OBITUARY

Alvin Wallace Lyckman

May 20, 1926June 29, 2022
Obituary of Alvin Wallace Lyckman
Alvin Wallace Lyckman (and to many known as Al) was born on May 20, 1926 at the family farm in Brady, Texas, and died in Austin, Texas on June 29, 2022, at the age of 96. Alvin was the son of Jennie Olve (nee Andersen) Lyckman (b. 1891, d. 1989) and John Edward Lyckman (b. 1882, d. 1945). Alvin survived both parents, five brothers, Edward, John, Otis, Warren and Boyd, and three sisters, Gibret, Marjorie and Jeanette, becoming the sole surviving family member when Otis passed away in 2015. Alvin married Margaret Dean Webster (b. 1930), a practicing registered nurse, in Brownsville, Texas in 1957 while working in accounting at a petrochemical plant. Travel would be a continuing theme in his career and family life until retirement. Two months after the birth of their first son, Alvin, Jr. (b. 1958), they moved to Chicago, Illinois, where Alvin continued to work in accounting for Standard Oil of Indiana (American Oil, or Amoco). Two more sons were born, David (b. 1959) and Donald (b. 1961) while the family lived in the Chicago area. In 1963, the family moved to Norwalk, Connecticut because Amoco relocated their main office to Manhattan. The family lived in Connecticut until the summer of 1968, when they moved back to Chicago because Amoco again relocated the main office back to Chicago. Because Amoco had been sending Alvin on numerous lengthy business trips to England, Germany, Italy, India and Pakistan, Amoco asked Alvin to transfer to the Amoco UK office in London (Wembley). The family moved to London in January of 1969. While residing in an apartment near Regents Park in London for the spring of 1969, Alvin and Margaret built a two story house in the countryside just north of London in Farnham Common (Bucks). The family moved there in the summer of 1969. The children attended the American School of London. Dad and kids commuted daily into London by the British Rail service from Gerrards Cross to Marylebone Station for work and school. Mom ran the house and made many friends in the community. Two years later, in 1971, Alvin became the business manager of Amoco Deutschland (Adler GmbH) and the family moved to Düsseldorf, West Germany. The kids attended the American International School of Düsseldorf, where Alvin also acted as a financial manager and Trustee of the school. In 1976, Amoco Deutschland was sold to Elf Petroleum, and Alvin became Vice President of Finance at Amoco Europe. The family moved back to England to Gerrards Cross (Bucks) where Alvin and Margaret built a beautiful English style home, a brief walk from the train station. Alvin commuted by train or by driver. The two youngest sons finished high school at the American School in London, where, again, Alvin served on the Board of Trustees. While overseas, the family not only had many wonderful trips throughout Europe, but also regularly flew back to visit Margaret’s and Alvin’s family homes in Brownsville and Brady and to reconnect with the many aunts, uncles and cousins. All three sons entered universities in Texas but called England home, until Alvin became quite ill, required surgery, and finally had to retire in 1983. Alvin and Margaret repatriated to Texas and built their final home in Austin, Texas, where Margaret lived until succumbing to dementia in 2020 at the age of 89, and where Alvin succumbed to failing health two years later, in 2022. During those 30 plus years in Austin, their three sons brought the love and joy of their marriages, two grandsons and four granddaughters into their lives. Alvin grew up on a working farm run by John and Jennie. The whole family carried out all the tasks required to cultivate and harvest cotton, wheat, oats, sugar cane, and sorghum for feed and/or sale; raise poultry for meat and eggs; raise cows for dairy; and, raise cattle, hogs, sheep and goats for meat and for market. There was no irrigation at the farm; crops and livestock were dependent on the vagaries of the central Texas weather. Household water needs were met through a well, or by hauling water to the farm from Brady Lake. John bought the first automobile for the family in the 1920's. Electricity was not brought to the farm until the 1930s. Alvin experienced the rigors and excitement of living and working on a family farm during the economic depression of the 1930's, an operation that benefitted little from the mechanization and household conveniences that exist today. Neighbors played a role in sustaining each other’s farming operations. John's brother Theo had a family farm adjacent to John's. Many of the farmers in the area had moved to Brady from the New Sweden community, located near Manor, Texas, just north of Austin. The Scandinavian immigrants that settled these areas arrived from Sweden and Norway via the port of Galveston in the 1800's. Despite very different climates between Scandinavia and central Texas, these farmers thrived in their new surroundings and a large population of their descendants, including the family of Jennie and John Lyckman, developed in this region. Swedish was spoken by Jennie's and John's generation, but English replaced Swedish in Alvin's generation. Alvin was an accomplished high school student but stayed at the farm to help the family, as several of his brothers were sent to fight in WWII and his father grew increasing ill; he passed away before Alvin was 19. Alvin liked to reminisce that while his father was on the local draft board, he protected his youngest son from more than one draft notice. Alvin enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin to major in chemistry, but switched to accounting and business administration, and graduated in 1950. He became a fervent (and often disappointed!) Longhorn. He began a long career in business as an ambitious bank teller in Beeville, Texas. Soon thereafter he was finally caught in the draft, and served as an Army auditor for two years, ending his service at the rank of Master Sergeant during the Korean War. He never served overseas, but conducted equipment and financial audits across the United States for the Army. He left the service to return to business, working at various locations in Texas including Houston. In 1956, he was hired by Amoco, or as the family came to refer to it, “the company”, and transferred to Brownsville, Texas to work as a financial analyst at a petrochemical plant designed to produce high octane gasoline from natural gas. No doubt his business prowess and early introduction to chemistry proved useful in this position. However, his financial analyses showed that the chemical engineers' gasoline project was unlikely to be commercially successful, and the plant was phased out. Alvin was recognized for his financial acumen and transferred to Amoco's head office in Chicago, with Margaret and two month old Alvin, Jr. Alvin was devoted to wife and family and was generously supportive of many relatives. He managed the final months of care for his ailing brother Boyd, making frequent trips to Brady and the VA in San Antonio. Margaret benefited from his care and attention as she declined deeper and deeper into dementia, but she ultimately required care out of the house, and Alvin saw her laid to rest in Brady. The joys of marriage, family, and friendships notwithstanding, Vince Young's final touchdown over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl was hard to top! Alvin's intellect never faltered. But more importantly, anyone having contact with Alvin was impressed with his sincere kindness and congeniality, especially in his final years, during which he was beset by many vexing medical issues that would tax the patience of the best of us. He leaves three sons and their families, a great granddaughter on the way, many relatives, and a few friends, all of whom love him dearly, and can scarcely believe how soon, at 96, this ole Texas farm boy left this world for a peaceful rest so richly deserved. May he, and his beloved Margaret, rest gently with all our love.

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