Reflections on Michael McCardle
Michael Frane McCardle was born in Manila, The Philippines on November 5, 1940. He was the first child of Jack Baley McCardle and Margret Iola Frane McCardle.
As the Second World War threatened the Western Pacific, Mike’s family evacuated from the Philippines in March 1941, ahead of the Japanese invasion. Returning to the United States, his father joined the Army and was stationed at the Savanna Army Ordnance Depot in Jo Daviess County, Illinois.
After WWII the McCardle family returned to Fresno, California in 1946, where they had extended family. Mike attended elementary and junior high schools there and in 1956 moved with his family to Lafayette, California, just east of and across the bay from San Francisco. In Lafayette he became very active with the Lafayette Methodist Church and attended Acalanes High School, lettering in both wrestling and football. During this time, he earned a Life Membership in the California Scholarship Federation. He graduated in 1958 and received academic scholarships to both Stanford University and the University of California (Berkeley). Following in his father’s footsteps, he entered Stanford. There, he studied physics and became the manager of the infamous Stanford Marching Band.
In late 1963, prior to graduating, Mike left Stanford and joined the US Army. He was assigned to the Army Security Agency and the National Security Agency. He attended an Honors NCO Academy and Officer’s Candidate School where he graduated as a First Lieutenant. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade of 101st Airborne Division and later went through Jump School, completing the fifth and final jump with a broken foot so he didn’t have to repeat the test. He then joined the Army Special Forces, the Green Berets. Mike served in Vietnam from the fall of 1967 to the end of 1968 earning the rank of Captain. While in Vietnam Mike’s father, a civilian contractor, had a brief stop in-country and they had a rare opportunity to have Christmas Eve dinner together at the firebase where Mike was stationed. It was a memory that Mike treasured and spoke of often. Mike was awarded two Bronze Stars, one with V for valor for heroic actions in combat.
He was always guarded about his military experiences in any relationship. He, like most battle veterans, was reluctant to speak with others unless they shared the same or similar experiences. He suffered greatly from PTSD and finally found peace and purpose at The PTSD Foundation’s Camp Hope, helping others cope with their own PTSD related problems. These relationships were a major source of comfort to him, exemplifying the motto “Physician – Heal Thyself”. These experiences, both good and bad, brought Mike closer to God and endowed him with great empathy for those suffering. His twenty years volunteering with Houston Hospice, dealing primarily with veterans, stand as testimony to his sense of duty to help others.
After returning from Vietnam and his discharge from the Army, Mike resumed his undergraduate studies at Stanford. He received his Bachelor’s in Geophysics in 1970 and two Master’s Degrees in 1972, one in Mineral Engineering and one in Geophysics which included a field seismic study of the then relatively unknown Mono Lake. A few years later, in 1978, Mike earned his MBA from The University of Houston.
In early 1972 Tenneco’s Mineral Division in California hired him as a geophysicist and the following year he was transferred to Tenneco’s Oil and Gas Company in Houston, Texas. For the next two years he worked both the Gulf Coast and Frontier Projects Divisions as a geophysicist. He joined Getty Oil’s Gulf Coast Division in Houston in 1976 and remained there for four years. 1980 brought a move to Lafayette, Louisiana and a new job as District Geophysicist for Union Texas Petroleum. A return to Houston to supervise a group with Sohio in 1983 gave Mike a chance to finally settle in one spot for more than five years. From the late 1980’s to the time of his death Mike continued to pursue his passion and enjoyment of geophysics as a consultant through his company, Explorer Group 1. He had a very deep understanding of Geophysics, and especially an intuitive knowledge of what could be a seismic representation of a good “Lead” or prospect. While Mike had many successful and profitable projects, his greater passion was the analysis and problem solving to get to an answer. He loved the work and the science.
On a project in Death Valley, California, Mike met his first wife Ruth Ann Barber. Married in 1973, they had four children: Kevin, the twins Erin and Meghan, and Tim. They divorced in 2000. Michael loved his children. He was heavily involved with sports with the boys and music with the girls. While Ruth Ann, a piano teacher, lead the way in teaching the girls music, Mike attended as many recitals and concerts as time allowed. Two good measures of a parent’s love are seeing its reflection in the child’s later memory and in the closeness that the adult child has with the parent. Tim, Mike’s youngest and now a nurse and First Lieutenant in the Air Force, said not long ago, “Dad would fight off and hide the pain from arthritis just to throw the baseball or hit grounders with his sons. Looking back when Dad and I had spoken about past experiences I could vaguely remember the slightest of cringes on his face as he would swing the bat or throw the ball. He never complained, he was just enjoying the little moments with me.” And, later in that same conversation while talking about adult life, Tim continued with, “He was also one of the easiest people to talk to, I fondly remember many occasions where we spent long hours talking and BS-ing about life, love, and all the crazy things that come our way, sometimes until the sun came up, and usually with a good drink in hand.”
