Lone Star Life: Images of Montgomery County

A photographic portrait of Montgomery County, Texas, paired with profiles of companies that have helped make the county great.

A photographic portrait of Montgomery County, Texas, paired with profiles of companies that have helped make the county great.


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A Publication <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />



Thank you for your interest in this HPNbooks publication. For more information about other HPNbooks publications, or<br />

information about producing your own book with us, please visit www.hpnbooks.com.



HPNbooks<br />

A division <strong>of</strong> Lammert Incorporated<br />

San Antonio, Texas




May all <strong>of</strong> your heart’s desires come to pass, too.<br />

I love each one <strong>of</strong> you more than you can imagine.<br />


Thank you for the creativity gene and for all your support<br />

on this book project. Thank you for pushing me to succeed.<br />

I love you.<br />


Thank you for inspiring me with your own passion for<br />

taking pictures and passing down the photography gene.<br />

I love you and miss you.<br />

First Edition<br />

Copyright © 2017 HPNbooks<br />

All rights reserved. No part <strong>of</strong> this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing from the publisher.<br />

All inquiries should be addressed to HPNbooks, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790, www.hpnbooks.com.<br />

ISBN: 978-1-944891-41-1<br />

Library <strong>of</strong> Congress: 2017957752<br />

<strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> <strong>Life</strong>: <strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

photographer/author: Kimberly Sutton<br />

designer: Glenda Tarazon Krouse<br />

book cover design: Hallaron Media, The Woodlands<br />

contributing writers for <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> partners: Becca Nelson Sankey, Kimberly Sutton<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

2<br />

HPNbooks<br />

president: Ron Lammert<br />

project manager: Curtis Courtney<br />

administration: Donna M. Mata, Lori K. Smith, Melissa G. Quinn, Kristin T. Williamson<br />

book sales: Joe Neely<br />

production: Colin Hart, Evelyn Hart, Tim Lippard, Craig Mitchell, Tony Quinn, Christopher D. Sturdevant

Legacy Partners..........................................................................4<br />

Contents<br />

Introduction by Judge Craig Doyal..........................................5<br />

Introduction by Kimberly Sutton .............................................6<br />

Chapter 1 A Community Rich in Heritage .......................8<br />

Chapter 2 A Community <strong>of</strong> Quality ................................20<br />

Chapter 3<br />

Chapter 4<br />

A Community <strong>of</strong> Interests...............................40<br />

A Community <strong>of</strong> Diverse Skills......................62<br />

Chapter 5 A Community Positioned for the Future ....72<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Partners ................................................82<br />

Sponsors.................................................................................142<br />

About the Photographer and Author...................................143<br />




Through their generous support, these companies helped to make this project possible.<br />

Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank-Conroe<br />

1836 Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Way (815 West Davis Street)<br />

Conroe, Texas 77301<br />

936-538-1000<br />

www.sotb.com<br />

Three locations in The Woodlands<br />

1525 Lake Front Circle<br />

16610 North Freeway<br />

6886 Woodlands Parkway<br />

And in Magnolia, Texas at 6910 FM 1488<br />

Buckalew Chevrolet, LP<br />

1100 1-45 South at Gladstell<br />

Conroe, Texas 77304<br />

936-756-5581<br />

www.buckalewchevrolet.com<br />

San Jacinto River Authority<br />

1577 Dam Site Road<br />

Conroe, Texas 77304<br />

936-828-0285<br />

www.sjra.net<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


East <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Improvement District<br />

21575 U.S. Highway 59 North, Suite 200<br />

New Caney, Texas 77357<br />

281-354-4419<br />

www.emctx.com<br />

Southwestern Imaging<br />

25275 Budde Road, Suite 5<br />

Spring, Texas 77380<br />

888-295-2367<br />

www.swissnm.com<br />

A Dean & Draper Company<br />

The Woodlands Development Company<br />

A Division <strong>of</strong> The Howard Hughes Corporation ®<br />

Two Hughes Landing<br />

1790 Hughes Landing Boulevard, Suite 600<br />

The Woodlands, Texas 77380<br />

281-719-6100<br />

www.TheWoodlands.com<br />

Soules Insurance Agency, LP<br />

701 North San Jacinto Street<br />

Conroe, Texas 77301<br />

936-756-0671<br />

www.soulesinsurance.com<br />



Introduction by Judge Craig Doyal<br />

Welcome to <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, the seventh-fastest<br />

growing county in the nation and a thriving community<br />

that has become a great place to raise families and run a<br />

business or develop a career. From The Woodlands to<br />

Willis to historic <strong>Montgomery</strong> and the waters <strong>of</strong> a sprawling<br />

Lake Conroe, the Office <strong>of</strong> <strong>County</strong> Judge wants to<br />

welcome you to a place where the phrase “quality <strong>of</strong> life”<br />

has kept its meaning.<br />

As a fourth generation <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> resident, and<br />

a husband, father and grandfather, it is as important to me<br />

as it is to you to have a community where our children<br />

are challenged to learn, encouraged to seek their dreams<br />

and are supported with facilities and services that are<br />

conducive to a safe and nourishing environment. If all <strong>of</strong><br />

us work together we can accomplish these goals.<br />

Judge Craig Doyal<br />

✩<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Judge Craig Doyal sits on the porch <strong>of</strong> his father’s homestead on Main Street in Conroe.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Introduction by Kimberly Sutton<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> holds a unique place on the Texas<br />

map—and in the hearts <strong>of</strong> the people who call it home—<br />

the birthplace <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Lone</strong> State Flag. After winning approval<br />

by a committee <strong>of</strong> six signers <strong>of</strong> the Texas Declaration <strong>of</strong><br />

Independence and then Congress, the flag was <strong>of</strong>ficially<br />

designated in 1839, and since that time it has graced<br />

flagpoles across the state <strong>of</strong> Texas. <strong>County</strong> residents are<br />

proud <strong>of</strong> that fact.<br />

Today, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is a mixture <strong>of</strong> the past and<br />

the present. Various state historical markers are spread<br />

around from one side to the other for the historians,<br />

and countless recreational attractions, annual festivals,<br />

varied retail shops and restaurants are open for the<br />

families who want something to do when not at school<br />

or work. New businesses and corporations are settling in<br />

and new housing developments are being built on the<br />

outskirts <strong>of</strong> each city in the county to accommodate those<br />

who are moving to <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> each month.<br />

For those who live in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, we have the<br />

best <strong>of</strong> both worlds…the city and the country life. One can<br />

spend the day shopping at high-end boutiques or eating in<br />

fine restaurants and be home within 15 to 30 minutes to<br />

tend to their animals, whether it is cattle, horses or furry<br />

canines and felines. Downtown Houston is only a 45-minute<br />

drive to attend sports events, theatre and concerts, and<br />

Galveston <strong>of</strong>fers a quick weekend getaway at the beach.<br />

When I first moved to Conroe in 1980, I had never seen<br />

such tall, beautiful pines before, just what Captain Isaac<br />

Conroe thought, too. As the founding father <strong>of</strong> Conroe,<br />

the county seat <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, he established his<br />

first sawmill in 1881 where he cut, dried in wood-burning<br />

kilns, processed and sold virgin pine timber, according to<br />

the Texas Historical Association.<br />

Many other sawmills started all over the county, where,<br />

at its peak, logging brought in about $3 million each year<br />

and employed around 4,000 workers, according to the<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Genealogical Society.<br />

In the years since Conroe established that first sawmill,<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> has grown from a fledgling population<br />

<strong>of</strong> 10,154 to more than 540,000 people.<br />

Over a year’s time, I traveled from the west side <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> to the east side <strong>of</strong> Splendora and New Caney<br />

and took photos <strong>of</strong> the people, the sights and the countryside.<br />

I traveled north <strong>of</strong> Willis to the county line and<br />

down past The Woodlands. I went down country roads to<br />

Magnolia and then traveled to the edge <strong>of</strong> the county line<br />

to see the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Trail. Conroe and the people who live<br />

there hold a special place in my heart; so many photos were<br />

taken there, in the heart <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. I took<br />

thousands <strong>of</strong> photos, capturing every aspect <strong>of</strong> life in<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, but not all could be used in this book.<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is a great place to live and raise a<br />

family. It is a place <strong>of</strong> great schools and teachers, various<br />

talented and caring people, dedicated law enforcement<br />

and first responders, and beautiful landscapes, whether<br />

rural or urban, as you will see on the following pages <strong>of</strong><br />

this book.<br />

The people <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> are friendly and will<br />

make you feel right at home. I hope you enjoy looking at<br />

the pages <strong>of</strong> this book.<br />

With love,<br />

Kimberly Sutton<br />

www.kimberlymsutton.com<br />



chapter<br />

1<br />

A Community<br />

Rich in Heritage<br />

✩<br />

Heading into the city <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong>, motorists on Highway 105 West are<br />

greeted by this sign in the more rural part <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />


