Malcolm Neal Council
September 23, 1929 – August 22, 2018
Malcolm Neal Council, an accomplished mechanical engineer, husband and father, died on August 22 after setting an example of how to live a dignified and purposeful life to all that knew him. He was 88. Born in Erin, Tennessee on September 23, 1929, Malcolm was the youngest of four children of John Council, a railroad foreman, and Linnie Council, a homemaker.
Malcolm was an excellent student and attended public schools in Paris, Tennessee until the 10th grade when his father was transferred to Auburn, Kentucky. Because he had aspirations to attend college and Auburn did not offer classes he needed to enter a university, Malcolm stayed behind and lived in a Paris boarding house until he graduated high school.
Upon graduation from Grove High School, Malcolm’s mother became very ill with cancer. So he put off college for a year and worked in a Paris hosiery mill so he could attend to her needs until her death. The following year he was accepted into the U.S. Navy ROTC program at Vanderbilt University. He received an engineering degree in 1953 and served in active duty as the boiler officer aboard the USS Hancock during the Korean War.
After his military discharge in 1956, Malcolm eventually made his way to Dallas, Texas where he worked as a mechanical engineer for Gardner-Denver. In 1960, the reserved and quiet engineer attended a party at the East Dallas apartment complex where he lived and met friendly and outgoing Martha Gee, a young public school teacher who had recently graduated from SMU. They talked for two hours --- Martha did most of the talking --- began dating on a regular basis and were married in 1962.
Malcolm later took a job at Collins Radio in mid-1960’s and helped design and build the NASA satellite dish in Alaska that tracked the Apollo 11 space flight which landed the first two men on the moon.
In 1965, the Councils built a house in Richardson, Texas in which to raise a family. Their son John was born in 1967 and their daughter Cara was born in 1969. Having a son and daughter was a dream come true for the couple, something they both believed made their lives complete.
However while Martha was pregnant with Cara, Malcolm was involved in a work-related accident in which a large iron jack fell on both of his hands, severely injuring both of them. His left hand was completely crushed and the middle finger on his right hand was severed. The severed finger was reattached and the left hand was reconstructed during surgery. After forcing himself through excruciating exercise which caused tears to roll from his eyes, Malcolm was able to regain full use of both of his hands. Malcolm later used those hands, and his mind, to write 16 patents over the course of his engineering career that are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Malcolm worked for nearly two decades designing oil field drilling equipment for Otis Engineering, a subsidiary of Halliburton, until he was forced into retirement at age 64. Malcolm felt he had a few more machine designs in his head, so he went looking for another job but none were offered to him. So he turned a spare bedroom in the family’s Richardson home into a design office, created a patent for coiled tubing machine used on drilling rigs, and leased the design to smaller drilling companies and continued working as a licensed engineer until the age 83.
In 2013, Malcolm’s memory began to fade. So he wrapped up his engineering career, sold the house in Richardson, and moved into an assisted living center with Martha. Malcolm and Martha believed this was the best time in their marriage as they both spent uninterrupted time together, Martha holding his hand and Malcolm telling his wife that he loved her.
Martha served as Malcolm’s caretaker until her death in 2017. Malcolm lived that last year of his life in a memory care unit where he received excellent care and remained in good spirits. As his mind became somewhat confused, he never forgot his family --- especially the love of his life Martha who he’d been married to for 55 years. He awoke every morning, wondering where Martha had gone. Now he is finally with her.
Malcolm is survived by his son, John Council and his wife Julie Council of Dallas, daughter Cara Etheridge of Plano, and his grandson Kevin Etheridge of Phoenix, AZ.
A memorial service will be held for Malcolm at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 8 at Ted Dickey West Funeral Home, 7990 President George Bush Turnpike, in Dallas. Those wishing to send condolences or share a fond memory may sign the online guestbook at www.teddickeywestfuneral.com.
- Linnie Council, Mother
- John L Council, Father
- Martha Ann Council, Wife
- John Council, Son
- Julie Council, Daughter-in-law
- Cara Etheridge, Daughter
- Kevin Etheridge, Grandson
- Memorial Service Saturday, September 8, 2018