Mike met fellow geophysicist Judy Schulenberg in late 2000 and they developed a friendship over many months; that friendship matured into a deep love and they married on November 22, 2003. While both enjoyed their work as geophysicists, Judy and Mike also loved singing with their church chancel choir at St. Luke’s United Methodist, where Mike also sang with the men’s choir, Veritas. They sang in the chorus for several summer operas at Lone Star College Kingwood and joined the Kingwood Chorale. People who knew them often referred to them as a “perfect fit”. Mike had a true love of animals all his life, which included a wide range of pets, most recently two “worthless” Shelties who adored him and continue waiting by the backdoor for him to come home at night.
Mike was active in the Houston Geological Society and served on the Continuing Education Committee for many years. He also served on the Outreach Committee of the Geophysical Society of Houston and was a member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. He was a Life Member of the University of Houston Alumni and the University of Houston College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics alumni and attended many functions of the local Stanford Alumni group. He was always a willing mentor to younger, less experienced geoscientists.
Mike was extremely well read and enjoyed friendly debates on subjects from philosophy and religion to sports and opera. He had a love of choral music and relished adding his bass voice to Kingwood Chorale’s production of Handel’s Messiah, which is where Mike and Judy celebrated their 16th and last anniversary. He loved gardening and red scratches on his arms and face often evidenced his beloved roses taking exception to his pruning shears. He loved working with kids and, not being known for doing things half-way, he became a leading Little League Umpire for Fort Bend County, gladly accepting all the joys and headaches that come with that job. He loved every minute of being there with the kids. He also enjoyed watching granddaughters, Larkin and Michayla, play softball in his last years. He was proud of his Irish heritage and was known for passing out green carnations to the ladies wherever he was working on St. Patrick’s Day, leading more than one colleague to deem him “The World’s Largest Leprechaun.”
Mike was a kind and loving individual, full of charity, but one who didn’t suffer fools gladly. A poster that once hung on his wall said, “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” It summed up Mike’s view of most of his involvements, “take charge of it, support it, or don’t waste someone else’s time or mine.”
After suffering an inoperable brain hemorrhage, Michael Frane McCardle departed this life at 3:12 PM on March 24, 2020 at the Methodist Williowbrook Hospital in Houston, Texas.
He is survived by and is greatly missed by his loving wife, Judy Schulenberg of Spring, Texas, and his children:
Kevin McCardle and wife Tasha of Katy, Texas and their daughters Larkin and Michayla;
Timothy McCardle and wife Tracy of San Antonio, Texas and their children Josh, Ben, and Annabelle;
Erin McCardle Chen and family of Boise, Idaho and Meghan McCardle Dahlin and family of Boise, Idaho.
Mike Schulenberg of Spring, Texas;
Dr. Stefan Schulenberg and wife Laura, of Oxford, Mississippi and their son Ezra.
Penelope Frane McCardle Kammeijer and husband Christiann Jan of Pleasanton, California.
Niece and Nephew:
Andrew Kammeijer of Pleasanton, California;
Rebecca Kammeijer McIntyre and husband Marc of Oakland, California and their sons Ian and Jack.
And many, many friends.
Mike can best be described by the following quote:
“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world…If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.” ― Raymond Chandler
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all you do be done in love.”
I Cor 16:1314 ESV
In lieu of flowers: while Mike and Judy both love flowers, the family would ask that donations be made to the following or a charity of your choice:
Camp Hope (PTSD Foundation of America)
9724 Derrington Road
Houston, TX 77064
ARRANGEMENTS are pending at this time and will be held at a time when the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, and Mike’s life can be celebrated with the honor he deserves; consult the following for announcements:
American Heritage Funeral Home
10710 Veterans Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77038
Many of you have “Mike Stories.” If you have one that you would like to share and/or an old photo of Mike, the family is collecting them to put into a pamphlet that will be given out at the Memorial Gathering. So, if you have a story and/or a photo send it to William Green (email@example.com).