Local businessman, philanthropist George P. Mitchell dies at 94

He started Mitchell Energy & Development Company

HOUSTON - Local businessman and real estate developer George P. Mitchell has died.

Mitchell's family said in a statement that he died of natural causes in Galveston surrounded by his family.

Mitchell was a Texas oil man and real estate king by trade, and one of Houston's wealthiest businessmen.  Most recently though, he was known more as a philanthropist.

Born and raised in Galveston, he founded Mitchell Energy & Development Company, an oil and gas company. In the 80s and 90s, that company pioneered new technology for drilling natural gas.

One thing he's known for recently is developing The Woodlands, the unincorporated township in Montgomery and Harris counties.

Mitchell and his wife, Cynthia, started the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation in 1977, and in the years following have pledged and given away more than $400 million in grants.

He died at his residence in the Tremont Hotel in Galveston. He was 94.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Gov. Rick Perry issued this statement:

"George Mitchell was a remarkable Texan whose pioneer spirit has truly changed the world, particularly when you consider how many people will live better lives across the globe because of his innovation. From revitalizing his hometown of Galveston, to creating the thriving community of the Woodlands, George has left a lasting footprint on our state, our citizens and our future. Anita joins me in offering our deepest condolences to his family and friends."

Mayor Annise Parker released the following statement:

"George Mitchell leaves a lasting legacy that includes community-building, philanthropy and a passion for the arts. His ambition and success have transformed our region, from The Strand in Galveston to building The Woodlands into a city of the future. He was a visionary, and showed his love for Houston through his work and hometown pride.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, as we commemorate his life and indelible contributions to Houston and the surrounding region."

Admiral Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Texas A&M University at Galveston released this statement:

"It is hard to express in words what George Mitchell meant to Texas A&M University at Galveston, its students, faculty and staff, and to me personally. To say he was a great man with foresight and generosity isn't enough. His contributions to this university literally made this institution possible. The very land it sits on was donated by Mr. Mitchell in honor of his mother and his support never waned. But more than that, it was his friendship that we shall always cherish. He will be deeply missed, but his spirit shall go on forever within this university."

The Houston Symphony released the following statement:

"Efforts are already underway at the Symphony to honor his longtime generosity by performing in a special memorial concert planned for August 8 at the Pavillion."

Click here to read the full statement from the Mitchell family.

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