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George P. Mitchell, 1919-2013

We are deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of George P. Mitchell, the founder of America’s bright, new energy future that has given it and the world even greater hope — present and future.

The following excerpt is from Mitchell Energy & Development Corp.’s annual report for fiscal 1996 ending March 30, 1996, that was filed April 30, 1996.

The 1996 annual report celebrated Mitchell Energy’s 50th anniversary.

The words the company’s employees expressed on this extra page in the report remain true today.

EXCERPT:

After a certain point in the annual report preparation process, the “Boss” normally turns his attention elsewhere. With that in mind, this salute to him on the occasion of the Company’s 50th anniversary was prepared at the last minute. He will learn of it only after the report has been distributed and it is too late for him to say, “Thank you, but no.”

GEORGE P. MITCHELL — FOUNDER

George Mitchell was asked a few years ago to name his proudest accomplishment. His answer was that his role in creating the Houston Advanced Research Center was most important because of HARC’s potential to benefit not only the Houston area, but the rest of the state, as well.

If asked the next day, he might very well have pointed to his accomplishments in the energy field: Building a company that has produced 2 trillion cubic feet of gas, created jobs for thousands and discovered hundreds of new fields.

But he might have said that he was proudest of building The Woodlands.

Or he could have said that his greatest satisfaction has come from rearing, with wife Cynthia, a large, close family, now grown into productive, responsible adults.

If, in the end, he selected HARC or energy or The Woodlands or his family, he’d be skipping over his role in helping to revitalize his home town of Galveston. Or chairing a task force of leading Texans to help his beloved Texas A&M plan its future. Or establishing programs that he hopes will come up with solutions to the many problems associated with unlimited population growth in the face of limited resources.

He is a restless, energetic and thoughtful citizen of the world, with achievements spanning the arts and sciences, industry and commerce, education and government. He’s led the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners and he’s an All-American Wildcatter. He and Cynthia give the Mitchell Prize to encourage research into environmental and growth issues. The University of Houston has awarded him an honorary doctorate. He has received high recognition from organizations ranging from the Horatio Alger Association to Texas A&M to the Boy Scouts, including election to the Texas Business Hall of Fame. He and Cynthia have provided a major endowment to the Houston Symphony. The list goes on and on.

Mitchell was born poor in Galveston, the son of immigrant Greek parents. Still, as with many aspiring immigrants, so it was with the Mitchell family: In America, the keys to the future lie in family, education, hard work, enterprise.

At age 16, he went off to Texas A&M. A mountainous academic load was no great problem, but he almost had to leave the university because of trouble meeting tuition and other expenses. He earned a degree in petroleum engineering (emphasis on geology), then soon went into World War II army service. He left the army in 1946 as a captain, became a geology and engineering consultant and started his whirlwind career of broad-ranging accomplishment.

If George Mitchell were given to sentiment, he might pause to reflect on the good things he’s done. But that’s not his style. Instead, with characteristic intensity, he continues to devote himself to building, solving, creating.


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