<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is home to the birthplace <strong>of</strong> the Texas flag. In 1997, the Texas House <strong>of</strong> Representatives <strong>of</strong> the<br />

75th Texas Legislature <strong>of</strong>ficially commemorated <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Texas, as the birthplace <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Flag <strong>of</strong> Texas.<br />

Dr. Charles B. Stewart designed the banner and the Seal <strong>of</strong> Texas in <strong>Montgomery</strong>, Texas, in 1839, according to historians.<br />

Before that, Stewart attended the Texian Independence Convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 1, 1836, as a<br />

delegate. He and the other delegates to the convention declared Texas independent from Mexico on March 2, 1836.<br />

Stewart had served as the first Secretary <strong>of</strong> State <strong>of</strong> Texas, was an active member <strong>of</strong> the convention where he signed the<br />

Texas Declaration <strong>of</strong> Independence and was a member <strong>of</strong> the committee that drafted the Constitution <strong>of</strong> the Republic <strong>of</strong> Texas.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />




The <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Monument and Historical Flag Park,<br />

located next to the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Central Library,<br />

showcases <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> as the birthplace <strong>of</strong> the<br />

<strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Flag with the flags that depict those that flew<br />

during Texas’ fight for independence. A fourteen-foot bronze<br />

known as The Texian, conceived and sculpted by artist<br />

Craig Campobella, serves as the centerpiece. A bronze bust<br />

dedicated to Dr. Charles B. Stewart, the <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> native credited with the design <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong><br />

Flag, greets visitors at the park’s entrance.<br />

✩<br />

Top, left: A bust <strong>of</strong> Charles Stewart, the designer <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Flag, was sculpted by Craig Campobella<br />

and placed at the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Flag Park in Conroe, next to the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Central Library.<br />

Above: The Texian statue, sculpted by Craig Campobella, is located at the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Flag Park in<br />

Conroe. Texian is defined as a resident <strong>of</strong> Mexican Texas and the Republic <strong>of</strong> Texas and the same region<br />

after annexation by the United States <strong>of</strong> America in 1845. In addition to Texian, several other names were<br />

used during the period, including Texasian, Texilingan, Texican, and Texonian.<br />

Left: Located in the heart <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, The <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Monument and Historical Flag Park<br />

welcomes visitors to <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> as the birthplace <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Flag. With flying historical<br />

battle and rally flags that represent those that flew during the state’s fight for independence, visitors can<br />

get up close and personal to a fourteen-foot bronze known as The Texian, conceived and sculpted by<br />

Conroe artist Craig Campobella. A bronze bust <strong>of</strong> Dr. Charles B. Stewart,<br />

the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> native credited with the design <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Flag,<br />

greets visitors at the park’s entrance.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />


✩<br />

A statue <strong>of</strong> children playing was donated by Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank<br />

in honor <strong>of</strong> the many children who are placed in the custody <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Child Protective Services.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />



“Conroe is the fastest growing city in the U.S.,” according to the 2017 U.S. Census.<br />

Conroe is the county seat and political hub <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Primarily a Republican county for more than fifty<br />

years, the county’s sheriff’s department, county jail, courthouse<br />

and political headquarters are all located within the city.<br />

The city is named after Northern-born Union Cavalry<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer and Houston lumberman Isaac Conroe, according to<br />

the Texas State Historical Commission. Conroe founded a<br />

sawmill there in 1881. The city originally gained in wealth<br />

due to the lumber and oil industries. Originally named<br />

“Conroe’s Switch”, the area saw an inflow <strong>of</strong> residents in the<br />

late nineteenth century due to the lumber demands <strong>of</strong> the<br />

piney wood forest <strong>of</strong> the area.<br />

During the 1930s, because<br />

<strong>of</strong> oil pr<strong>of</strong>its, the city boasted<br />

more millionaires per capita<br />

than any other U.S. city,<br />

though only briefly, according<br />

to the TSHC.<br />

✩<br />

Left: Residents proud <strong>of</strong> their Texas heritage have painted their garage with the<br />

state flag. The <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Flag was designed and birthed in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

and is now flown all over Texas.<br />

Bottom, left: The <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Flag is flown before the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Rodeo<br />

at the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Arena in Conroe.<br />

Center: A rodeo clown poses in the middle <strong>of</strong> the rodeo area under the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong><br />

Flag before showtime.<br />

Bottom: A horse and rider run through the rodeo<br />

arena after the National Anthem is sung during<br />

the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair and<br />

Rodeo. The annual event is held<br />

in the spring and raises scholarship<br />

funds for local students.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />


Pegasus the flying horse that flew over Clanton’s Service Station in downtown<br />

Conroe now flies in front <strong>of</strong> the Heritage Museum <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, along the<br />

I-45 corridor, as a result <strong>of</strong> the generosity and combined efforts <strong>of</strong> the William (Bill)<br />

Conroe family and the Conroe Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Pegasus symbol<br />

was adopted as a trademark in the United States in 1931 as a symbol <strong>of</strong> speed<br />

and power. Gasoline dealers displayed the emblem at their Mobil stations across<br />

the country, according to Bob Davis, <strong>of</strong> Exxon Mobil. For residents who lived in<br />

Conroe in the 1940s and ’50s, the station was home to the brightly lit, red Pegasus.<br />

The station was operated by Russ Clanton at the corner <strong>of</strong> Frazier and Davis Streets.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


The Heritage Museum <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> in Conroe near Candy Cane Park began in 1985<br />

and features exhibits chronicling the county’s roots, from the lumber and oil industries to the everyday<br />

lives <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> residents.<br />

It is housed in the historic Grogan/Cochran home, built in 1924. These two families owned and<br />

operated twenty-five sawmills over the years. One <strong>of</strong> the first to open in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> was<br />

in 1917 where The Woodlands is located today. J. G. Grogan built this home in downtown Conroe.<br />

He and his family moved into it in 1924. A year later Mrs. Grogan died and he sold it to his sister<br />

and her husband, Laura and Terrell Cochran. Four generations <strong>of</strong> the Cochran family occupied the<br />

home until the last descendant and owner Carolyn Meadows Walker, along with her husband Andy<br />

and their son Andrew, donated it to be used for a museum. The home was moved to Candy Cane<br />

Park in Conroe in 1985 to create the Heritage Museum <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Located in front <strong>of</strong> the museum is the Pegasus horse neon sign that stood atop the old Mobil<br />

Station located on the northwest corner <strong>of</strong> SH 105 and US 75 during the twentieth century,<br />

according to local historians. Passersby on I-45 will see it lit at night. The Pegasus was donated<br />

to the Heritage Museum <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> by the William C. (Bill) Conroe family.<br />

This Pegasus flew on top <strong>of</strong> the Conroe Mobil Gas Service Station dating from the early 1930s,<br />

at the corner <strong>of</strong> Frazier and Phillips Streets. This thoroughfare, Frazier or US Highway 75,<br />

was the main highway between Houston and Dallas before Interstate 45 was completed.<br />

Visitors to the museum can view a model <strong>of</strong> Dr. Charles B. Stewart’s <strong>of</strong>fice and his drawing<br />

<strong>of</strong> the flag and seal, and an original land grant signed by President Sam Houston. Besides<br />

designing the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> flag, Stewart also served as the first Secretary <strong>of</strong> State to the Republic<br />

<strong>of</strong> Texas, according to The Heritage Museum <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Other interesting outdoor exhibits include a train, an antique tractor, a vintage cannon,<br />

a real“peckerwood” sawmill, a trough, an oil rig and a bronze bust <strong>of</strong> “Joe Roughneck.”<br />

✩<br />

Former <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Judge Alan “Barb” Sadler was in <strong>of</strong>fice for more than twenty years, was raised in Conroe and<br />

graduated from Conroe High School. Sadler’s greatest achievements while in <strong>of</strong>fice were the county’s library system and the<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fairgrounds. According to Sadler, he helped ensure the passage <strong>of</strong> several bond referendums, which<br />

funded the construction <strong>of</strong> five libraries, and helped spearhead the creation <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Convention & Expo Center at the<br />

fairgrounds. He retired in 2014. His father was a well-known doctor in Conroe, Dr. Deane Sadler. Dr. Sadler moved to Conroe<br />

in 1946 where he started his medical practice at the Falvie Holland Clinic. In the early ’50s Dr. Sadler, Dr. Irving Watson and<br />

Dr. Wally Wilkerson started the Sadler Clinic on Avenue G and Crook Street in Conroe.<br />

