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 love 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.

Download Program

Gathering of Family and Friends

Holy Cross Lutheran Church
  • 2711, Helena Ave, Nederland, TX, 77627,
  • April 13, 2022
  • 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Funeral Service

Holy Cross Lutheran Church
  • 2711, Helena Ave, Nederland, TX, 77627,
  • April 14, 2022
  • 10:00 am

Graveside Service

Earthman Memory Gardens Cemetery
  • 8624, Garth Road, Baytown, Texas, 77521,
  • April 14, 2022
  • 3:00 pm

Comments (31)

    Becky & Rodney Ames says:

    Had the opportunity to work with Dr. Hopper on a few projects, first class person.

    Thoughts are with the family.

    Andrew Green says:

    “The Jack Hopper Smile”. We will soon get another dean, but I don’t think we will ever get another dean with the Jack Hopper smile. Of the many times I visited Dr. Hopper, there was always the Jack Hopper smile to welcome me into his office. No matter what the issue might be, you knew the outcome would be addressed properly with positive results. Jack will be missed.

    Dean Parker says:

    I graduated from Lamar University in Chemical engineering in 1986. When I think about the blessings in my life that have resulted from my education, I have to give credit to Dr. Hopper for a major part in that. He helped me with a scholarship entering as a freshman and was helpful to me all along the way. I remember what a great listener he was and his genuine care for his students. What a kind man he was and I am grateful to have known him. No doubt he was man who positively affected the lives of many many people.

    Josef Hoffman says:

    I first met Dr. Hopper at the end of my tour of Lamar University my Senior year of High School. He was really inspirational and led the Engineering School to be what it is. I always remember how cheerful and genuinely excited he was to be doing whatever he was doing.
    Thank you Dr. Hopper and thank you to his family for sharing him with all the students of Lamar Engineering.

    Keith Blizzard says:

    Dr. Hopper was my Dean in Chemical Engineering and was a great professor ,counselor, and mentor to me personally as I went through the program. His sincere interest in the student shined through as he interacted cheerfully with the student body throughout each day in a way that students felt a part of something bigger. His encouragement and sponsorship to me in the co-op program made my five years there tremendously valuable and enjoyable. Dr, Hopper was one great man and he will be sorely missed .

    Anita Riddle says:

    Dr. Hopper was my graduate project advisor and mentor at Lamar University. He gave me pep talks and technical advice that gave me the confidence and direction to contribute in new ways to the field of chemical engineering. His smile, sense of humor, and genuine care for students established a welcoming atmosphere for the all in the engineering department.

    Many thanks to the family and Broussard’s for beautiful services. The family stories brought tears to my eyes.

    Diane Falb says:

    Dr. Hopper was a very kind and caring man, and I will remember him from my working at Lamar. He would always take time out of his busy day to say hello. My deepest sympathy to his wife and family. May God comfort you all in the days ahead.

    Lois Simmons Ferrell says:

    I worshipped with the Hopper family at Redeemer Lutheran Church many years ago; in fact, I sang in the choir with both Dr. and Mrs. Hopper for several years. They are both lovely people, and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to get to know both of them.
    RIP, Dr. Hopper, you are richly deserving of your eternal rest.

    Donna Blaisdell says:

    I am so sorry to learn of Dr. Hopper’s death. I admired him and always enjoyed speaking with him. He was always smiling and always spoke to you.. I know he has undoubtedly touched and influenced many lives. He will be missed. My prayers and thoughts go to his family, friends, and colleagues.

    Jennifer Gearinger Orr says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with the Hopper family and friends. ✝

    John Harvill says:

    Dr. Hopper was a very good friend and Dean. I feel fortunate to have known and worked with Jack. He will be missed.

    John Harvill says:

    Jack was a good friend and Dean. He was always looking for ways to improve whatever he was working on. I feel fortunate to have known and worked with Dr. Hopper.

    Robin Strother says:

    Dr. Hopper was such an influence in my and many other Chemical Engineers while attending Lamar University! Prayers for him and his family. I wouldn’t be the person I am today had it not been for the teachings of Dr. Hopper!

    Jon curless says:

    I went to work for Jack Hopper in the Gulf Coast Hazardous Substance Research Center after I retired from Entergy ( GSU ). He was a thoughtful man who had a vision for the future. Under his guidance we planned and organized 5 additional Research Centers and secured research funding for many professors and engineering students. A great man for Lamar University.

    Dennis Guidry says:

    Dr. Hopper changed my life. PERIOD! He believed in me and granted me the opportunity to prove my abilities. I would not be the man I am today without Dr. Hopper’s grace, mercy, and understanding.

