Thomas Kent Ledbetter, was born Dec. 13, 1934 in Waxahachie, Texas to Claude Thomas and Ella Ruth Ledbetter. He married Marcielle Follis of Houston, TX on Dec. 21, 1957, a day that marked the beginning of 63 years of a very happy marriage that produced three marvelous children. He entered heaven on April 29, 2021 at the age of 86 years.
Tom spent most of his early years in Houston and attended Lanier Junior High and then Lamar High School for short time until his family moved back to Waxahachie. He was very active in sports during his high school years, playing football, baseball, and basketball. During his senior year at Waxahachie High, he was captain of the football team and was awarded all-district honors at the defensive tackle position. He was named Vice President of his senior class and graduated with honors.
After high school, Tom attended the University of Texas, where he majored in Chemical Engineering. While there, he was inducted into two academic honorary societies: Phi Eta Sigma and Tau Beta Pi. He graduated with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering in 1958, marking the beginning of a 40-year career in the profession.
During the early years of his career, Tom worked for a variety of companies engaged in both production and engineering design. Among his most enjoyable years were the 19 he was employed by S&B Engineers, where he served as process manager on a number of significant projects. He finished his career with Litwin-Raytheon, where he was employed as part of a team charged with building a polymers and chemicals business for the company. He retired in 1999 as Technical Director, Polymers and Chemicals.
During the 1960s, Tom developed an interest in biblical theology. As a result, he enrolled in several courses at the Harding Graduate School of Religion and later at Fuller Theological Seminary. This led to missionary work in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he and his family spent two years.
After retirement, Tom set aside a period each morning for reading. Initially, the reading material was almost exclusively concerned with theological studies, but he later added literature, fictional and non-fictional, to his schedule. As a result of his reading activities, he decided to try his hand at writing. He proceeded on the basis that any subject could be simplified. His initial attempt was a series of lessons entitled “Chemical Engineering Simplified.” Simplification of technical matters proved to be a more difficult task than he anticipated. This led to a similar approach for a variety of theological studies, where the idea of simplification proved to be more applicable.
Tom lived for short periods in California, Alabama, and Brazil, but most of his life was spent in Texas. He lived 20 years (from 1971 to 1991) in Friendswood, Texas and then the remainder of his life in the West Memorial area of Houston. During these years, he enjoyed immensely the art of gardening. He considered his landscaping and garden maintenance work as a welcome break from other activities, refreshment for the soul if you will. His love of the outdoors also led him to take up running for physical exercise. He competed in many “fun-runs” and also completed three marathons.
Tom is predeceased by his parents and by his son, Michael Don Ledbetter. Survivors include wife, Marcielle Ledbetter of Houston; daughter, Tamara Cielle Fowler and husband Terry, of Pearland, TX; son, Timothy Kent Ledbetter and wife Angela, of Euless, TX; and grandchildren, Adam and Jordan Fowler, Kara and Grant Ledbetter, and Sydney Ledbetter. He is also survived by his brother, Cecil Don Ledbetter and wife, Kay, of Brenham, TX and his sister, Claudette Bratcher, of Searcy, AR, as well as numerous cousins, nephews, and nieces. The family would like to thank John and Sarah Leslie for all of their care and assistance, especially in Tom’s final years.
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at 2:30 at Brookside Cemetery, 13747, Eastex Freeway, Houston, TX. A memorial service to celebrate Tom's life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations to may be made to your favorite charity.
This crisp December’s morn is mine.
Soft breezes whisper through oak and pine.
Fallen leaves dance in winged flight.
God smiles from heaven at the sight.
– Thomas K. Ledbetter
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas Kent Ledbetter, please visit our floral store.