Catalin “Cat” Dragos Ivan, Ph.D, 53, of Houston, Texas, an adored father, beloved husband, friend to many, inventor, and patent holder, died May 31, 2022, at his home. Born February 19, 1969, as the only child to Aurel Ivan and Alexandrina Dutu Ivan in Ploiesti, Romania, he was educated at I.L. Caragiale High School in Ploiesti. There, he showed an early affinity for math, physics, music, poetry, and language, proving his lifelong love of learning and earning his renaissance man bona fides. He furthered his studies after high school and graduated first in his class with a degree in petroleum engineering at the Petroleum and Gas Institute in Romania. He met his wife, Doina, 33 years ago while attending University. Their relationship blossomed into marriage, and while together they completed postdoctoral work, immigrated from Romania to the United States, enjoyed career triumphs, attained American citizenship, welcomed their precious now twelve-year-old twins, Lauren Marie and Andrew Nicholas into the world, and built a community of family in Houston from other Romanian ex-pats, co-workers, neighbors, and parents at Annunciation Orthodox School.
Cat was known for being the life of every party. He brought a smile to everyone’s face with his quick wit and captivating storytelling about his many travels around the world. Cat enjoyed traveling both for pleasure and work, and never met a stranger in his travels. Cat was conversationally fluent in four languages and took pride in attempting phrases of greeting to his fellow world travelers. A consummate host, terrific friend, and wonderful raconteur, he had the unique ability to make every person he talked to feel like the most important person in the room.
Cat had a successful career as a petroleum engineer, working for a variety of companies both in Romania and in the United States. He started at MI-Swaco/Schlumberger, moved to Chevron and found his home with Exxon Mobil. An outside the box thinker, he was a team player whose colleagues loved him as much for his problem-solving skills as for his sincerity in learning about their lives outside of work. His body of work will live on in the patents he holds that will be used to further technology in the petroleum engineering field.
Cat was a man of many interests, several of which were lifelong, but some he adopted after becoming a Texan. He loved fishing (though he hated to eat fish), a good BBQ and a great red wine, Mexican food, but not avocados (he found out the hard way that he had a severe allergy), and sitting with his adored cats, Tica and Tonu.
More than anything, Cat beamed with pride for all the milestones and achievements his son and daughter accomplished. It is without dispute that Lauren and Andrew brought unparalleled joy to their father. From the time each child could draw a picture, Cat laminated the artwork and kept them to proudly display. Each year during winter holidays, he wrote a compendium of the children’s achievements during the last year. In 2019 he penned a delightful poem extoling the virtues of embracing “Plan C.” Simply stated, that plan involves embracing the triumphs and joys of parenthood. The poem exudes the love he shared for his family and contains valuable gems for parents everywhere:
The plan C is great, nothing to worry
You have to enjoy every breath, every path, every moment
Since life is the ultimate mix of joy, bliss, agony, and some torment
Do everything that makes the better of you
There is no one to ask for permission, so simply: Just Do!
He was an exceptional father. Undoubtedly, that was his favorite title of all. Doina and Cat shared a beautiful love story that will continue as their twins mature into young adults and take the life lessons he imparted upon them into the world.
Cat touched the lives of so many in his community, and we were all lucky to share moments of his brilliance, kindness, warmth, generosity, and love. In addition to Doina, Andrew and Lauren, Cat is survived by: his sister and brother-in-law, Nicole and John Ionescu, their children, Elizabeth, Andrei, and Chris, and his mother-in-law, Ioana Scarlatescu.
A visitation service will be held at Bradshaw-Carter Memorial and Funeral Home (1734 W. Alabama Street, Houston, Texas 77098) on Friday, June 10, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. A Trisagion prayer service in the Orthodox tradition will occur at 5:00 pm that night. A funeral service will be held Saturday, June 11, at 2:30 pm at Texas Liberty Mausoleum Chapel at Memorial Oaks (13001 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas 77079). A burial and reception will immediately follow.
An educational fund has been established for Andrew and Lauren at Bank of Texas. Anyone who wishes to honor Cat may consider a contribution to this educational fund. Donations are accepted at any branch location. Please make checks payable to “Doina Ivan Account.” Alternatively, checks can be mailed to the address shown below:
Bank of Texas
Attn: Allison Sullivan
3009 Post Oak Blvd Ste 1300
Houston, Texas 77056
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