Robert Linwood ‘Bob’ Poland Sr.
Funeral services for Robert Linwood “Bob” Poland, Sr., 94, of Lufkin were held Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at the First Christian Church of Lufkin, with Reverend Stephen Lantis officiating. Graveside services with military honors followed in the Garden of Memories Memorial Park.
Mr. Poland died Monday, October 28, 2013 at his home in Lufkin. He was born on May 4, 1919 in the sawmill town of Manning, Texas to Robert Wesley and Ettie Dora Poland. In 1929 the family moved to Shawnee Prairie to farm. He attended Manning and Shawnee Prairie schools and graduated from Huntington High School in 1937. In 1938 he entered Texas A&M College, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1942. He was retired President and Chief Executive Officer of Lufkin Industries, Inc. In addition to his engineering profession, Mr. Poland was a soldier, scholar, poet and author of several books and numerous articles and publications such as “From the President’s Desk” which he wrote for Lufkin Industries employees. He was as well a tree farmer and part-time farmer and rancher. Above all, he was a wonderfully dedicated husband and family man.
Commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army in May 1942 during World War II, Mr. Poland served in five campaigns with the Second Engineer Combat Battalion of the Second Infantry Division in the European Theater of Operations, including D-Day + 1. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Croix de Guerre, the highest decoration of France, awarded for its liberation, which was presented to him by Charles DeGaulle. Further, he received the Presidential Citation for Excellence in combat during the Battle of the Bulge. He and the division then fought through Germany to Czechoslovakia until the surrender. He was discharged a major in 1945.
Upon his return from Europe, Mr. Poland met and married Adell Slover, daughter of Pauline Slover of Lufkin, on November 21, 1945. He was employed by Lufkin Foundry and Machine Company as a design engineer. Subsequently he served as chief of the gear division and was made a director of the company in 1965. He was elected President and Chief Executive Officer in 1967 and Chairman of the Board of Lufkin Industries, Inc. in 1972. He retired in 1987.
Mr. Poland was a registered professional engineer in Texas and past president of the Pineywoods Chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. He was a past president of the American Gear Manufacturers Association and a director of the Texas Manufacturers Association. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering society and Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Society. He served as a director of the Texas A&M Research Foundation and was named a Distinguished Alumnae of Texas A&M University.
Mr. Poland was a member of the Angelina County Veterans Land Board, director and trustee of Kurth Memorial Library, trustee of the Lufkin Country Club, director of the Salvation Army, and a 50-year member of the Lufkin noon Host Lions Club. He was a director of Lufkin National Bank and Lufkin Federal Savings and Loan Association. He also served as a director of the East Texas Chamber of Commerce and President of the Lufkin Chamber of Commerce when the George Henderson Exposition Center was initiated in March 1991.
Mr. Poland was a founder and charter member of the Board of Trustees of Angelina College and a director and trustee of Memorial Hospital of Lufkin. Further, he served as a director of Texas Utilities.
At First Christian Church, Lufkin, where he was a member for over 60 years, Mr. Poland served as Chairman of the Board and as a deacon and elder.
Mr. Poland was a full brother of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity Chapter of Stephen F. Austin State University, where his three sons were founding members of the chapter.
Mr. Poland was predeceased by his wife Adell in March 1991, his youngest son, John Slover Poland in March 1980, and his daughter Joy Dell Prendergast in March 2012. He was also preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Joe Poland, and his wife Tommie, sisters Gladys Poland and Mildred Lowery, and two sisters and their husbands, Maxie Rene and Lou Ilgenfritz, and Marjorie and Bill McCullough, and a brother-in-law, Bill Cowart.
Survivors include his sons, Charles Poland and Robert Poland, Jr. and wife Linda, daughter-in-law Christi Stage, and son-in-law Don Prendergast. Grandchildren and their spouses are Amy and Roy Preyer, John and Katie Poland, Christopher and Fara Poland, Jeanie and Caleb McCusker, Jennifer and Jason Dean, Natalie and Matt Branson, and Kelly Prendergast and Robert Prendergast. His eleven great-grandchildren are Robert Preyer, McKinlea and Kennedy Poland, Emma and Dailey Poland, Claire, Caleb and Cooper Robert McCusker, and Anslea, Addley, and Ashbee Dean. He is also survived by one sister, Merlene Cowart, and one brother-in-law, C.D. Lowery, two sisters-in-law, Mary Floyd and Florence Slover, and many nieces and nephews. He leaves behind as well special friend Lola Will Taylor.
Pallbearers are his eight grandchildren. Honorary pallbearers are all past and present employees of Lufkin Industries, Inc.
The family wants to thank especially Drs. Brent Campbell, Kavitha Pinnamaneni, Doyle Haynes, and their caring staffs. Also we thank the staff and nurses of Hospice in the Pines and caretaker and nurse Teresa Martin for their care, professionalism, and devotion to our father.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Robert Poland Engineering Scholarship Fund or the Adell Poland Nursing Scholarship Fund at Angelina College, 3500 South First Street, Lufkin, Texas, 75904.
Memories and condolences may be added at www.carrowayfuneralhome.com.
Carroway Funeral Home, Lufkin, directors.