Growing up in the 1950s in picturesque Huffman, various adults told Mike Carr he should either become a pastor or practice law. Wisely, he chose the law and now, after a lifetime of service to his community, Michael Ray Carr is the Lake Houston Chamber’s 2019 Haden McKay Citizen of the Year, named for long-time Humble mayor and physician, Dr. Haden E. McKay.
Carr, an icon in the Lake Houston community, was honored at the chamber’s annual Awards Extravaganza Jan. 24 at The Overlook in Atascocita.
“Mike is truly a deserving person,” said Jess Fields, Sr., last year’s McKay recipient who presented the prized award to Carr.
“I remember Mike as an Humble Wildcat football player when he was a 5-foot-7, 135-pound offensive lineman,” Fields recalled. “He normally was blocking against guys at least twice his size, but that didn’t stop his tenacious play. That’s how Mike has approached his business and his superb community involvement, with determination and tenacity.”
Humble Mayor Pro Tem Norman Funderburk, also a Citizen of the Year, was a couple years behind Carr but he also vividly recalls their time as Wildcats on the football field.
“He was a role model in every sense,” Funderburk said. “On the field and as a teammate, no one outworked him. He was a great competitor, tough and never quit.
He may have been undersized playing in the trenches, but he excelled because he played with such great heart.”
To become a Citizen of the Year, applicants must meet a rigorous list of criteria, including showing leadership in charitable causes and service organizations, working to build the community, and participating in political activities.
“The individual awarded the Haden McKay Citizen of the Year must be over age 21, a resident of the Lake Houston area, and recognized for selfless public service on their own time and not in the regular course of earning their living or advancing themselves,” said Jenna Armstrong, Lake Houston Chamber president. “As our 55th recipient, Mike Carr certainly exceeds those expectations.”
Mike Carr grew up in Huffman, attending elementary school there until seventh grade when he attended Humble Middle School because, at the time, Huffman only included the first six grades.
Carr is a graduate of Humble High’s Class of 1968 – notable as the first senior class with more than 100 graduates – and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration, cum laude, from the University of Houston and continued on as a Cougar to earn his law degree, a doctorate of jurisprudence magna cum laude.
“Mike was smart, made excellent grades because he applied himself in the classroom and made it a priority,” Funderburk said. “He was well-liked by everyone, treated others with respect and was fun to be around.”
After clerking for major Houston law firms, Vinson and Elkins and Prappas, Moncure, Harris and Eidman, Carr moved to Humble in 1980, struck out on his own and set up a solo practice specializing in real estate, wills and probate, commercial/business law, residential real estate law, commercial real estate law, and commercial litigation.
He married Barbara in 1993 and adopted her daughter, Joelle Jones, who lives in Friendswood, and Barbara adopted his two sons, Travis and Tyler, who both live in Austin.
“Mike has been a leading advocate for the Boy Scouts, Humble FFA, Humble Rotary, member of the Lake Houston Chamber .. just a few of the many organizations,” said Fields.
Funderburk added, “In terms of community service, Mike has quite a body of work including extensive legal support and services for the nonprofits in our community plus his work with the chamber, the Boy Scouts, Good Oil Days Festival and Rotary where he is the ultimate fundraiser.”
Fields and Funderburk hit the mark regarding Carr’s community service. He is a founding member of the Humble Noon Lions Club, a member of the Humble Rotary where records show he sold more than $23,000 in raffle tickets in 2017, and was president of the Main Street Business Association for more than 10 years, including chairing Humble’s Good Oil Days for 10 years.
Carr initiated the Humble Chili Festival, raising funds for the Humble Senior Center and the Boy Scouts, and helped resurrect the Humble Rodeo which had been canceled due to lack of funds.
Perhaps Carr’s most notable work was providing free legal services to numerous churches and charity organizations, including Humble Area Assistance Ministries, assisting them in relocating to their present location.
Carr received the Silver Beaver award from the Boy Scouts for his work with Troop 56 in Atascocita and Troop 9 in Humble for initiating the U.S. Flag Program, placing flags on residential subscribers’ homes while earning the troops thousands of dollars.
“Mike Carr is one of those individuals who’s always gone above and beyond to provide helpful advice and direction,” said fellow lawyer Malcolm Dishongh, who recently relocated his practice to Historic Downtown Humble. “He’s a pillar of the community, respected and influential. No one outworks him. He’s always willing to give back for the betterment of our community.”