By Kathy W. Isdale
After a long international career as a pipeline engineer, John C. Silvey, Jr. returned to his roots in Houston, where he grew up with a maternal aunt and uncle and now lives in their Heights-area bungalow.
Active and healthy at 85 years old, and firmly controlling the reins of his life and future, Mr. Silvey has carefully and thoroughly studied all the options for planning and investing his estate-and Texas Children's Hospital features prominently in those plans. He has created a charitable gift annuity with the hospital and included a generous bequest in his will.
The annuity and bequest are directed to support general purposes of the hospital, but Mr. Silvey has indicated that, if possible, he would like the bequest to help support patient care and family travel needs of any children who may come to Texas Children's Hospital from foreign countries in which he spent much of his working life.
A native Texan whose family came on the heels of statehood, Mr. Silvey is a man of extraordinarily broad knowledge and varied interests, particularly in Texas and Civil War history. His family was integrally involved in Houston's growth from as early as the 1850s-his paternal grandfather was a Civil War blockade runner who later became a cabinet maker with a shop across from the structure that became the Rice Hotel, and his mother's family survived the 1900 Galveston storm.
Mr. Silvey graduated from Rice University in 1943 with a mechanical engineering degree and immediately went to serve in World War II. Mustered out in Germany during the postwar era, he was able to attend some of the Nuremberg trials. Returning to the United States, he worked in the pipeline industry in a career that would take him to Great Britain, the Netherlands,Venezuela and Nigeria.
Mr. Silvey never married or had children of his own, but he says, "I made a good living and good friends in those countries through the years. It was my idea to do something that would honor and thank them and at the same time help a very worthy cause. I feel this is a good and visionary thing to do."
Mr. Silvey notes a special reason for selecting Texas Children's Hospital for his charitable gift annuity. "I wanted to provide additional diversity in my assets, and Texas Children's is the only charitable organization I was interested in that would accept an annuity of less than $25,000.That really impressed me, and I truly felt this was where I wanted my money to go."