Dr. Sadler was a leader in the early stages <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Association CHAPTER 1<br />

and the Texas Medical Association.<br />


✩<br />

Right: The Shelton-Smith House in <strong>Montgomery</strong> was<br />

built in the 1850s by John E. Shelton, a master craftsman,<br />

who built the main portion <strong>of</strong> the house around 1858<br />

for his friend Thomas W. Smith who was a major cigar<br />

manufacturer in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. In 2000, Richard<br />

and Mary Eckhart purchased the property, restored it,<br />

and opened it in 2006 as the Caroline House. The slave<br />

quarters still stand. It was originally a one room box<br />

house with dirt floors and a front and back porch.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Right: Mock’s Grocery: Mock’s Grocery, named for the Mock family, closed in 2016<br />

after seventy-five years <strong>of</strong> business in the Dobbin area. Dobbin is on Lake Creek at<br />

the junction <strong>of</strong> the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, the Burlington Northern, and the<br />

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroads, near the intersection <strong>of</strong> State Highway 105<br />

and Farm Road 1486 in western <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. The earliest mention <strong>of</strong> the area<br />

comes from the French explorer René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, who camped<br />

northwest <strong>of</strong> the site <strong>of</strong> Dobbin on February 14, 1687. One <strong>of</strong> the first families to settle<br />

in the area was that <strong>of</strong> Noah and Ester Wightman Griffith, natives <strong>of</strong> New York state,<br />

who received a Mexican land grant there in 1831, according to historians.<br />

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> was home to several<br />

large sawmills, dry good stores, saloons, barbershops, ice cream stores, telephone<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice, banks, hotels, boarding homes, doctor’s <strong>of</strong>fices, pharmacies, blacksmith<br />

shops, syrup and grist mills, churches, schools, land <strong>of</strong>fices, railroad depots,<br />

telegraph stations, cotton gins, tanning yards, and feed stores—a center for lumber,<br />

farm products and cattle.<br />

The tobacco industry played a vital role in north <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s growth<br />

and development during that time. Other cash crops <strong>of</strong> cotton, watermelons, and<br />

tomatoes were an important part <strong>of</strong> the economy through the years. The timber<br />

industry, which still plays a role in the county’s economic growth today, has been<br />

its most stable economic product for over 100 years.<br />

✩<br />

Left: Willis once had a college, an opera house and vast tobacco fields<br />

that supported seven cigar factories. The city <strong>of</strong> Willis was founded in<br />

1870 and Thomas Chapel United Methodist Church already had its<br />

root in town, since 1867, the oldest congregation in town.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />


✩<br />

Left: Conroe Oil Field is an oil-producing area in south central <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. It was discovered<br />

by George W. Strake, but its development was the quick work <strong>of</strong> Humble Oil and Refining Company<br />

(now Exxon), the Texas Company (Texaco), and a number <strong>of</strong> independents. The original field drew<br />

production from an average depth <strong>of</strong> 5,050 feet in the Upper Cockfield and Main Conroe sands, which<br />

overlie a deep-seated, faulted salt dome <strong>of</strong> Eocene age. Reservoir pressure has been closely observed since<br />

April 1933 and has been maintained by gas and water injections, avoiding the need for secondary recovery.<br />

Between its discovery on December 13, 1931, and January 1, 1993, the field produced more than 717<br />

million barrels <strong>of</strong> oil, according to historians.<br />

Above: Magnolia’s Historic Train Depot is a centerpiece to<br />

Magnolia. Each year in April, locals attend Depot Day where<br />

entertainers, craft booths, great food, live and silent auctions<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer entertainment for visitors. The Depot also sponsors annual<br />

Halloween and Christmas events. The Haunted Depot and<br />

Spooky Caboose event is held each Halloween night for the<br />

unique enjoyment <strong>of</strong> the Magnolia community. The Hometown<br />

Christmas event is held each December in conjunction with the<br />

Annual Christmas Parade. The activities <strong>of</strong> this event include<br />

vendors, activities for children as well as a visit from Santa.<br />

Bottom, left: When the Houston Great Northern Railroad<br />

pushed north from Houston about ten years after the start <strong>of</strong><br />

the Civil War, it changed <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Texas, forever,<br />

according to historians. Conroe is on Interstate Highway 45<br />

at the junction <strong>of</strong> the Union Pacific and the Burlington Northern<br />

Santa Fe railroads, seven miles southeast <strong>of</strong> Lake Conroe in<br />

central <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

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✩<br />

Above: In 1909, the town’s name was changed from Bobbin to Dobbin. By 1915 the population was 100, and local<br />

businesses included three general stores, two blacksmith shops, a drugstore, and a grocery. In 1926, Dobbin School<br />

was established and by the late 1940s, the community had three churches, two schools, two saw mills, two factories,<br />

nine businesses, the railroad station, several dwellings, and a population <strong>of</strong> 175. In 1965, Dobbin had a post-peeling<br />

plant. In the late 1960s the population was 106, and in the early 1970s it was 170. By 1990 the town included<br />

Mock’s Feed Store and Grocery, the post <strong>of</strong>fice, the Dobbin station <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Montgomery</strong> Fire Department, two<br />

churches, and a collection <strong>of</strong> dwellings; the population was estimated at 200, according to historians.<br />

Above: Sparkle Ice House, once known as a bustling ice<br />

business at 101 Metcalf Street in Conroe, locals would come<br />

here to buy snacks while waiting on the train in the 1950s<br />

and ’60s. The icehouse was the primary source <strong>of</strong> block<br />

and bulk ice in the area. By the 1970s, business slowed and<br />

it closed down. In 2007, it was headed for demolition until<br />

it was purchased and turned into a rustic special events<br />

venue. In 2017, the building was purchased and is now<br />

Pacific Yard House, Conroe's newest restaurant and music<br />

Above: When oil was discovered in <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> in 1934, Conroe Mayor Harry M. Crighton<br />

Above: A City <strong>of</strong> Conroe police <strong>of</strong>ficer rides past the<br />

historic Crighton Theater during his morning shift.<br />

Above: Inside the Crighton Theater lobby.<br />

<strong>Star</strong>s Over Broadway starring Pat O’Brien was<br />

venue, hosting live music in its 125-seat dining room and<br />

bar area.<br />

sold his drugstore and went into the oil business.<br />

The Crighton Theatre is located in downtown Conroe<br />

the very first featured attraction on opening night,<br />

His success in the oil business and his civic pride<br />

at 234 North Main Street and is a truly historic<br />

November 26, 1935, in the highly touted and<br />

influenced his desire for a grand theater. He hired<br />

theatre built in 1934.<br />

acoustically perfect Crighton Theatre, according to<br />

architect Blum E. Hester to build a movie palace<br />

historians. Students from the Abel School <strong>of</strong> Dance<br />

similar to the great Majestic Theatre in Houston<br />

also performed and tickets were .50 cents for adults<br />

using native stone like that <strong>of</strong> the capitol in Austin.<br />

and .25 cents for children. Today, the theatre is used<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />

for multiple performances <strong>of</strong> drama and music.<br />


✩<br />

In 1881, Houston lumberman Isaac Conroe established a sawmill on Stewarts Creek two miles east<br />

<strong>of</strong> the International-Great Northern Railroad’s Houston-Crockett line on a tract <strong>of</strong> land in the<br />

J. G. Smith survey, first settled in the late 1830s. In January 1884, a post <strong>of</strong>fice was<br />

established at the mill commissary, and, at the suggestion <strong>of</strong> railroad <strong>of</strong>ficial<br />

H. M. Hoxey, the community took the name Conroe’s Switch,<br />

in honor <strong>of</strong> the Northern-born, former Union cavalry<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer who founded it and served as its first postmaster;<br />

within a decade the name was shortened to Conroe.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Many famous people have visited Conroe over the years,<br />

including Elvis Presley who performed at the high school<br />

football field on August 24, 1955, and got his hair cut at<br />

Shepard’s Barbershop in Conroe, the oldest barbershop in<br />

the county.<br />

✩<br />

Below: Owner Leon Apostolo says local celebrities, such as country singer<br />

Larry Butler and boxer Roy Harris, still get their hair cut regularly.<br />

The Oldest Barber Shop in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

✩<br />

Above: Shepard’s Barber Shop, located at<br />

116 Simonton in Conroe, was established in<br />

1912 and was named the oldest barber shop<br />

in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> by the <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Historical Commission. Customers<br />

come to the establishment to experience its<br />

classic shaving techniques and great<br />

customer service.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />


chapter<br />

2<br />

A<br />

Community<br />

<strong>of</strong> Quality<br />

There are many reasons to live in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. As one person said it,<br />

“You have the best <strong>of</strong> both worlds here—the city and the country.”<br />

