John Allen Ater

John Allen Ater was born in Lubbock, Texas on June 6, 1927 to George Hubert Ater and Ina Belle McCarley Ater. He was a bright student and his teachers skipped him ahead two grades in school. He graduated from Lubbock High School in 1943 and came to Texas A&M College at the age of sixteen, majoring in Chemical Engineering.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1945 as a Seaman and had moved up to the rank of Lieutenant in 1946 when he returned to Lubbock to take care of his mother after his father died suddenly. While in Lubbock, he met and married the love of his life, Mary Frances Brashear,  on December 27, 1947. Although he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Texas Tech University in 1948, his true Alma Mater was Texas A&M. He wore his Aggie ring proudly.

Allen went to work for Anderson Clayton & Co. in 1948 and worked for them in many capacities until his retirement in 1987. He and his family moved many times as Allen’s career took him to California, Arizona and Texas.

He and Frances had three children, David Allen, Kimberly Sue and Sandra Jane. Allen was a devoted husband and a loving father and was always smiling. He was a Christian. He was soft spoken, trustworthy, honest and full of integrity. He loved to listen to 40’s music, dance with Frances, play cards, dominoes and chess with his family and play golf with his friends. He was a creative thinker with an inventors mindset, he loved gadgets and crossword puzzles and was on the cutting edge of technology. He could solve a Rubik’s Cube in no time, and made a delicious Key Lime Pie.

Allen Ater 2He held various technical and commercial titles in the company and travelled extensively all over the world. He was elected Corporate Officer and VP of Commodity Trading in 1975 and held those positions until his retirement on May 1, 1987.

He was on several Boards and Committees for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Commerce and various other cottonseed oil related organizations.

After retirement, he and Frances moved from Houston to Memphis, Tennessee, where he became Executive Vice President of the National Cottonseed Products Association.

He was the author of numerous articles for trade and industry groups, and was a collaborating author for a two volume Commodity Handbook and Traders Guide, financed by the Government of Sweden and published by the United Nations in 1990.

In 1992, he and Frances moved to Bryan, Texas to be near their three grandchildren. He was one proud grandfather when they each got their Aggie rings.

Allen immediately got involved in the community, becoming Secretary of the Bryan Rotary Club for many years. He held office in various organizations in the Brazos Valley, and consulted at Texas A&M, where he served as Class Agent for the Texas A&M Class of ’47. He was active in his Sunday School Class at First United Methodist Church in Bryan.

He and Frances travelled to many foreign countries together with their friends. They were always laughing and having fun together. They were married almost 65 years. Allen died on the same day Frances did in 2012.

Preceding him in death were his parents, George Hubert Ater and Ina Belle McCarley Ater, his brother, George Hubert Ater, Jr. his beloved wife, Mary Frances Brashear Ater, and her brother Olin Earl Brashear, Jr.

Allen is survived by his son, David Allen Ater (Becky), his daughters Suzie Lundgren (Stan) and Janie Ater (Tommy) Cargill, his grandchildren, Courtney Sue Dozier (Jarrett), John Thomas Cargill (Sarah), and David Wyatt Cargill (Janna), his great grandchildren, Stella Bleu and Savannah Rose Dozier, James Thomas and Mary Claire Cargill and Wyatt Allen Cargill, his sister in law, Yolanda Brashear, his niece and nephews, his best friend, Mike Buchanon, and his many friends and colleagues.

His family extends special thanks to the staff of Hudson Creek Alzheimer’s facility and the staff at The Waterford. They also wish to thank Dr. Denise Turner, Dr. David Hacklethorn, Dr. Timothy Byrd and special caregivers Brenda Petry and Kristina Bush.

A private graveside service will be held December 10, 2016 at 10 a.m. with his friend, John Anderson, officiating.

If you wish to remember Allen through a donation, please contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association in his honor.


  1. Janie, Wanted you to know that we are thinking of you and your family. Hate that your Daddy has passed away. The same date that your Mother passed away several years ago. Know that we love you and that time heals.

  2. Suzie, Although I didn’t know your Dad, through his obituary I felt like I should’ve known him. What an amazing bright light he was!! You were indeed fortunate and blessed to have him as your Father. I am sad for your loss.

  3. Dear Janie, Suzie,and David,
    So sorry for the loss of your pop. He was such a great guy and so kind to all. Sad time all around but we know he is so proud of all of you. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Love Kyle and Jan.

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