Airport Design Expert and Civil Engineer Adil Godiwalla, 72, Passes Away

Adil Godiwalla

Adil Godiwalla

By Amy Godiwalla

KLEIN, TX: Adil Godiwalla, whose name was synonymous with the Houston Airport system for many years and whose smiling countenance endeared him to many in the engineering and construction profession in the Bayou City passed away on Monday, December 16, 2013 in his home in Klein, a far northern suburb of Houston, due to heart failure.


Godiwalla was born to Minoo and Mehroo Godiwalla in Bombay, India on March 29, 1941 but spent most of his childhood growing up in the beautiful, quiet town of Jamshedpur, in the eastern state of Jharkhand in India, where his father worked for the famous Tata Group and his mother was a well-know caterer.  His parents felt that one of the greatest gifts one could give a child was an excellent education.  They made sure that Adil attended a good English-speaking school in Bangalore, India and lived with his Aunt while attending Bishop Cotton School, in Bangalore, which is affiliated to Cambridge University, UK.


Godiwalla went on to study at St. Joseph’s College in Darjeeling where he picked up a life-long affinity for his beloved Darjeeling tea.  He later attended Banaras Hindu University, in Banaras where he was the Captain of the cricket team.  He was known to be athletic, highly intelligent, and very fond of games and sports.

In 1965, he came to the United States to complete a Masters in Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri at Rolla.  On a trip back to Bombay, he met Arnavaz Bharucha of Bombay, and the two married on August 2, 1969, later returning to the US.  Together, the couple had four daughters, and later, six grandchildren.

Adil and Arnavaz first settled in Chicago, where Adil accepted a job with Pioneer Engineering.  They later moved to Pittsburg for an opportunity with Westinghouse-Tenneco Corporation designing offshore nuclear power plants and later transferred to Jacksonville, Florida with the same company.  In 1974, Adil settled in Houston, Texas working for Brown & Root, and later spent over 35 years working for the City of Houston.

Godiwalla’s early years with the City of Houston involved street and bridge design, and he was instrumental in designing much of Houston’s major intersections, roads, bridges, and sanitary storm sewers.  He later became an expert in airport engineering, and was instrumental in the design of terminals D and E at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the revamping of Hobby Airport, both in Houston, Texas.  His expertise was used globally as well, assisting airports in Ecuador and Costa Rica. After more than 35 years of service working for the City of Houston, Adil retired in October 6, 2012 and worked as a consultant. On his retirement, Houston Mayor Annise Parker issued a city proclamation making October 6, 2012 Adil Minoo Godiwalla Day.

People who worked with Adil Godiwalla described him as a genius; a brilliant, kind, quiet gentleman who had a great sense of humor and an extraordinary memory and was considered a legend in the Civil Engineering profession.  His boss likened him to “Encyclopedia Britannica.”  Some said that Godiwalla “ran the gamut” of Civil Engineering projects and design; his expertise was so diverse.

Godiwalla’s hobbies included martial arts, hunting, fishing, and a passion for following the weather and current events.  He was a devout Zoroastrian and was one of the co-founders of the Zoroastrian Association of Houston and supported many other Indian community activities.  He is often remembered as drinking his treasured Darjeeling tea, voraciously reading the Times of India, and keeping up with current events.

Godiwalla is survived by his wife Arnavaz who resides in Klein; daughters Shara and husband Cyrus of Chicago, Illinois; Shanaya and husband Barry of Lake Jackson, Texas; Nina and husband Boris of Houston and Amy and husband Shaun of Charlotte, North Carolina; brothers Yezdi and Kersi Godiwalla; and grandchildren Sabra, Summer, Daraius, Zubin, Zarina, and Landon.  Godiwalla will be remembered as a disciplined man, a devout Zoroastrian, a legend in the Civil Engineering field, and a loving father who made countless sacrifices for the benefit of his family and his community.