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Visionary Billionaire And Philanthropist George Mitchell Dies At 94

George Mitchell — the oil billionaire, founder of The Woodlands, and father of fracking, and Galveston native — has died at the age of 94. Mitchell is known for multiple accomplishments that radically changed Houston and Texas.


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If it’s not enough to make your fortune in oil, have ten children with the love of your life and donate hundreds of millions of dollars to various causes, then why not also develop the nation’s most successful master-planned community, bring Mardi Gras back to Galveston Island and invent horizontal drilling to completely revolutionize the oil and natural gas industry?

Those are just some of the accomplishments of George P. Mitchell.

“He was a brilliant man, he had a brilliant mind.”

That was Bruce Tough, Chairman of The Woodlands Township. Tough first met Mitchell through his father, Coulson Tough, who Mitchell recruited to help develop The Woodlands more than 40 years ago when the idea of an entirely planned community was a novelty.

“You have to be an amazing, futurist visionary to come up with that thought process and then to see it through. I mean it’s just something no one ever thought about. They tried it in Columbia, Maryland, they tried it in Reston, Virginia or Vine, California, but The Woodlands maintained the vision of George Mitchell. And that’s what makes it so exceptional.”

Mitchell was also responsible for the revitalization of Galveston’s historic district and Strand, and was the first to develop real estate on the Island’s West End.

He was born on the Island in 1919 to Greek immigrant parents.

He graduated first in his class from Texas A&M University and served as a captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Mitchell met Cynthia Woods on a train ride from College Station to Houston during WWII.

According to the University of Houston, where the Mitchells were major philanthropists, the two were married in a double ceremony with Cynthia’s twin sister in 1943.

State Senator Tommy Williams represents The Woodlands and says George and Cynthia were the kind of people who could envision a future that no one else could imagine.

“Together, they were wonderful philanthropists that were interested in making the world a better place. And you just don’t find people like that very often in this world. And he was a rare and unique individual and someone that we will all miss.”

Mitchell died of natural causes, in his hometown of Galveston.