Alan Potok

December 30, 1947 - January 3, 2022

Alan was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 30, 1947 to Walter Potok and Norma Leach Potok, (his beautiful war bride mother from Australia). He was the youngest of two boys having an older brother Guy. The family lived in Dearborn, Michigan.  Sadly, Alan & Guy’s mother Norma died of cancer in May of 1950.

In 1958, Alan and his family moved to Livonia, Michigan.  Alan graduated from Livonia Franklin High school in 1966 and attended the University of Michigan and became a life long Wolverine fan.  He graduated from U of M with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering  in 1970 and a Master of Science in Engineering in 1978.

In 1969 he met his future wife Cheryl on a blind date and after a whirlwind 3 months courtship, they were married. Three wonderful daughters were born over the next 10 years. Jenny in 1971, Mandy in 1973 and Kacy in 1979.

In 1971 he enlisted as a commissioned officer in the NOAA Corp and served until 1978. His assignments took him to Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and  Michigan. Not wanting to miss seeing his daughters grow up, he resigned his commission and entered private industry in the late seventies.    When the periodic economic downturn came to Michigan in 1981, he sent out resumes and got a job in Houston.  The move was supposed to be temporary but lasted over 40 years. He worked for the Engineering firm Turner, Collie and Braden which then was later acquired by AECOM Technologies. His first position was as a project director, followed by Vice President in charge of water resources, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President, and then ending his career at AECOM Technologies as the National Director of Water Resources.

He retired from AECOM in 2010 and took a job with Harris County Flood Control as the Director of Engineering and Construction and stayed there until 2014 before finally retiring for good.

On the personal side, he was very involved in his daughters’ lives and coached them in Soccer for many years enjoying the time with them and teaching them and many other Kingwood girls the many lessons to be learned through sports and teamwork.

One of his greatest pleasures was seeing his adored daughters marry their wonderful husbands and over the next eleven years getting three grandsons and three granddaughters who he was crazy about.

After retiring, he and Cheryl spent many happy weeks each year in La Jolla, California where they had a small condo near the ocean.  They took up pickleball and enjoyed playing together with wonderful friends both in Texas and California. He also took up the guitar and got quite good at it.

Alan was an incredibly smart and energetic person who always made things happen especially if he was told it couldn’t be done.  He had many amazing accomplishments in spite of fighting a twenty-four year battle with cancer with unstoppable determination and courage.

Alan is survived by his loving wife of fifty two years, Cheryl;  his three daughters, Jennifer (Todd) Caven, Amanda (Drake) Borer and Kathleen (Matt) Tindall; his grandchildren, Ben and Kate Caven, Hawkins and Trinity Borer, and Molly and Jack Tindall. He is also survived by his brother Guy (Patricia) Potok and their daughter Susan (Ed) Harrison and sister-in-law Patricia Priest and her sons Evan (Renee) Priest and Brady (Sarah) Priest and grand nieces and nephews, Noelle and Bradley Priest, Joseph and Henry Harrison and Charlie, Maddie and Abby Priest.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mothers Against Cancer at PO Box 5103 Kingwood, Texas 77325 or online at mothersagainstcancer.org or the charity of your choice.

Service Information

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 am on January 29, 2022 at the Good Shepherd Episcopal church at 2929 Woodland Hills Drive in Kingwood, Texas.

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71 replies on “Alan Potok”

Michael Reedy says:

I was very saddened to hear about the loss of Alan. Alan was my boss and mentor at Turner Collie and Braden. I learned a lot from Alan and was consistently amazed at his energy and intellect. He was always the smartest guy in the room and two to three steps ahead of everyone. I also found Alan to be a kind soul and a very loyal friend who I will miss. My heart and prayers go out to the whole Potok family.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you Mike. Alan always thought so highly of you.

Cheryl

Deborrah Ray says:

I met Alan and Cheryl when they joined our la Jolla pickleball group and they immediately fit in to our little group of pickleball players. Will miss Alan and so sorry for your loss to Cheryl and her family ❤️🙏🙏 🙏🌹
Deborrah

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you Deb. We both loved the Pickleball group in California.

Bob Rehak says:

I will never forget the image of Alan with his head bandaged as he explained flooding issues to 800 people at the Kingwood Community Center. Alan always fought to do the right thing! I will miss him.

