CHUCK AYOUB: AN APPRECIATION OF LIFE
Chuck (Charles E) Ayoub passed away October 29, 2013, after a brief illness. He was surrounded by his beloved wife and daughter, along with his devoted St. Luke’s Medical Center colleagues and friends. He was 62 years old.
His memory will be honored at several services.
The first service will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday, November 5, 2013 in the Denton A. Cooley Auditorium (DAC), St. Luke’s Medical Center, 6720 Bertner Avenue, Houston, Texas .
The second memorial service and celebration of Chuck’s life will be held Thursday November 7, 2013, at 2 p.m. at Hayes Funeral Home, 10412 Highway 6, Santa Fe, Texas. For directions, call 409 925 3501 or consult the website: www.HayesFuneralHome.com.
Other more informal get-togethers with family, friends, and colleagues will occur later in November.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to:
*The St. Luke’s Medical Center Nursing Excellence Fund, St. Luke’s Foundation, 1213 Hermann Drive, Suite 855 (MC3-206) Houston, Texas 77004.
*The St. Luke’s Medical Center Excellence Fund, St. Luke’s Foundation, 1213 Hermann Drive, Suite 855 (MC3-206), Houston, Texas 77004.
*The Wesley Foundation at Sam Houston State University, 1632 University Avenue, Huntsville, Texas 77340.
Chuck is survived by hundreds of people who hold him very dear: Michelle Ayoub, his adoring wife, Kayleigh Ayoub and Scooter Johnson, his daughter and grandson, cousins Jack, Marianne, Mike, and Andy Ayoub, Judy Wright and Ben Fry, close family friends Sheyenne Krysher, and Cooky and Jim Oberg, along with legions of co-workers who were like brothers and sisters to him.
Everyone would agree that Chuck brought out the best in everybody, and provided an environment of trust and brotherhood in which people could grow their talents and abilities. He was very modest and humble, yet had the rare ability to connect with and communicate with workers, patients, contractors, families, executives across the St. Luke’s Medical Center, in order to build a cohesive team and provide the greatest health care possible. His abilities and talent in hospital facilities management earned him much recognition and many awards. His ideas and methods influenced the facilities engineering management field across the United States.
Chuck was born September 15, 1951 in Bar Harbor, Maine. His parents, David Crockett Ayoub and Cleo Ayoub, moved from Maine to the family’s home in San Benito, Texas, where they and their relatives were pillars of the community. David Ayoub owned many businesses in the area, and Chuck enjoyed an idyllic childhood filled with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. When Chuck was in high school, his parents relocated to the NASA area in Clear Lake, where his father was employed in the space program.
Chuck worked at various small jobs from age four onward. He would go to work with his father at a garage and check tire pressure for the customers, and do whatever else his father wanted him to do. Chuck loved working and being productive. Wherever there was a family business, Chuck worked odd jobs – loading groceries at a food store, grilling as a short order cook in a restaurant, fixing racks at a bowling alley, and finally, repairing balky equipment at an air conditioning company. He rose in the air conditioning company to management very quickly because he was able to master many crafts, and was a natural leader of any team. When he was 22, he got a job in refrigeration at St. Luke’s Hospital, and showed the same aptitude for hard work, mastery of many crafts, flexibility in dealing with all sorts of people and problems, and the ability to build and lead a team. At St. Luke’s he did many jobs, and rose through the supervisory ranks over the next 40 years, to the Director of Facilities Engineering.
Chuck was most proud of bringing St. Luke’s through the terrible flooding crisis of Hurricane Alison in 2001. The entire medical center of Houston flooded, and all the hospitals were disabled by the storm. Chuck also lost his own house in that flood. Nonetheless, his first concern was getting St. Luke’s up and running. He, his skilled crew, and his loyal contractors worked around the clock and got the hospital functioning in 11 days -- weeks and months ahead of the other Houston facilities. His profound mechanical and engineering understanding of the huge buildings, his remarkable ability to prioritize the overwhelming and complex number of tasks, and his amazing team-building abilities pulled off what everyone in the industry regarded as a miracle.
In his personal life, Chuck was always loved as a wonderful, fun-to-be-with guy. He met his wife, Michelle, at St. Luke’s in 1976. Michelle was a phlebotomist there, and Chuck was checking the refrigeration units in the blood bank. It was love at first sight. They got married May 19, 1978, and settled in Houston, and later Santa Fe, near his parents. Throughout their married life of 35 years, Michelle says, “There was no ‘me’ or ‘you’. There was only ‘us.’” Chuck and his daughter, Kayleigh, loved country music, and spent many hours discovering and listening to it. Both would also watch football games together, and would team up to barbecue and cook during half-time.
Chuck loved barbecuing, and got a reputation as the go-to guy for all barbecuing, both at home and at St. Luke’s. Apart from barbecuing everything so excellently, he also made a formidable chili, a delicious and original crawfish pie, and many other unforgettable dishes. Chuck couldn’t attend a dinner or a party, without bringing his renowned ribs and brisket. He owned eight different barbecue grills and smokers in order to get just the right flavor nuance to his meats. The bottom line is, he loved to feed people, and enjoy life with them.
He cherished his family, and his home life. He was the calm center of the universe through all the ups and downs. He especially loved having his grandson, Scooter, tag along with him wherever he went – a quiet influence on his young life. Once, Chuck worked for hours, teaching Scooter to take apart a little bike bell that Scooter wanted to have painted red. Together they cleaned the rust, painted it, assembled it, and installed it -- resulting in a perfect little red bell whose tone still rings pure and clear.
While family, friends, and co-workers grieve for Chuck’s loss, it is hard not to think of him without a profound kind of appreciation and joy. We all feel how lucky we are to have known him, and to have been around him as long as we were.
If there are many mansions in Heaven, as the Savior promised, it is comforting to think that Chuck will be there for us, fixing them all, and filling the wafting air with the hint of pecan and fruitwood smoke.
And if we are fortunate enough to see the Pearly Gates, one colleague remarked, he was sure Chuck is being sent to fix them and keep them in good working order, for the souls who will enter there.