Douglas LeRoy Relyea
March 12, 1940 – October 3, 2020
Douglas LeRoy Relyea, a loved father, grandfather, brother, friend, mentor, volunteer, and tutor, passed away on Saturday, October 3, 2020, after a courageous battle with cancer. Douglas was born on March 12, 1940, in Hackensack, New Jersey. He attended St. Thomas Choir School in New York City. At the age of sixteen, he graduated as valedictorian from St. Peter’s Episcopal School in Peekskill, New York where he continuously ranked as the top student in biology, French, chemistry and higher mathematics. He was awarded a Certificate of Merit by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. He received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 1960 and a MS in 1963 and PhD in 1965 in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois. He was a member of Alpha Chi Sigma professional chemistry fraternity at the University of Illinois, and he helped organize the fraternity’s annual lobster dinner that continues to this day.
He began his 35-year career with ExxonMobil (then Humble Oil and Refining Company) at the Baytown Refinery in July 1965. At ExxonMobil he was a Project Manager, Engineering Associate and the Plant Utilities Specialist. Douglas’ responsibilities included working in the technical services department, the process engineering department and on the Baytown Cogeneration project. He was also an instructor in the Technical Service Practice School where he helped train new engineers. At work he often hosted lunchtime bridge games, and he was known for his passion for auto mechanics and furniture building. After his retirement in 2000, he went back to work for SNC-Lavalin (then GDS Engineers) and worked for ExxonMobil. After his official retirement in 2011, Douglas felt a strong desire to serve his community. He volunteered with Habitat for Humanity as Construction Manager where he helped to build at least 30 homes. He later served on the Baytown Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors.
Douglas’ generosity extended to numerous organizations and causes. He valued education and he helped more than a dozen people attend college. In addition to his work with Habitat for Humanity, he also volunteered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Boy Scouts and he served on the vestry as Treasurer for All Saints Episcopal Church in Baytown. He was nominated for the Baytown Citizen of the Year. Douglas was intelligent, kind, generous, hardworking, honest, moral, and he lived a humble life. He lived by the principles of loving unconditionally and giving to others when you can.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth DePuy and Ellanor Gismond Relyea; his brother Richard Relyea; and his son, Christopher Douglas Relyea. He is survived by his daughter, Catherine Relyea Larson, and her husband, Curtis; his son, Shaun Michael Wicker, and his wife, Stephanie; eight grandchildren, Grant Larson, Andrew Larson, Alexandra Larson, Michael Wicker, Brandon Wicker, Kimber Wicker, Jake Palmer and Logan Palmer; his brother, Lawrence J. Relyea, and his wife, Linda; his sister, Verna Wentworth; his nieces, Nancy Relyea Narcavage, Dawn Wentworth, and Heather Relyea McGinley, and her husband, Chris; his nephews, Peter Relyea, and his wife, Samantha, Russell Relyea, Robert Relyea and his wife, MaryBeth, and Derek Wentworth and his wife, Holly; his cousin, David Chapman, and his wife, Traci; his brother-in-law, Stanley Bishop; his sister-in-law, Evelyn Relyea; and his godson, Eric Johnson. He was blessed by many longtime friends, including Glenn and Ann Reilly, Ed Mackert, Richard and Gloria Johnson, Lynette Relyea, Chong Stanaway and many Habitat for Humanity families. Douglas’ family appreciates all the love and care provided to him by his wonderful caretakers, Beth, Cruz, Penny, Juan, and Vivianna. In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions in Douglas’ name may be directed to Baytown Habitat for Humanity at www.baytownhabitat.org located at 3900 North Main Baytown, 77521. Please visit Douglas’ online tribute at:https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/baytown-tx/douglas-relyea-9388160 where memories and words of comfort and condolences may be shared with his family.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Douglas LeRoy Relyea
October 10, 2020
I worked with Doug at the ExxonMobil Baytown Refinery and on several Habitat for Humanity homes projects. He was always upbeat and an all around great guy. I know he will surely be missed by his family and all who knew him. My prayers are with his family during this difficult time.
October 10, 2020
We’ve known Doug the last ten years while living across the street from his daughter, Catherine, and her family. We chatted about engineering a few times during his holiday visits and also about Habitat for Humanity, which was clearly one of his great joys.
Doug was such a kind, giving person who enjoyed his grandchildren to his final days—he attended every birthday party he could! He will be missed, but we know that so much of Doug’s goodness and giving was passed along to our amazing neighbor and her family, so in that sense, he began a chain of kindness that will last forever.
We express our deepest sympathies to Catherine, Curtis, Grant, Andrew, Alexandra and the rest of Doug’s family. He touched so many hearts and he will be greatly missed.
Beth and Marvin Moore
October 9, 2020
We were Mr. Relyea's across the street neighbors up until about a year and a half ago. He was always friendly and smiling! We are very sorry for your loss and have your whole family in our thoughts.
The Moore Family - Marvin, Beth, Max, & Aly
October 7, 2020
Doug will be missed terribly. Our hearts go out to the family.
October 7, 2020
Even though Doug and I had both worked at Exxon, we did not meet until I went to help at Habitat. Glenn Whitcomb asked me to go with him and he introduced me to Doug. We became friends the first day. Several months later Doug asked me if I wanted to be his Asst. Construction Mgr. We worked closely for many years. He was my best friend and mentor. We all miss Doug very much. Baytown Habitat for Humanity is what it is today because of Doug.
October 7, 2020
Doug was a friend of many years, beginning with our time at the Exxon refinery. My fondest memories were of his generous, kind, brilliant leadership as Construction Manager for Baytown Habitat for Humanity. He was on the site every Friday and Saturday, made plans for the construction of the homes, ordered the materials to arrive in time for their use, and more! He prepared details drawings and instructions for the parts and sub-assemblies, and even designed them to minimize waste when cutting the parts from the raw timbers.
Katherine and family, please be comforted in knowing he was well liked and appreciated, and gave himself in service to others!
October 5, 2020
We have been Doug’s neighbors since 1988, and he will be greatly missed.
So very sorry for your loss.
Steve & Laura Lowry