Cheryl Potok says:

I recall that you were dealing with health problems too. He was a fighter and so are you.

Mary Andrews says:

One of the silver linings of this pandemic has been meeting and playing with Alan and Cheryl in our newly “pandemic formed” La Jolla Rec Center Pickleball group. They easily joined in ready to play including bringing their own net. Alan was a fierce and fun sharp shooting competitor sending precise speeding – impossible to return – shots! In one of our last conversations he had just seen the remake play of “Hair” which he loved. He seemed to be living in the moment enjoying and living life fully while battling cancer. Though our acquaintance was but a blip in his full and fruitful life, I will always be grateful for his friendship and inspired by his strong will and fortitude. Sending much love to the Potok family!

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you so much Mary. He really enjoyed playing there with such great people.

Burton Johnson says:

Cheryl – I worked with Alan on and off over the past 30 years. Alan was a brilliant engineer who thought at the highest level. I enjoyed just shooting the bull with him, about flooding, sports, or whatever. I know he enjoyed Michigan’s resurgence in football this year. You and your family will be in our prayers.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thanks Burton. Alan held you in highest regard.

tasha says:

Absent from the body is present with the Lord.
May the lord comfort his sweet bride, Cheryl; his three daughters, Jennifer (Todd) Caven, Amanda (Drake) Borer and Kathleen (Matt) Tindall; his grandchildren.

georganna collins says:

my sincere condolence. I worked with Alan for more than 10 years while at TCB and when it transitioned to AECOM. He was a big supporter of my innovative environmental + engineering ideas which have become main stream and natural and nature-based features to reduce flood risks. His support has had lasting affects on propelling my career and I will remember him fondly.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you. As the father of daughters, he really liked seeing the lady engineers excel.
He always had good things to say about them.

Jeff Edwards says:

Alan and Cheryl are much loved and highly valued members of our condo community in La Jolla. They have both helped the HOA immensely, with Alan volunteering and serving on the board, various committees, and even negotiating some very important vendor contracts. He was a trusted advisor to me personally and I deeply valued his support and encouragement over the years. We are all heartbroken with his passing, after he fought so hard. Alan will be greatly missed and we are very thankful for the many contributions of time, professional skills, and friendship from both he and Cheryl.

Cheryl Potok says:

What a nice post Jeff. Thank you

Becky Olive says:

Cheryl & family, I am so saddened to hear about Alan. I worked with him for many years at TC&B/AECOM and learned so much from him. He was a brilliant visionary; always thinking ahead for the next best thing we could do for our clients and our community. He strove for excellence and expected his team to do the same. But he was also a compassionate human being; always looking out for his team and treating them fairly. I was lucky to have worked with him. Please know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you all. Take care of each other.

Cheryl Potok says:

He was thrilled when you became a project director. He always thought so highly of you.

Fernando Garcia says:

I had the pleasure and opportunity to meet Alan during Tennis and Golf tournaments, it was very impressive to learn his courage and determination to play both sports well, even he was undergoing medical treatment, for at least 5 years.
he was a fighter that deserves all my respects and admiration; an example. RIP

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you so much

Lonnie Anderson says:

I am so sorry to hear this. Alan was a great mentor to me and someone I also considered a friend. I have fond memories working, socializing and having Michigan/Nebraska football talks with Alan over the last 20 something years. I regret not keeping in closer touch with him over the last few years. Prayers to Cheryl and the family. He will be greatly missed.

Cheryl Potok says:

He was so very find if you and always talked about how smart you were.

Cheryl Potok says:

Fat fingers. That would be fond of you.

Mark Urban says:

My prayers for Cheryl and family at this sad time. I miss playing Pball with him in Kingwood….he and Cheryl were so kind and patient with newbies. I admire his strong convictions and love for his family.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thanks Mark

Don Schroeder says:

Cheryl, I extend my deepest sympathy to you and your family in the passing away of Alan. We moved to the area a few years ago and I enjoyed playing tennis with Alan on Thursday night. I pray the Lord will comfort you and give you peace in the days ahead.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you so much

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you Don

Wendy and David Wardlow says:

Alan fiercely embraced all life had to offer applying his curious mind and keen intellect to tackling engineering problems, determining the most strategic golf or pickleball shots, learning the guitar or creating the perfect martini. He attained mastery of all. Alan was courageous and tenacious rising as a community leader after losing his home in a flood. He displayed indefatigable spirit whether on a playing field or fighting for his life. Alan always was engaged and always was present. However, what most clearly defined Alan was his deep, abiding love for his family and friends. Alan’s love for Cheryl, his girls and his entire family was palpable and will surpass the limits of time and space. We were blessed to be his friend and mourn his loss. God bless his precious soul.