It is a county full <strong>of</strong> people who care about others.<br />

We care for our veterans, our first responders and we<br />

are active in politics and in our community. We organize<br />

barbecue fundraisers for our friends who have gone through<br />

a crisis or who are going through one.<br />

Each weekend, there is always something to do with family<br />

or friends; a 5K walk/run for a nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organization,<br />

an art festival, a carnival or circus, an antique or car show,<br />

a hike at the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Trail or a day at Lake Conroe.<br />

Our faith is important to us. We have a number <strong>of</strong><br />

different houses <strong>of</strong> worship sprawled across the county.<br />

We love all our animals, furry and feathered ones.<br />

Friends <strong>of</strong> Texas Wildlife care for injured wild animals<br />

and we have many dog parks for your furry friends.<br />

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✩<br />

Lilies bloom every July on the grounds <strong>of</strong> St. James Episcopal Church on Highway 105 West in Conroe.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />


✩<br />

Veterans are heroes and are honored<br />

and respected in the community.<br />

VETERAN’ S<br />

D A Y<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Senior citizens are a priority in <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. The East <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Senior Center and Friendship Centers across<br />

the county host bingo game days, painting,<br />

music and singing, use <strong>of</strong> computers and lots<br />

<strong>of</strong> fellowship with others.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />


LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Above: Fearless Boxing is a family-friendly environment that encourages and trains kids and<br />

adults in boxing techniques. Their mission is to bring state <strong>of</strong> the art boxing to the community,<br />

where participants will have a safe, educational and encouraging place to learn their skills.<br />

✩<br />

Above: With Texas’ weather,<br />

skateboarders can enjoy boarding<br />

all year long.<br />

✩<br />

Left: Giving back to the next generation<br />

is important to residents <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Whether it is teaching, coaching,<br />

training, tutoring or giving, the people<br />

here are bighearted.<br />

Right: Our pets are important to us in<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. We have dog parks,<br />

dog groomers, rescue groups, animal<br />

shelters and even a place to go<br />

swimming with our dogs.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />


<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is one <strong>of</strong> the most heavily Republican<br />

counties in Texas, giving 78.1 percent <strong>of</strong> its vote to George W. Bush<br />

in 2004 and 75.8 percent <strong>of</strong> its vote to John McCain in 2008. The<br />

county has not been won by a Democratic presidential candidate<br />

since native Texan Lyndon Johnson won 60.9 percent <strong>of</strong> the<br />

county’s vote in 1964. In 2016 it was the only county in the<br />

United States which Republican nominee Donald Trump won<br />

against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by a margin <strong>of</strong> greater<br />

than 100,000 votes, according to historians.<br />

✩<br />

Above: Dr. Wally Wilkerson (wearing a tie) was honored with a fifty-year<br />

celebration party for being <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Republican Chairman. Not<br />

only is Dr. Wilkerson the longest serving county chairman in Texas history,<br />

there is no record <strong>of</strong> any county chairman in the entire<br />

United States that has served for fifty years.<br />

Below: Texas Governor Greg Abbott leads the <strong>of</strong>ficer induction at a<br />

North Shore Republican Women meeting at Bentwater<br />

Country Club.<br />

After the construction <strong>of</strong> Interstate 45 in the 1960s, many<br />

Houstonians began to settle in communities around Conroe,<br />

including Cut and Shoot, Oak Ridge North, Shenandoah and<br />

The Woodlands.<br />

For residents and potential residents <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>,<br />

please visit www.mctx.org for more information and helpful resources.<br />

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✩<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is a patriotic county, filled with patriots.<br />

Top: Firefighters donate coats to kids.<br />

Above: Sheriff Rand Henderson helps out Foster Care Advocate<br />

Terri Jaggers during the annual Adoption Day at the <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Courthouse.<br />

Right: Conroe Police <strong>of</strong>ficer and K9 <strong>of</strong>ficer work security during the fair.<br />

Far right: Oak Ridge North residents enjoy the annual Fourth <strong>of</strong> July Parade.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />


✩<br />

Conroe Cruisers Car Club members showcase their cars in<br />

downtown Conroe every June and are dedicated to the preservation,<br />

restoration and appreciation <strong>of</strong> all automobiles.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


CHAPTER 2<br />


✩<br />

Above: There are many fun options for spending time with the family.<br />

The circus is one <strong>of</strong> them—the circus at the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Convention and Expo Center in Conroe.<br />

Opposite: This was the last time that elephants worked the circus before they retired in 2016.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


CHAPTER 2<br />


✩<br />

Above: During a vocal student showcase, one artist belts out a song in front <strong>of</strong> friends and family at Dosey Doe’s Big Barn.<br />

Opposite: Outdoor concerts and festivals are fun at Hughes Landing, along the water, where you can kayak and hear the music at the same time.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Music is big in this part <strong>of</strong> Texas; from country to rock<br />

with a little bit <strong>of</strong> Cajun-style added to the mix. Locals enjoy<br />

going to popular music venues across the county where<br />

one can enjoy various genres <strong>of</strong> music—from small pubs<br />

to the large concert venue Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion<br />

to the Hughes Landing Outdoor Amphitheatre (above).<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />


✩<br />

The annual Magnolia Stroll is a Mardi Gras celebration<br />

for the whole family. The Magnolia Stroll is an annual<br />

event with lots <strong>of</strong> celebration, held the Saturday before<br />

Fat Tuesday. Live music, Cajun cook-<strong>of</strong>f and a<br />

Dancing Umbrella Parade entertain the attendees.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Hughes Landing in The Woodlands highlights its<br />

Restaurant Row with an annual birthday bash. People <strong>of</strong><br />

all ages enjoy trying samples <strong>of</strong> the restaurant food and<br />

live entertainment.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />


✩<br />

Chicken Fried Steak is a Texas staple food.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Right: Two musicians sing Christmas<br />

carols at Conroe C<strong>of</strong>fee on Main Street,<br />

in downtown Conroe. Conroe C<strong>of</strong>fee<br />

is a unique c<strong>of</strong>fee shop with a cool,<br />

eclectic vibe that serves up imported<br />

Italian c<strong>of</strong>fee, sandwiches and pastries.<br />

✩<br />

Left: Hand made chocolates<br />

at Chocolate Passion.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />


✩<br />

Below: The cross-over bridge at the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Courthouse<br />

connects between the old building and the newer <strong>of</strong>fice building.<br />

✩<br />

Above: Shopping for antiques in downtown <strong>Montgomery</strong>.<br />

Left: Yellow Rose Reception Hall in New Caney.<br />

Below: Shopping for antiques in Conroe.<br />

✩<br />

The Ark Church in Conroe.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Rural <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is a wonderful sight on a lazy weekend day.<br />

Motorcyclists can be seen riding on an early Saturday morning on the many country roads.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />


chapter<br />

3<br />

A<br />

Community<br />

<strong>of</strong> Interests<br />

There is so much to do in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>! Whether it is exploring nature, touring historical<br />

landmarks, going out to a fancy restaurant on The Waterway or attending a concert, there are many<br />

options to choose from.<br />

From classic car shows to art festivals, to the annual <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair and Rodeo to the<br />

Texas Renaissance Festival, people in and around <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> are never bored.<br />

In the city <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong>, families can spend the day at Fernland Historical Park and Museum and<br />

Memory Garden, St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary or go antiquing. A Farmer’s Market is held the first Saturday<br />

<strong>of</strong> each month, nestled under the trees at the Old Community Center in Historic Downtown. Around<br />

the lake, there are many water sports businesses which <strong>of</strong>fer boat and Jet Ski rentals and fishing guides.<br />

Afterwards, stop by Cork This! Winery or The Cozy Grape Restaurant.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

The <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Trail is the longest wilderness footpath in Texas. The <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Trail runs along Lake Conroe in the Sam Houston National Forest.<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is not necessarily known as a hiking destination, but there is no shortage <strong>of</strong> wilderness to explore. The Sierra Club recognized this,<br />

and in 1966 its <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Chapter conceived the idea for the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Hiking Trail, according to Backwoods Adventures. Once approved by the United<br />

States Forest Service, the trailblazing began the following year. By 1968, 30 miles <strong>of</strong> trail had been forged by the Boy Scouts <strong>of</strong> America, the Sierra Club,<br />

and countless volunteers. Today, there are 128 miles <strong>of</strong> trail, 96 <strong>of</strong> which are part <strong>of</strong> a thru-trail, with the remaining 32 miles being crossover and footpathonly<br />

trails. Even with massive trail systems in Big Bend, the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Trail is the only long-distance National Recreation Trail in the entire state <strong>of</strong> Texas.<br />

CHAPTER 3<br />


✩<br />

Lake Conroe and acres <strong>of</strong> scenic pine and hardwood forests are some <strong>of</strong> Conroe’s<br />

main attractions. Those who love spending time outdoors swimming, fishing,<br />

boating, kayaking and hiking can find many things to do in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

