Ocean Beach 05

John H. Clyburn

May 31, 1940 ~ December 14, 2021 (age 81)



1940 – 2021 

John Howard Clyburn passed away on Tuesday, the 14th of December 2021. 

John was a devoted and beloved husband, father, grandfather and educator.  He was born in Conroe, Texas on May 31, 1940, to parents Nell Phillips Clyburn and George Lee Clyburn.  John graduated from Conroe High School and the University of Texas at Austin while also completing further graduate work at Cornell University.  Like his mother, an elementary school teacher, John was drawn to education and scholarship.  Upon his college graduation John began a distinguished, nearly 40-year teaching career in Houston, Texas where he held positions at Bellaire High School and the University of Houston-Downtown. 

John moved to Galveston, Texas in 1971 to take a position at Galveston Community College where he served in various teaching and administrative roles, including a four-year stint as Dean. After moving to Galveston, John met Carolyn Brown, a native islander and widow, with two young girls Edie and Julie.  John and Carolyn fell in love and were married. John was an extremely devoted father and together with the girls, he and Carolyn formed a new family union filled with love, laughter, car trips, basset hounds and the occasional turtle.  John and Carolyn were active, civic-minded members of the Galveston community giving their time and resources to scores of causes including the Rotary Club, Galveston Historical Foundation and Trinity Episcopal School. Most important, they were devoted members of Trinity Episcopal Church. 

John was a gentle, humble and honorable man devoted to his family, friends and students. He was a gentleman and a scholar in the truest sense. Those who knew John would describe him as selfless; he always put the needs of others before his own.  Even at Christmas or birthdays, he was almost embarrassed to receive gifts, but he delighted in seeing others receive them. While reluctant to talk about himself, John was fascinated by the stories, experiences and interests of others.  John was an extraordinary listener to both young and old; when you had a conversation with him you felt as if you were the only person in the room. This unique ability to communicate combined with a passion for learning made John highly effective as a teacher and immensely popular with students and faculty alike.  The thousands of students he taught over the years are richer for having experienced John’s wisdom, knowledge and compassion.  John will be dearly missed by his family, friends and the many he touched during his career and through his service to the community. 

John is preceded in death by his parents, Nell and George, and by his brother Lee Clyburn.  He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; daughter Edie Harrington and husband Kevin; grandchildren Alex Harrington and Kevin Harrington; daughter Julie Cuenod and husband Marc; sister Laura McWilliams and husband Brad; and sister Miriam Vaughn and husband Robert. 

A memorial service to honor John’s life will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, December 18, 2021, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Galveston with a reception following at the Galveston Artillery Club. 

In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be made to The John H. Clyburn Scholarship Fund at Galveston Community College; Trinity Episcopal Church in Galveston; Trinity Episcopal School in Galveston; or to the charity of one’s choice.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John H. Clyburn, please visit our floral store.

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Memorial Service
December 18, 2021

11:00 AM
Trinity Episcopal Church
2216 Ball
Galveston, TX 77550

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