Cheryl Potok says:

What a beautiful tribute my friend.

Carol Kollehner says:

Such a kind man who loved his family so
much. Loved seeing Cheryl and Alan playing pickle ball many mornings in Kingwood. What a legacy Alan has left with his 3 daughters and family’s. God bless you all as you deal with his loss. He will be missed. Praying for all of you. He was so generous to MAC and it was greatly appreciated.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you for your kind words Carol

Carl Sepulveda says:

Alan, you definitely left your impression and mark on our engineering community and many of us who worked with and for you. My deepest sympathies to the family.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you.

Jimmy L Kosclski says:

My Condolences to Alan’s family on his passing. I worked with Alan, initially beginning in 1985, when I first came to Turner Collie & Braden from the US Corps of Engineers, first doing water resources/flood control studies at TC&B with him, until my retirement in 2004 from AECOM when I was then performing environmental planning studies at the company. I can remember many lunches we had during those early years discussing daily events in both the country and at TC&B. My prayers go out to his family.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you

Scott Teeters says:

Sending sincerest condolences to you and your daughters. Funny enough he’s still “Mr. Potok” in my head having essentially grown up around him. He also was gracious enough to give me an engineering internship that eventually turned into career. I have no idea what path I would be on if he hadn’t given me the opportunity so many years ago. Sending you all my best.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thanks Scott. He touched so many lives.

Tony Sartori says:

I worked with Alan for 25 years at TCB/AECOM. I loved brainstorming with him on H&H projects. He was a brilliant engineer. But the thing I admired most about Alan was his dedication to his family and how proud he was of his daughters becoming such great athletes and getting soccer scholarship. I have two daughters that became great volleyball players and Alan was my inspiration. He touched so many lives, may God continue to bless you all.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you.

Robin Lawrence says:

Potok family, I’m so sad to hear of your loss. Alan was a wonderful man. We cherish all the years we’ve known your family through school and soccer. I know he will be missed. I pray for peace and comfort for your sweet family. 🙏🙏

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you Robin. We sure had a lot of fun with you and your family.

Alemayehu W Gebriel says:

I meet Alan in 1996 in Fort Worth Turner Colie Braden Office the first time. My carrier followed him to the HCFCD until he retires. He is a brilliant Engineer and very compassionate person. Let his soul rest in peace and my payers for the family.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you

Jim Pinkerton says:

Nancy and I are very saddened about the death of Alan. We know the fought the good fight. He was dear friend of Kingwood Soccer and will be missed by a lot of folks. You knew he always cared about the girls.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thanks Jim & Nancy,
He loved coaching the girls and always was concerned about them learning and having a good time. He touched a lot of lives.

Denise Rood Skuldt says:

Cheryl, Alan certainly was a loving
husband and father. What a blessing
he was to all of you and so many others
here in Kingwood.
I am sorry for your loss, but know that you
have years of wonderful memories to help
you through this time.
Hugs, Denise Rood

Cheryl Potok says:

Thanks Denise,
The outpouring of love and support from family and friends is so very comforting.

Frank Watkins says:

Moving to Kingwood with my family in 1990 was one of the happiest days in my life. The other was meeting my next door neighbor Alan Potok. Michigan meets Louisiana! We shared many crawfish boils with our kids & neighbors in the cul-de-sac. Hunters Ridge was life at its best. Alan introduced me to his famous margaritas. I’m thinking a yankee from Michigan making margaritas 🤔. Hands down the best I ever tasted and to those I share one with! Alan never gave up at any challenge confronting him! This goes right along with his long battle with cancer. He was determined to live longer than a cat with nine lives and did. Alan was at his best when things were worst! A beautiful person. He will be missed but not forgotten. RIP my dear friend.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you Frank. That was beautiful.