    Kim Wiley says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Dr. Hopper was one of the best bosses that I ever had. He was always kind, patient and understanding. And he transformed the College of Engineering into what it is today.

    Eternal rest grant him, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon him.
    May the souls of all the faithful departed,
    through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

    Kim Wiley says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Dr. Hopper was one of the best bosses that I ever had. He was always kind, patient and understanding. And he transformed the College of Engineering into what it is today. Eternal rest grant him, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon him.
    May the souls of all the faithful departed,
    through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

    victor zaloom says:

    Jack, was the first person I met at Lamar. He took me to dinner the night before I interviewed for the position of Professor and Chair of Industrial Engineering and Director Engineering Graduate Programs. He and Marilyn have been wonderful friends over the many years. My deepest condolences to Marilyn, Connie, Brad, and his entire family. Pat and I feel a great loss of a wonderful person in our lives.

    Donna Pitman says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I can only imagine that he was an amazing person as I have come to love his precious daughter, Connie Weber. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your dear family.

    Rebecca Woodland says:

    I’m so sorry to learn of Dr. Hopper’s passing. He was my mentor and sponsor into the South Park Rotary Club, now Spindletop Rotary Club of Beaumont. He was always smiling and of good cheer whenever we would meet. Plus we shared love of our alma mater – LSU and our love of Lamar University. Dr. Hopper was a wonderful leader of the LU Engineering Department for many years. He will be sorely missed by all in the Beaumont community. Sending my prayers for healing and support to all of Dr. Hopper’s family. With much sympathy, Rebecca Woodland

    M G says:

    One day at Lamar, I was at a very difficult situation and almost dropped school. As it happens, Dean Hopper had a meeting canceled and was able to meet with me unannounced. He listened attentively and in seconds, he made a phone call and wrote on a post it a note for the admin. He changed my life. I received the financial support to complete my engineering degree the following year. A year later, I received a fellowship to go to graduate school at a big ten school. I was awarded an MS and later a PhD. Fast forward to now, I am a professor at a university. I will always remember his kindness and continue follow his example to provide opportunities to my students and everyone I encounter. Thank you Dean Hopper. May you Rest In Peace 🙏🏼

    Jeffery A. Gray says:

    Dr. Jack Hopper was one of the finest university chemical engineering educators in the world. A really wonderful and kind person. He was a big help in getting my career in engineering launched. I will always have cherished memories of Dr. Hopper and my time spent at Lamar University as his student.

    Dan Harris says:

    Dr. Hopper was a wonderful, encouraging and trusted advisor to me from 1982-1987 as I navigated through my MSChE after earning a BS in ME. He was also an excellent professor. After graduating I contacted him many times for references on Lamar Engineering graduates before I hired them. In addition to his technical intelligence and teaching skills, he was a rock solid man of character. The world needs more Dr. Jack Hoppers.

    Medrick Bo & Andre Lee says:

    The Lee family are keeping the hopper family in our daily prayers.

    Kuyen and Sherry Li says:

    We will miss Jack, a kind, sincere, and humorous man. May the consolations of our Lord are with his family members.

    Shannon Garrod says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Dr. Hopper’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with all his family, friends and fellow Rotarians.

    God bless,
    Shannon Garrod

    Harley Myler says:

    Very sad news, Jack hired me at LU in 2001 and was a tremendous mentor. He was loved by faculty and alumni alike. He will be missed.

    Steve Doblin says:

    Jack was an outstanding academic administrator, a tremendously hard worker, and a man of honor. I worked with him for 14 yers at Lamar University, and enjoyed every minute of it.

    Sharon Jones says:

    Dr. Hopper touched the lives of an endless number of people and will be so very sadly missed. He was extra special to me and I could fill a page with words to honor him. My heart full of sympathy goes out to Marilyn and his precious family. May the Lord give you peace and comfort in the years ahead.


    Dr. Hopper was one of the finest men I have ever known. His contributions to the success and prestige of the College of Engineering at Lamar University were innumerable. Highly intelligent, personable and kind… he had it all. Rest In Peace, Dr. Hopper. You will be missed.

    Brian Craig says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Dr. Hopper’s passing is a huge loss to the Lamar University family. Dr. Hopper was loved at LU and served as a distinguished LOCOE Chemical Engineering faculty member, Department Chair and Dean of the Lamar University College of Engineering, along with other leadership roles. He was a teacher, colleague, friend, mentor and leader to 1000s and was the consummate gentleman.

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