Galveston-born businessman, billionaire developer and philanthropist George P. Mitchell died Friday morning at the age of 94, a family spokesman confirmed.
Mitchell grew up on the island and studied at Texas A&M University, where he graduated in 1940. Mitchell and his wife, Cynthia, are known as some of Texas A&M's most generous contributors. By 2011, they donated over $100 million to the university. An avid tennis player and a former captain of the A&M team, Mitchell contributed the funds to build the A&M tennis center. The George P. Mitchell Tennis Center cost it's namesake about $4.2 million and was completed in 1998. In 2009, Mitchell donated $35 million to his Alma mater to build two new buildings for the Texas A&M Physics department: George P. Mitchell Physics Building and the George P. and Cynthia W. Mitchell Fundamental Physics and Astronomy Building.
"The Aggie family mourns the loss of a great man and a great Aggie," Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin said.
He was a young lieutenant in the Army when he met his future wife on Thanksgiving 1941 while traveling by train from College Station to Houston.
At the height of World War II, Captain George Mitchell and Cynthia Woods were married by an Army chaplain in a double wedding with her twin sister and brother-in-law in 1943.
Their marriage and partnership spanned six decades with 10 children, 23 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
The Mitchell partnership was equally as prolific outside the home, developing major real estate and oil and gas holdings; creating a visionary new town, The Woodlands, and its premier outdoor performance arts venue, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
They were also key players in preserving and revitalizing their beloved Galveston Island and the couple is credited with bringing Mardi Gras back to Galveston in the 1980s.
In 2002, Cynthia was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She died in 2009 at 87 years old.
George poured resources and attention into Alzheimer's research, funding Dr. Claudio A. Soto's contributions at the George and Cynthia Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and the George P. and Cynthia Mitchell Center for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Brain Disorders at The University of Texas Health Science Center, and Dr. Rachelle S. Doody's work at Baylor College of Medicine.
The funeral arrangements are pending.
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