John Francis Navratil
John Francis Navratil
  • April 12, 1956 - August 2, 2017
  • Texas

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John Navratil passed away peacefully in Houston, Texas on August 2, 2017 at the age of 61, after a brave fight with cancer. He was born a first generation American in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on April 12, 1956, to Boris F. Navratil of Prague and Constance Parr of London. He was predeceased by his mother and is survived by his father; and by his wife of 30 years Peggy (O'Neil); son Oliver; daughter Alexandra; and siblings Juliette; Philip and wife Michele; Peter and wife Annie.

John arrived in Houston in 1973 to pursue a degree in electrical engineering at Rice University. There he developed an interest in computer programming and ultimately became one of the first Rice graduates with a B.A. in Computer and Mathematical Science.

John was a computer programmer/consultant for over 40 years and worked in many fields but primarily in the oil and gas industry. One of his proudest accomplishments was being a principal architect of the SAMMI graphical user interface builder which was at the time the only authorized GUI software for the NASA space station project. He also enjoyed designing and inventing multiple automated gas testing machines for the calibration of industrial gases.

John was an adventurer, an avid sailor and scuba diver, an instrument-rated pilot and world traveler. The last few weeks of his life were no exception. Surrounded by friends and family he scuba-dived in the Caribbean, sailed the Keys, spearfished and piloted the Cessna 210 he shared with his brother Philip and their families. John's greatest passion was first and foremost aviation. He earned his pilot's license in 1977 at the ripe age of 21, logging many hours in the air thereafter, flying as far West as Catalina Island, East to Philadelphia, and at long last Key West, embarking on his final flight within 48 hours of his passing. He was a man of many talents and interests, sharp as a whip, with a prodigious memory. He was known for some of the best mudbug boillin' on the Gulf Coast and was once invited to participate in a study of those with a certain proclivity for speeding tickets. He was a beautiful, complex man with a larger than life personality. His sudden departure was a great shock to those nearest and dearest to him. But it is some relief that John, our gentle giant, was only truly ill at the very end.

A memorial service was held in Houston at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, on Saturday the 12th at 11:00am.

In lieu of flowers please send donations in John's honor to the Conquer Cancer Foundation in Alexandria, VA.