Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

jack smyth josey

Jack Smyth Josey was born in Beaumont, Texas on July 11, 1916. Attending public schools in Houston and graduating from San Jacinto High School in 1934, Josey entered The University of Texas at Austin where he obtained a bachelor of science in petroleum engineering in 1939. Josey was president (grand master) of Kappa Sigma, a Goodfellow, Outstanding Student, and foreman (president) of the Texas Cowboys.

Mr. Josey went to work as a petroleum engineer for his father upon graduation and married his childhood sweetheart, Elva Johnson. Outraged by the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, he volunteered for the Navy the next day. Josey departed to the Pacific as a lieutenant j.g. gunnery officer on the destroyer escort Melvin R. Naumann. Lieutenant Josey and his ship were active in the battle of the Coral Sea, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. He was privileged to witness the marine flag raisings on Mt. Suribachi at Iwo Jima. He and his ship were among the first Americans to enter China after Japan surrendered.

Returning to Houston after the war, Josey bought a five-acre farm outside the city limits as the family’s home where they resided until the early 1970’s. With the death of his father in 1953, Josey became president and chairman of the Josey Oil Company. In the early 1950s he and lifelong friend, Robert Park, founded Tercar Theater Company, one of the major movie theater companies in the Houston area in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. In the 1960s he became the principal shareholder in Central National Bank.

It was also during the 1950’s that he began a love affair with education, commencing with serving on the Board of Trustees of St. John’s School. Mr. Josey always had a love for The University of Texas at Austin and for UT football and enjoyed bringing his family to Austin for the games. He maintained that one of the most meaningful things he did was to head the UT Parents Association because he met so many nice people who shared his love of the university.

During the early 1960s his close friend, Governor John B. Connally, named Josey to the Board of Regents of The University of Texas at Austin. He was named a UT Distinguished Alumnus in 1972 and received a Distinguished Engineering Award in 1973.

In 1982 Josey and his wife Elva divorced. In 1983 he married Gretchen Chandler. After her death, Josey married Donna Pearson Neuhoff. Mr. Josey passed away in 2003.







Contact Catherine Campbell at 512-471-3208