✩<br />

Bentwater Golf Course.<br />

Lake Conroe is a big attraction for homeowners and tourists alike, since it was planned and<br />

constructed in the mid-1970s. It was built soon after the record seven-year drought <strong>of</strong> the 1950s<br />

to prevent a repeat <strong>of</strong> the water shortages experienced during the drought, according to the<br />

San Jacinto River Authority.<br />

Lake Conroe is also one <strong>of</strong> the most popular boating lakes in Texas. Jet skiing, water skiing,<br />

wind surfing, sailing and fishing also are very popular on Lake Conroe. You can do it all on<br />

Lake Conroe. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife, fishing for Catfish and Bluegill are<br />

excellent, Largemouth Bass and Crappie are good, and White Bass and Striped-Hybrid Bass are fair.<br />

It is a host for the Bassmaster Classic fishing tournament and for boaters and others who love<br />

to fish for relaxation.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Scott’s Ridge Recreation Area is located<br />

on the west edge <strong>of</strong> Lake Conroe.<br />

✩<br />

Scott’s Ridge Boat Ramp.<br />

✩<br />

From boating and boarding to unwinding at a lakeside bar or walking the dog, people cannot<br />

come to the area without partaking in the surplus <strong>of</strong> activities Lake Conroe has to <strong>of</strong>fer.<br />

Rent a paddleboard, take out a boat or jet ski, get some quiet time with a day <strong>of</strong> fishing,<br />

or bring a group <strong>of</strong> friends and spend a day <strong>of</strong> fun in the sun.<br />

CHAPTER 3<br />


✩<br />

Artists creating art are plenty in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. Conroe Art League and Woodlands Art League are two nonpr<strong>of</strong>it<br />

organizations bringing vibrant artists and art lovers together. Artists teach on-going classes in many mediums throughout the year.<br />

There is something for everyone at every level <strong>of</strong> skill or interest.<br />

Opposite: The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival is an annual event showcasing artists from all over the nation. The Woodlands<br />

Arts Council’s mission is to provide regional cultural and educational enrichment by presenting The Woodlands Waterway Arts<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

44<br />

Festival and hosting community events and programs that support the performing, visual and literary arts for residents <strong>of</strong> the area.

CHAPTER 3<br />


✩<br />

The Woodlands is a mixed-use town center featuring retail, restaurant, cinema, <strong>of</strong>fice and hotel in one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s top master-planned communities, The Woodlands. Luxury stores like Tiffany & Co.,<br />

Brooks Brothers, Michael Kors and the seventy-room boutique Hyatt Centric hotel make Market Street<br />

a premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination. It is located across the street from<br />

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and across from The Woodlands Mall.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Business people have a variety <strong>of</strong> organizations to join to network and expand their<br />

businesses with others in the county. Those interested in politics on a national and local<br />

level have clubs to participate in weekly and monthly.<br />

Animal lovers can take their pets to one <strong>of</strong> the many dog parks or volunteer at the<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Animal Shelter or at a nearby rescue center. For those who love<br />

helping people, volunteers are needed to take meals to senior citizens at Meals on Wheels<br />

or help bag food at the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Food Bank for those less fortunate.<br />

CHAPTER 3<br />


✩<br />

Above: <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Sheriff Rand Henderson enjoys the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair with his wife and children.<br />

Right: The <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair and Rodeo is a much-anticipated annual event held in the Spring. The fair raises thousands <strong>of</strong><br />

scholarship dollars for students to win through their fair entries.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Left: Praying before the performance.<br />

Below: Cowboys gather for a quick meeting.<br />

CHAPTER 3<br />


LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Kids have fun and win trophies during the youth rodeo events<br />

which include mutton bustin, stick horse race, goat ribbon<br />

pulling and the boot scramble.<br />

CHAPTER 3<br />


LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


The <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair and Rodeo is an<br />

annual ten-day event which serves as a platform<br />

for youth <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> to be able to<br />

display their projects in a public setting, all while<br />

having fun.<br />

The <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair Association awards<br />

scholarships to students with and without fair<br />

projects every year. Since the program began in<br />

1993, more than $1.5 million have been given in<br />

college scholarships.<br />

CHAPTER 3<br />


LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


CHAPTER 3<br />


In downtown Conroe, the Crighton Theatre and<br />

the Owen Theatre have various live performances to<br />

attend or to participate in each season. The Crighton<br />

Theatre is a historic theatre built in 1934 and is the<br />

home base for performances <strong>of</strong>fered by Stage-Right<br />

Productions, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Performing Arts<br />

Society, Sounds <strong>of</strong> Texas Music Series and Christian<br />

Youth Theatre.<br />

The Owen Theatre is an intimate, s<strong>of</strong>t seat venue<br />

that seats about 250 people and is home to The<br />

Players Theatre Company. This building was originally<br />

built in 1946 as the Weisinger Pontiac/GMC<br />

Dealership. It is owned by the City <strong>of</strong> Conroe and<br />

has been renovated to accommodate the production<br />

and presentation <strong>of</strong> live theatrical performances.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Participants compete for scholarships<br />

in The Texas Young Artists Music<br />

Competition held at the historic Crighton<br />

Theater in Conroe. The mission <strong>of</strong> the<br />

competition is to encourage excellence in<br />

young musicians and to further artistic<br />

growth throughout Texas.<br />

✩<br />

Above: A harpist participates in the Young Texas Artist Music<br />

Competition on stage at the historic Crighton Theater in Conroe.<br />

Right: Artist Jackie Impey poses in front <strong>of</strong> her blue ribbon<br />

masterpiece at the Lake Robbins Community Center in<br />

The Woodlands.<br />

CHAPTER 3<br />


✩<br />

Music is big in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, whether it is country, rock, jazz or blues. There is the Cynthia Woods Mitchell<br />

Pavilion which hosts major concerts, and there are smaller venues like Dosey Doe Big Barn (above ) in The Woodlands,<br />

Red Brick Tavern (below) in Conroe and Genuwine Tasting Room in Magnolia.<br />

Left: New Caney Roger Mann Jamboree is “like a family reunion every time you go. Everyone wants to meet you and<br />

know your name. The music is great, the food is great and you can sit back and relax a while,” says a frequent goer.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


In Willis, the north side <strong>of</strong> Lake Conroe <strong>of</strong>fers more water sports, fishing and boating,<br />

along with some great, long-time restaurants in the area. Leroy’s BBQ and Burgers,<br />

Pizza Shack, Poppy’s Seafood Grille, Tailgaters <strong>of</strong>fer an ethnic variety <strong>of</strong> foods.<br />

On the streets near and around the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Courthouse, there are<br />

an array <strong>of</strong> local businesses: the Conroe Art League and Art Gallery, c<strong>of</strong>fee shops,<br />

restaurants, pubs and taverns, antique shops, barber shops and more.<br />

The Woodlands has the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Hughes Landing (below)<br />

and Restaurant Row, The Waterway, kayak rentals, high-end shopping at The Woodlands<br />

Mall and Market Street (top, right), movie theaters, nature trails and much more.<br />

There is not just one sort <strong>of</strong> person or interest in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, we have a<br />

little bit <strong>of</strong> everything, whatever your likes and passions.<br />

✩<br />

Hughes Landing, with its Restaurant Row and boutiques, hosts outdoor music<br />

concerts and festivals. It is nestled between Town Center and Research Forest<br />

and is a sixty-six-acre mixed-use development which includes <strong>of</strong>fice buildings,<br />

a hotel, state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art fitness center, and a Whole Foods Market.<br />

CHAPTER 3<br />


✩<br />

A variety <strong>of</strong> food cultures are available within miles from each other.<br />

Locals can enjoy Magnolia’s <strong>Lone</strong> Pint Brewery (below) or The Blue<br />

Fish <strong>of</strong> Hughes Landing depending on what they are craving.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


West <strong>of</strong> Conroe and on the way to<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong>, restaurants are located<br />

around or near the lake where you can<br />

eat fried catfish, chicken fried steak,<br />

barbecue brisket, a bucket <strong>of</strong> crawfish<br />

or some Tex-Mex enchiladas.<br />

Magnolia has the <strong>Lone</strong> Pint Brewery<br />

(opposite, bottom left and right), The<br />

Magnolia Stroll and the Magnolia<br />

Train Depot. In New Caney, you can<br />

attend the annual Sawmill Festival<br />

and watch the chainsaw sculptors and<br />

tractor races or go hiking in the Lake<br />

Houston Wilderness Park.<br />

Bernhardt Winery (below) is located<br />

just west <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> in<br />

Plantersville. Wine tasters can enjoy outdoor lawn concerts in the<br />

evening an hour before sunset while sipping their favorite wine from the<br />

vineyard. Every June, volunteers come out to help harvest the grapes.<br />

✩<br />

Various types <strong>of</strong> food and restaurants are available all over <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> from Mexican<br />

to Tex-Mex, to different Asian varieties, to Italian and Indian foods. Southern fried catfish,<br />

fried chicken and chicken fried steaks are popular local fare, as well.<br />

✩<br />

Joe’s Italian Restaurant is a popular restaurant in Conroe<br />

for friends and family to enjoy New York-style pasta and<br />

brick oven pizza, and, <strong>of</strong> course, Joe’s famous rolls. CHAPTER 3<br />


