artistic accomplishments, however, had nothing to do with business and beckons those traveling down Greenbriar Drive: the splendid stained glass windows of Rice Temple Baptist Church where Harry and Janie were a vital part of the congregation for over 50 years. A labor of love for the church he dutifully served as deacon and Sunday school teacher, Harry took inspiration for the windows from Jesus' declaration that ""whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."" For Harry, these words brought to mind a favorite image: the sparkling waters of the Guadalupe River rolling through New Braunfels, Texas.
Harry painted countless scenes of the Guadalupe and Comal rivers over decades of family vacations every August. He loved New Braunfels and floating down the Comal with his many children and grandchildren, who he loved in his own cantankerous yet infinitely giving way. Harry is survived by his six children and their spouses: Jim Congdon and wife Mary, Dennis Congdon and wife Kim, Carey Cribbs, M.D. and husband Darrell, Alta and husband Martin Basaldua, M.D., David Congdon and wife Codysue, Clyde Congdon and wife Sharon. He was known as ""Grandaddy"" by his 17 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Harry is also survived by his younger brother Clyde Congdon, M.D. A creature of habit, Harry joyously started every morning with patient scriptural study, earnest prayer for everyone the Lord put in his life, every crossword puzzle he could find, and as much bacon and eggs as possible. He loved to take long walks around the neighborhood, read voraciously, play golf, and complain about the Astros. We will miss him beyond what words can convey.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from six until eight o'clock in the evening on Monday, the 14th of July, in the parlor and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
A funeral service is to be conducted at eleven o'clock in the morning on Tuesday, the 15th of July, at Rice Temple Baptist Church, 6409 Greenbriar in Houston, with Rev. Clint Reiff officiating.
A private interment will be held at Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery.
In lieu of customary remembrances, contributions may be directed to Rice Temple Baptist Church in memory of Harry and would be appreciated.
The family is also forever grateful for the loving care and support Harry received from the Hallmark community.