Huell Ham was born in Laran, Louisiana, to Hughey and Loduskee Black Ham on August 6, 1932, and passed away on May 11, 2020, in Houston, Texas. He is survived by his beloved wife of twenty four years Jean Scarborough Ham of Houston, Texas, daughter Lauren Ham Aldridge and her husband Craig of Midland, Texas; son Bill and his wife Tressie of Lafayette, Louisiana; and son Scott and his wife Sarah Louise of New Orleans, Louisiana; five grandchildren and two great grandchildren; and Jean’s daughter Kate Drury and her husband Matt; her daughter Kimberly Husted and her husband James; and her six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Floyd Ham.
Huell’s family moved to Farmerville, Louisiana, when he was five years old, where he lived until he graduated from Farmerville High School. He always looked forward to Christmas, and his mother made it very special, just as he did for his children. As a child he was fond of riding his horse, which he and his brother also used to plow the fields around his home. He lived on a farm where his family raised chickens, hogs, and cattle. His mother served so much chicken to him as a child that he never ever ate poultry as an adult; this was always a fun topic at Thanksgiving. His family also had a watermelon patch, trees with grape vines, and wild blackberries and dewberries that grew in abundance. His mother made good use of everything, and they truly lived off the land.
Huell was well known for his love of sports, and in high school he played football, baseball, basketball, and was a boxer. One of his favorite memories was traveling with his father to St. Louis to watch what he called “big league” baseball where he saw many of the great ones play. His father owned a lumber mill and was a trucking contractor, so Huell worked in the lumber mill in high school where he learned to drive big trucks and tractors. His job there earned him his first car from his father, a 1948 Fleetmaster Convertible Chevrolet…he used to tell his children that it was black, and he was “looking good.” They feel certain he was looking good.
Huell attended Louisiana State University where he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. While at LSU he thoroughly enjoyed attending the games in Tiger stadium, and he became a lifelong Tiger fan! While at LSU, he joined the ROTC because he could substitute ROTC for PE courses! He graduated from Louisiana Tech, attended graduate school at LSU, received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in August of 1954, and reported for active duty in June of 1955.
Huell entered the USAF at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, attended Primary Pilot Training in Bainbridge, Georgia, and Basic Pilot Jet School in Laredo, Texas, where he graduated and earned his wings in August of 1956. He loved flying all types of aircraft and had the opportunity to fly two jet fighter bombers: the F-84F and the F-100D. His favorite was his beloved F-100, which he flew from California and Hawaii to Japan and many other overseas destinations. He was particularly fond of participating in “fire power demonstrations” at Elgin Air Force Base and “being a good enough pilot to fly in the 615th Tactical Fighter Squadron.” He served in the United States Air Force until 1959. After he left active duty, he continued to fly for an additional eight years in the Air Force Reserves where he flew the C-119. While flying that aircraft, he was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Service medal. He received his retirement from the USAF with the rank of Major after flying for over twelve years.
Huell began in the oilfield drilling fluids business in1959 in Garden City, Louisiana, and he continued in this business until 2016. His career took him to Lafayette, Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana, Midland, Texas, Houston, Texas, and Denver, Colorado. He was well respected in his field and loved his work. Many of his customers became lifelong friends.
Huell took pleasure in playing golf, hunting, fishing, boiling crawfish, barbecuing, and watching LSU football, the Astros, and the Western Channel. His beef jerky is legendary. His career in the drilling fluids business required that he spend much of his time entertaining his customers; he excelled in this area.
Huell was quite the storyteller which made his stories of the oil business and his travels both in the Air Force and his civilian career fascinating entertainment for his family on many occasions. In the last few years he really opened up and told us many new tales of his escapades around the world! His travels in these two careers took him to five continents.
Several years ago, Huell was asked to tell his children what he was most proud of in his life, and his reply was, “Getting my Air Force wings, being successful with a service company, and #1 is raising three great children.” He was one great American, one great man, one great husband, and one great father. We will miss you, and the fine example you set as a person, a husband, and a father will be forever with us. You can rest in peace knowing that you successfully fulfilled your mission.
The family with hold a private celebration of his life at a time to be determined.