✩<br />

Below: Senator John Cornyn visits <strong>Montgomery</strong> College-Conroe Center and<br />

observes the machinist and welding programs.<br />

chapter<br />

4<br />

A<br />

Community<br />

<strong>of</strong> Diverse Skills<br />


<strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College is very convenient for <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> residents and is the largest institution<br />

<strong>of</strong> higher education in the Houston area. It is one <strong>of</strong> the fastest-growing community colleges in the<br />

nation, <strong>of</strong>fering classes and certifications in various trades and more than 180 programs <strong>of</strong> study close<br />

to home. It is a growing contributor to the local and regional economy with an annual economic<br />

impact <strong>of</strong> $3.1 billion. Students rely on <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College for Associate Degrees, certifications for<br />

work in high-demand industries, and credits that enable them to transfer anywhere, according to LSC.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Opposite: <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College–Conroe, Conroe Center <strong>of</strong>fers many<br />

hands-on career paths for students wanting to work in machining,<br />

welding or automotive technology. LSC–Conroe Center provides<br />

on-site tutoring, testing, library services, book store, corporate<br />

training, community meeting facilities and more—both for students<br />

and the community.<br />

<strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College–<strong>Montgomery</strong> is an affordable community<br />

college, close to home, where students can earn a degree, not debt,<br />

and transfer anywhere. <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College is the largest institution<br />

<strong>of</strong> higher education in the Houston area and one <strong>of</strong> the<br />

fastest-growing community colleges in the nation.<br />

CHAPTER 4<br />


✩<br />

Texas A&M University Corp <strong>of</strong> Cadets perform in the Go Texan Parade in February in downtown Conroe.<br />

Texas A&M University is located about an hour and a half drive from Conroe in College Station.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Above: Dr. Don Stockton, superintendent <strong>of</strong> schools for Conroe Independent School District<br />

reading to a young audience.<br />

Left: Conroe ISD teacher Sam Cable (back left) with CISD Superintendent Don Stockton<br />

and Conroe Education Foundation President Nelda Luce Blair pose with the first group<br />

<strong>of</strong> students to receive the All Means All Scholarship which Cable created in 2015.<br />

Conroe Independent School District is the largest<br />

employer <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, with sixty-plus school<br />

campuses in a 348-square mile area. It is one <strong>of</strong> the<br />

fastest growing school districts in the state with an<br />

average enrollment growth <strong>of</strong> about 1,500 students per<br />

year. Other excellent school districts are <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

ISD, Willis ISD, Magnolia ISD, and Splendora ISD and<br />

New Caney ISD.<br />

✩<br />

Right: The CISD Natatorium provides an environment that enriches the<br />

competitive opportunities <strong>of</strong> student athletes.<br />

CHAPTER 4<br />


Conroe Tiger Band Director Bobby Heathcock has<br />

gathered various historical facts, going all the way back<br />

to 1911. It was in 1911 that football was added to the<br />

school curriculum when the team played scrimmages<br />

against Huntsville until 1913. It was not until 1914 that<br />

Conroe High formed its first football team for league<br />

competition, according to Heathcock. The team had<br />

eleven players, and all had to promise their principal<br />

that they would remain in school until Christmas<br />

break so they could compete. “Football is big in Conroe.<br />

It’s the most popular sport. The spectators line up on<br />

the sidelines to watch the game and travel up and<br />

down thesidelines with the teams in play,” Heathcock said.<br />

✩<br />

Above: Conroe High School was the first high school in<br />

the district, more than 100 years ago.<br />

Left: The Conroe Tiger Band, which was established<br />

in 1929, is one <strong>of</strong> the largest and most visible student<br />

organizations on campus, and its members consistently<br />

project a positive representation <strong>of</strong> their community.<br />

Opposite, top left and right: Conroe High School<br />

Army JROTC.<br />

Opposite, center: The Conroe Tiger Band, which<br />

encompasses winds, percussion, and color guard<br />

members, forms an integral part <strong>of</strong> school life and is<br />

recognized as a curricular activity.<br />

Opposite, bottom right: Pastor Anthony Shelton<br />

volunteers at the annual Golden Girl<br />

Pancake Fundraiser.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


CHAPTER 4<br />


LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Conroe ISD<br />

Magnolia ISD<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> ISD<br />

New Caney ISD<br />

Splendora ISD<br />

Willis ISD<br />

Many private and charter schools are an option for parents, as well. <strong>Life</strong>style<br />

Christian School, Covenant Christian and Sacred Heart Catholic School are in<br />

Conroe, with others in The Woodlands, <strong>Montgomery</strong>, Willis and Magnolia.<br />

Grand Oaks High School will open in the Fall <strong>of</strong> 2018 and will be located at<br />

4800 Riley Fuzzel Road in Spring. With the fast growth <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>,<br />

CISD needed to build another high school. The new school will have a capacity<br />

for 3,100 students.<br />

CHAPTER 4<br />


Fridays in the fall are reserved for high school football games where fans cheer for their favorite players,<br />

band and drill team. In spring, it is basketball, baseball and soccer season. Education <strong>of</strong> our children is a<br />

priority and <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> has some <strong>of</strong> the best schools in the nation—from pre-schools to higher<br />

education. Students are learning restaurant management, auto mechanics, cosmetology and fashion design<br />

before ever graduating high school. The Academy <strong>of</strong> Science and Technology prepares students who have<br />

a strong interest in mathematics, the sciences, and technology to excel in college and life.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Left: <strong>Montgomery</strong> Junior High<br />

welcomes veterans.<br />

Overall, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> has an<br />

assortment <strong>of</strong> education possibilities<br />

for students with various talents, skills<br />

and passions.<br />

CHAPTER 4<br />


chapter<br />

5<br />

A<br />

Community<br />

Positioned<br />

for<br />

the<br />

Future<br />

✩<br />

Above: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Station,<br />

which opened in 2016, serves the needs <strong>of</strong> corporate and business travelers<br />

arriving from outside the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border<br />

Protection Federal Inspection allows inbound international flights to the<br />

Conroe/North Houston Regional Airport, avoiding congested Houston airspace.<br />

From its 1837 origin as a trading post, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> has grown to more than a half million<br />

residents, and population is projected to increase to 1 million by 2030, according to <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Mobility.<br />

With some <strong>of</strong> the largest master-planned communities in the Houston-Galveston region and<br />

multiple, rapidly expanding employment centers, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is planning for the future<br />

with the passing <strong>of</strong> a number <strong>of</strong> projects as a result <strong>of</strong> the $280 million road bond that was passed<br />

in November 2015.<br />

“The voters in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> saw past a lot <strong>of</strong> the nonsense, and they are ready to move<br />

forward,” <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Judge Craig Doyal said in a November 2015 Community Impact<br />

article. “I think it is important that we come together and ensure that our vision going forward<br />

is a positive one and that we address the needs <strong>of</strong> the seventh-fastest growing county in the nation.”<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport is an international, all-weather airport. It hosts over 300 aircraft,<br />

240 hangars, a control tower, two FBOs, a general aviation terminal building, a U.S. Army Reserve<br />

Aviation unit and more than twenty businesses and several government agencies.<br />

The General Chennault Flying Tiger Academy in partnership with <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College <strong>of</strong>fers a career pilot<br />

program for future aviators. The academy specializes in training international students who want to go<br />

from zero time to a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration-licensed commercial pilot.”<br />

CHAPTER 5<br />


✩<br />

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is an American petroleum and natural gas exploration and production company headquartered in<br />

The Woodlands, Texas. The company is headquartered in two skyscrapers in The Woodlands, Texas. The Anadarko towers symbolize<br />

business growth in the community. The company has about 3,500 employees and contractors in The Woodlands, with approximately<br />

4,500 employees worldwide who support activity in more than fifteen countries.<br />

Above: The Allison Tower (center), formerly Anadarko Tower, is a thirty-two story, 439 feet skyscraper located in The Woodlands, Texas.<br />

It is currently the tallest building in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Texas, and the tallest building between Houston and Dallas. The 807,000-square<br />

foot tower now serves as World Headquarters for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and is currently owned by Anadarko Realty Company.<br />

An adjacent tower is located next to Allison (Anadarko) Tower to accommodate Anadarko’s manpower expansion. During a summer <strong>of</strong><br />

2013, Anadarko Tower was renamed Allison Tower for Robert Allison, Jr., the first CEO <strong>of</strong> Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. The second<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

74<br />

tower (above, on the left) is dedicated to James Hackett, another former Anadarko Petroleum CEO, and deemed Hackett Tower.

