John Carlton Estes, 93, went to be with his Lord on March 20, 2019. Formerly of Beaumont, Texas; Singapore; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and Kingwood, Texas, he died at home in Corpus Christi where he resided for five years. Born April 6, 1925, in Birmingham, Alabama, he later moved with his family to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He attended the University of Texas at Austin in the U.S. Navy V-12 Program, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1946. He spent most of his working career with Bethlehem Steel, Shipbuilding Division, in Beaumont, Singapore, and Bethlehem, and was Assistant Vice-President of Bethlehem Steel at the time of his retirement in 1982. John moved to Kingwood upon retirement from Bethlehem.
He was credited with being the chief architect of Bethlehem’s success in the design and construction of offshore drilling rigs, and was recognized by his peers as a pioneer in the industry. During his career with Bethlehem in various capacities ranging from Chief Engineer to Assistant Vice-President, the company built over 100 offshore rigs. He was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. He also served on the committee of the American Bureau of Shipping which formulated the original rules for construction of offshore drilling rigs.
While in Singapore, he was Vice-President of the Singapore Association of Shipbuilders and Repairers, and served on the board of the American Business Council.
After his retirement from Bethlehem Steel, he worked several years for Zapata Offshore Company.
John became a Christian at an early age and served as a deacon at First Baptist Church, Beaumont, International Baptist Church of Singapore, and Kingwood First Baptist Church, serving on various committees and as a Sunday school teacher. He was also involved in various civic activities, serving on the Board of the Mental Health Association and the Salvation Army while in Beaumont. In Kingwood, he served on the board of the Kingwood Emergency Medical Services Association, Fosters Mill Community Association, KSA and KSA Public Safety Committee, and prior to Kingwood’s annexation, Municipal Utility District 145.
He served on active duty with the U.S. Navy during 1952-1953, as Engineer Officer (Lieutenant) on the AOG-10, USS NEMASKET.
He is survived by his wife, Judith Ann Ferguson Estes. He was preceded in death in 2009 by his first wife, Rose Marie Schuster Estes, and daughter, Janet Susan Estes. He is also survived by daughter Carol Estes Bray (William), Corpus Christi; son John Carlton Estes, Jr. (Kathy), Omaha, Nebraska; four grandchildren: William Bray, Corpus Christi, Emily Bray Wieck (Luke), Atlanta, Georgia, Rachel Estes, New York, Alex Estes (Ying), Minneapolis, Minnesota; and three great-grandchildren: Diana and Charlie Bray, Corpus Christi, and Meredith Wieck, Atlanta; and several nieces. He was preceded in death by siblings James Powell Estes, Alpha Farm, Oregon, Mary Elizabeth Reeves, Gulfport, Mississippi, and Edward Wesley Estes, Gulfport, Mississippi.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 30, at 1:00 p.m. at the chapel of First Baptist Church, Corpus Christi, with a reception following. Arrangements are through Seaside Funeral Home, Corpus Christi.