My father, Murray Wayne Person, Jr. (May 1943—January 3, 2016) passed away in his sleep this morning in Houston after a two-and-a-half year battle with cancer. He had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer in July of 2013, and after surgery to remove it doctors discovered it had spread to his lymph nodes. In early December 2015 scans showed it had stopped responding to the chemotherapy that had previously kept it in check and he was put on hospice care in his own home, as per his wishes.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Delois Person (who cared for him in his final illness and was at his side when he passed), his sister Sharon Evans, his son Lawrence Person, his daughter Camille Person Prevo, and his granddaughter Lyric Prevo. He was a member of Unity Church of Houston, where he managed ushering until stepping down due to his illness.
My father was a smart, stubborn, and occasionally difficult man. He obtained an accounting degree from night school at the University of Houston, and spent his life supporting his family working as a CPA and comptroller for a variety of companies. He had interests in science fiction (and read The Hobbit and part of The Lord of the Rings to me at bedtime when I was a child), astronomy and coin collecting. I generally got along well with him, the only difficulties arising because we were entirely too much alike.
My father had competed in football and track in high school, but his terminal illness gradually robbed him of his strength, as the aftermath of the surgery (including a return stay for an infection) and the regular visits to MD Anderson wore him down. During his own father’s terminal illness, he said “There comes a point when a dying man needs to die like a tired man needs to sleep,” and he had finally reached that stage and was ready to go. Assistance from Houston Hospice (including an in-home hospital bed and liquid morphine) greatly eased the difficulties of his final days.
I came home for Christmas and said goodbye to him on December 29, while he was still (intermittently) lucid.
As he donated his body to science there will be no funeral, but will likely be a memorial service in Houston later this month.