✩<br />

Heron sculpture skirts<br />

Hackett Tower.<br />

CHAPTER 5<br />


LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Families living in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> have a lot to look forward to for living,<br />

working and playing.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s newest housing developments is Grand Central Park,<br />

located at the southwest corner <strong>of</strong> Loop 336 and Interstate 45, in Conroe. It is<br />

a 2,046-acre experience that combines living, working and playing, providing<br />

access to everything <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> has to <strong>of</strong>fer, as well as close proximity to<br />

Houston’s Energy Corridor and Exxon Mobil campus. A master-planned community<br />

by Johnson Development Corporation, formerly known as Camp Strake Boy Scout<br />

land will consist <strong>of</strong> 350 lots in the first section.<br />

CHAPTER 5<br />


✩<br />

People enjoy free trolley rides in The Woodlands.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


East <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is growing now more<br />

than ever before in its history. Once just known for<br />

the rural countryside and small towns <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, east <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> will be the home<br />

<strong>of</strong> the future Grand Texas, a destination development<br />

which currently encompasses over 632 acres and is<br />

growing. When complete, Grand Texas will contain<br />

the Houston area’s largest amusement park, the<br />

Big Rivers Waterpark, The Grove Factory Outlets,<br />

Speedsportz Racing Park, Grand Texas Sportsplex,<br />

Grand Texas RV Resort, and a promenade featuring<br />

numerous dining, shopping, and entertainment<br />

venues, according to Grand Texas developers.<br />

CHAPTER 5<br />


The Future <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


A Community<br />

Positioned<br />

for<br />

the<br />

Future<br />

CHAPTER 5<br />


LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

82<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>iles <strong>of</strong> businesses, organizations, and families that have contributed<br />

to the development and economic base <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank...................................................................................................84<br />

San Jacinto River Authority.........................................................................................90<br />

Buckalew Chevrolet, L.P..............................................................................................94<br />

Homewood Suites by Hilton ® Houston-Woodlands ............................................................98<br />

<strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College ....................................................................................................102<br />

Consolidated Communications, Inc..............................................................................104<br />

Veterans <strong>of</strong> Foreign Wars Post 4709 ............................................................................106<br />

ABM International, Inc. ............................................................................................108<br />

Lake Conroe Association ...........................................................................................110<br />

Soules Insurance Agency ...........................................................................................112<br />

East <strong>Montgomery</strong> Improvement District .......................................................................114<br />

Eickenhorst Funeral Services .....................................................................................116<br />

The Woodlands Development Company.........................................................................118<br />

Pizza Shack ............................................................................................................120<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair Association ..........................................................................122<br />

Southwestern Imaging Systems & Service .....................................................................124<br />

Conroe’s Incredible Pizza Company.............................................................................126<br />

Greater Conroe Economic Development Council.............................................................128<br />

The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership ................................................129<br />

BCS Properties ........................................................................................................130<br />

State Representative Will Metcalf ...............................................................................131<br />

Chocolate Passion ....................................................................................................132<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Constable’s Office Precinct 3 .........................................................133<br />

Sacred Heart Catholic Church ....................................................................................134<br />

Owner Builder Network ® ...........................................................................................135<br />

The J. Beard Real Estate Company ..............................................................................136<br />

John Wiesner, Inc.....................................................................................................137<br />

Tri-<strong>County</strong> Behavioral Healthcare...............................................................................138<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Texas Republican Party.................................................................139<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Government ................................................................................140<br />

The Salvation Army .................................................................................................141




✩<br />

Below: A blue light is cast upon Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank in Conroe after the<br />

July 2016 ambush shootings <strong>of</strong> five Dallas police <strong>of</strong>ficers. Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas<br />

Bank backs the blue and supports American law enforcement.<br />

Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank in Conroe is a 24,000-square-foot,<br />

three-story building, which is the anchor structure for<br />

Taysha Park. Additional plans for the park along Texas 105<br />

near I-45 North include a 1,200-seat performing arts<br />

theater and other businesses. On the right, Craig Campobella<br />

and CEO Dean Bass install the Texas star.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Left: Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas bank’s Grand Opening ceremony.<br />

Bottom, left: The bronze 23.75-karat gold-gilded statue, Texas Lady Liberty.<br />

Texas Lady Liberty, the centerpiece <strong>of</strong> Taysha Park, is the<br />

only gold-gilded statue in the State <strong>of</strong> Texas.<br />

Bottom, center: (Right to left) U.S. Navy SEAL and Navy Cross recipient<br />

Marcus Luttrell attended the grand opening along with Sam Houston IV, the<br />

great-grandson <strong>of</strong> General Sam Houston; his daughter, Vicki Houston Allen;<br />

great-granddaughter, Mackenzie Wilkinson; and granddaughter,<br />

Sherry Wilkinson-Omeara.<br />

Bottom, right: Marcus Luttrell with the Sons <strong>of</strong> the Republic <strong>of</strong> Texas.<br />

Craig Campobella’s Texas Lady Liberty statue was inspired<br />

by the centerpiece <strong>of</strong> the flag carried at the Battle <strong>of</strong><br />

San Jacinto by Colonel Sidney Sherman’s Kentucky Militia.<br />

Sam Houston IV, the great-grandson <strong>of</strong> Sam Houston,<br />

stands with Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell to light the eternal<br />

flame in the base <strong>of</strong> the statue.<br />



✩<br />

Top, left: (Left to right) Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank Regional President James Ebrey;<br />

Vice President Commercial Lending Audrey Blevins-Winkle and<br />

Market President Judy Olson.<br />

Top, right: (Left to right) Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank Vice President and<br />

General Counsel Michael L. Durham, Sr.; SBA Office President Tim Duffy;<br />

and Executive Vice President, CFO, SOO Jerry Golemon.<br />

Bottom, left: Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank Chairman/CEO Dean Bass shakes hands<br />

with a customer at the grand opening event.<br />

Bottom, right: The statue <strong>of</strong> Jose Antonio Navarro and Stephen F. Austin<br />

by Sculptor Craig Campobella depicts these two Texas founders plotting out<br />

their vision for Texas. The educational statue is located at 1525 Lake Front<br />

Circle in The Woodlands on land that was originally part <strong>of</strong> the Walker<br />

<strong>County</strong> School Land Survey A-599, set aside in 1855 for education.<br />

Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank is a catalyst for economic growth.<br />

“We are Texans Helping Texans…with small business<br />

loans and mortgages,” says President David McGuire.<br />

“We are the number one small business lender <strong>of</strong> all<br />

community banks based in Texas.”<br />

Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank chose Conroe to be its organizational<br />

headquarters because “We’re big believers in <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. The quality <strong>of</strong> life in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is<br />

wonderful. It is a great place to raise a family or open<br />

a business.”<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Left: Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Banker Kevin Bass with Crystal Mims, owner <strong>of</strong><br />

Back In Time Popcorn. Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank loans have made many<br />

thousands <strong>of</strong> jobs possible in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> and in Texas.<br />

Bottom, left: Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank President David M. McGuire.<br />

Below: New private construction in Conroe, Texas, financed by<br />

Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank.<br />

Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank provides loans for small businesses,<br />

new homes, and civic construction, as well as other banking<br />

services to the community. Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank is the number<br />

one lender <strong>of</strong> SBA Loans by both number and dollar volume<br />

among community banks headquartered in Texas.<br />



✩<br />

Right: Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank Vice President and Director <strong>of</strong> Business<br />

Development Will Metcalf and wife, Megan, with their twin daughters,<br />

Amelia and Elizabeth, at the Christmas parade. Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank gives<br />

back to its communities and serves the citizens <strong>of</strong> the great State <strong>of</strong> Texas.<br />

The employees’ families participate in the annual Conroe<br />

Christmas Parade and are very active in charitable organizations<br />

including the MS150, the Boy Scouts <strong>of</strong> America, and<br />

the 100 Club.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


✩<br />

Above: The New Year’s Eve Gala for MCCPS, left to right, Dean Bass,<br />

Hope Robinson, Megan and Kevin Bass, and Daniel Wolfson.<br />

Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank has supported the annual New Year’s<br />

Eve Gala for <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Children’s Protective<br />

Services for many years. The bank has also participated<br />

in golf tournaments and skeet shoots benefitting various<br />

charities in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Boys & Girls Clubs,<br />