Cheryl

Tamara Whitsed (Potten) says:

I meet my mum’s cousin Alan, his wife Cheryl & children twenty years ago. I affectionatly referred to him as Uncle Alan even though he techically wasn’t. I was welcomed into the family instantly on a vacation to Houston at Chritsmas & felt like one of the girls, it feels like only yesterday.
Alan & I formed a close bond with our deep conversations about the past. Enjoying time eating Tex Mex, playing golf & day trip to Galveston.
We had kept in touch through social media enjoying photo’s of the family growing up.
My condelences, thoughts, love & prayers is with you & the family. I hope that he is at peace & that you can find some too. All my love Tamara.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you. You felt like one of the girls instantly. So glad you came all the way from Australia to spend time with us. We all love you!

Lisa (Evrard) Lovoi says:

Alan (“Mr. Potok”) was my soccer coach for several years growing up-I was on several teams with and in the same grade as Jenny. I have such fond memories of him as a coach, when he was somehow able to walk that line with us between being demanding and kind. I also remember our entire team, including Alan, getting stuck in an elevator at a tournament in Beaumont and he (somehow) kept his cool for the 30 minutes until we were “rescued!” Coincidentally, I was sitting in a meeting in about 1999 for a lawsuit my firm was handling and I looked down the table and immediately recognized Alan. After the meeting, I went up to reintroduce myself and we were able to talk about the good ol’ days for several minutes. It was so great to reconnect with him and he was the same friendly face I remembered from growing up. All of my condolences and best to your whole family.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you Lisa. I remember when Alan saw you in court. He was impressed and commented that you were always so smart.

Denny W. Fisher says:

Cheryl, Donna and I are deeply saddened on the passing of Alan. I met him through the Saturday morning golf group wearing his (Lawrence of Arabia) hat and his motorized pull cart. He was also instrumental in convincing us to play pickleball which has been enjoyable over the years! It was a pleasure talking and playing golf, pickleball
with Alan over the years!! He will be missed by many.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thanks Denny, he really liked you and was always so amazed at your energy. We were lucky to have so much fun with you and Donna.

Michelle (Crofts) Akers says:

I am so deeply saddened and extend my condolences to Mrs. Potok, Jenny, Mandy and KC. Mr. Potok was the best. He was so much more than a coach to me and to so many others. He helped shape the person I am today. Jenny (Belger) Hitt and I were just telling stories about our soccer days with the Potoks. Such wonderful memories. I hope he and my dad will meet up for drinks up there.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you Michelle. I hope they do too.

Shannon Massey Ponthier says:

Mr. Potok was such a wonderful man! He was my soccer coach for many years where he taught us so many life lessons there on the field! Potok family you are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. May Gods love and presence be felt by all of you.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you Shannon

Nicole Folino says:

I was so lucky to have Mr. Potok as my soccer coach in middle school and spend so many years playing with Mandy. I was just telling my 7year old son last week about how my “old soccer” coach is one of the people that I would remember forever because Mr. Potok not only taught me soccer skills – he taught me how to be a friend, team player, perseverance, and most of all good sportsmanship. He made an impact on many young lives and was a very special person. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you

Rick Smith says:

We are very saddened at the news of Alan’s passing.
He was such a wonderful man it’s hard to find the right words to describe him. I knew the Potok through Kingwood soccer and had the privilege to play with Alan and Cheryl in the TORSO league. Like all the people who crossed Alan’s path….. he left his mark!!!!
And that my friends was such a good thing.
I could go on but….. I know Alan will be especially missed by his fantastic family and lovely wife………please remember that you/ we will see him again!
God bless you all and may God’s love comfort you!

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you

Bob Atteberry says:

I so enjoyed being the neighbor of the Potok family in Hunters Ridge. Alan and I went on some bike rides and he was always so nice to me and family. Hugs and prayers to entire Potok family!

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you

Barbara Harris says:

To all of the family prayers blessings and love from Bill and me .

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you

Neil & Barbara Bishop says:

Alan was one of the finest individuals we have had the privilege to work with. He was dedicated to his employer, clients, and coworkers. It was an honor to have known him.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you

Randy Bassett says:

My most sincere sympathies Cheryl and family.
I wish you comfort and healing.

Cheryl Potok says:

Thank you Randy

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