YMCA, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Food Bank, United Way and<br />

the movie We are Stronger.<br />

Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank-Conroe is located at 1836 Spirit <strong>of</strong><br />

Texas Way (815 West Davis Street) in Conroe, Texas 77301.<br />

For more information call 936-538-1000.<br />

The Woodlands Central Branch is located at 1525<br />

Lake Front Circle, Suite 5, The Woodlands, Texas 77380.<br />

Call 281-465-3000 for more information or visit us at<br />

www.sotb.com.<br />





✩<br />

San Jacinto River Authority General Administration Building.<br />

In 2012 the San Jacinto River Authority marked seventyfive<br />

years <strong>of</strong> developing, preserving, and protecting the<br />

watershed for which it was named. SJRA formed in 1937<br />

after a group <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> businessmen saw a<br />

need to develop and utilize the river basin’s resources.<br />

The river authority finally came to fruition thanks to the<br />

work <strong>of</strong> local civic leaders and legislators, and—throughout<br />

the following eight decades—diligently planned for longterm<br />

regional water needs and implemented a plethora <strong>of</strong><br />

water-related services.<br />

Covering all or a portion <strong>of</strong> six counties including<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong>, Waller, Walker, Grimes, San Jacinto, and<br />

Liberty, the River Authority’s jurisdiction currently includes<br />

the entire San Jacinto River watershed, with the exception <strong>of</strong><br />

Harris <strong>County</strong>. It is, however, allowed to conduct operations<br />

in Harris <strong>County</strong> east <strong>of</strong> the San Jacinto River via a service<br />

area agreement with the City <strong>of</strong> Houston, with substantial<br />

operations in southeast Harris <strong>County</strong>, supplying raw water<br />

for industrial, municipal and agricultural purposes.<br />

SJRA’s mission is to plan for and develop adequate and<br />

reliable long-term water supplies; treat and distribute safe<br />

drinking water; provide regional wastewater treatment<br />

services; deliver raw water for municipal, industrial and<br />

agricultural use; monitor and protect source water quality;<br />

ensure safe, dependable reservoir operations; and educate<br />

the public about water conservation and resources.<br />

SJRA is one <strong>of</strong> ten major river authorities in the State <strong>of</strong><br />

Texas. For nearly 100 years, these organizations have<br />

performed their missions without taxpayer assistance or<br />

funding from the state. In addition to being responsible<br />

for the construction and maintenance <strong>of</strong> the majority <strong>of</strong><br />

Texas’ lakes and reservoirs, many river authorities engage in<br />

complex water supply programs for cities, industries, agriculture,<br />

and irrigation throughout the state. River authority<br />

leadership and participation in developing and applying<br />

water resources to the benefit <strong>of</strong> the public is the norm.<br />

On August 21, 1917, the citizens <strong>of</strong> Texas passed a<br />

constitutional amendment referred to as the Conservation<br />

Amendment, which authorized the Legislature to create<br />

governmental entities with the authority to develop<br />

large-scale regional projects, such as dams, reservoirs,<br />

and delivery systems, for the purpose <strong>of</strong> conserving and<br />

developing the state’s water resources.<br />

In passing the Conservation Amendment, the Legislature<br />

and citizens <strong>of</strong> Texas recognized that water resources must<br />

be developed, controlled, managed, and applied to beneficial<br />

public uses and this can only occur through an agency<br />

with geographical boundaries that correspond to river<br />

basins. Furthermore, the governing board <strong>of</strong> said agencies<br />

must be broadly representative <strong>of</strong> the river basin, encouraged<br />

to have a long-term vision, and given a broad mission<br />

to develop and apply the water resources in the river basin.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Shortly after its creation, from 1937 to 1941, SJRA<br />

began work on a master plan for water supply development<br />

in the San Jacinto River Basin and also began a long-term<br />

program <strong>of</strong> soil conservation and land reclamation.<br />

Intended to improve the agriculture <strong>of</strong> the area and prevent<br />

detrimental effects to the watershed from erosion, the<br />

program was activated in 1946.<br />

Despite a successful foray into the area <strong>of</strong> soil conservation,<br />

water supply development has remained SJRA’s<br />

primary focus. In 1945, SJRA acquired a portion <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Federal Works Agency canal system serving the ship<br />

channel industries, as well as water rights in the San Jacinto<br />

River. By agreement with the City <strong>of</strong> Houston, SJRA<br />

acquired additional water rights in Lake Houston following<br />

its completion in 1954. In 1968, SJRA partnered with<br />

the City <strong>of</strong> Houston and, with loan assistance from the<br />

Texas Water Development Board, began construction <strong>of</strong><br />

Lake Conroe, which was completed in 1973.<br />

In 1975, SJRA began operating the wholesale water<br />

supply and wastewater treatment systems serving<br />

The Woodlands, which has grown to include thirty-eight<br />

groundwater wells that serve over 100,000 people.<br />

In 1995 the organization began the acquisition <strong>of</strong> water<br />

rights in the Trinity River Basin to substitute for San Jacinto<br />

River water in serving its ship channel industrial customers,<br />

thereby freeing up SJRA’s water in Lake Conroe for future<br />

use in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Since 1997, when SJRA’s general manager was appointed<br />

by the Texas Water Development Board to serve on the<br />

Region H Water Planning Group, it has had a leadership<br />

role in the regional water planning process for the greater<br />

Houston area, including serving as chairman <strong>of</strong> the planning<br />

group, administering the group’s grant and consulting<br />

contracts, and providing staff support and legal counsel.<br />

In 2001, SJRA purchased additional Trinity River water<br />

rights for $8 million; and four years later it secured more<br />

water rights in Lake Houston.<br />

Since 2005, SJRA has secured<br />

additional water rights in Lake<br />

Houston through the acquisition<br />

<strong>of</strong> TCEQ permits for previously<br />

unidentified, unallocated water.<br />

SJRA in 2009 entered into a<br />

memorandum <strong>of</strong> understanding<br />

with the City <strong>of</strong> Houston to<br />

purchase water from the city in<br />

Lake Conroe and to enable the<br />

organization to complete a<br />

✩<br />

Above: Aerial views <strong>of</strong> Lake Conroe Dam.<br />

Below: Aerial view <strong>of</strong> San Jacinto River Authority Groundwater Reduction<br />

Plan or GRP Division.<br />



✩<br />

Above: San Jacinto River Authority Highlands Division.<br />

Below: San Jacinto River Authority Bear Branch.<br />

countywide water resources assessment plan. Later that<br />

year, SJRA completed the Houston water supply contract to<br />

secure all the stored water in Lake Conroe for use in<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

SJRA has since planned, facilitated, and implemented a<br />

countywide surface water supply program for <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> that involves more than eighty wholesale<br />

customer cities, districts, and utilities. The GRP<br />

(Groundwater Reduction Plan) program is a<br />

partnership with over 150 separate water systems.<br />

Treated drinking water from the new SJRA<br />

surface water plant is blended with groundwater<br />

from each utility’s existing water wells. This<br />

cooperative program between SJRA and GRP<br />

partners not only creates a lasting water solution<br />

for future generations, but it also ensures that<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s economic engine has a<br />

plentiful supply <strong>of</strong> water to fuel its continued<br />

growth. Treated surface water deliveries began on<br />

September 18, 2015.<br />

Key individuals during SJRA’s development<br />

include Courtney W. Curry, assistant manager<br />

from 1947 to 1957 and general manager from<br />

1957 to 1976; Jack K. Ayer, general counsel from 1947 to<br />

1974, staff attorney from 1974 to 1976 and general manager<br />

from 1976 to 1990; James R. Adams, assistant general<br />

manager from 1989 to 1990, and general manager from<br />

1990 to 2006; H. Reed Eichelberger, manager <strong>of</strong> surface<br />

water operations from 1997 to 2000, deputy general manager<br />

from 2000 to 2006, and general manager from 2006 to 2012;<br />

and Michael G. Page, general counsel from 1971 to 2012.<br />

In the past twenty years, SJRA’s Board <strong>of</strong> Directors<br />

has been comprised primarily <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

residents. The current board includes Lloyd B. Tisdale,<br />

president; Fred Koetting, vice president; Mary L. Rummell,<br />

secretary; Joseph Stunja, treasurer; and John D. Eckstrum,<br />

Michael Bleier, and Jim Alexander, directors.<br />

Its current senior management team includes Jace A.<br />

Houston, general manager; Ronald D. Kelling, deputy<br />

general manager; Tom Michel, director <strong>of</strong> financial and<br />

administrative services; David Parkhill, director <strong>of</strong> raw<br />

water enterprise; and Mitchell Page, general counsel.<br />

SJRA operates four divisions with 180 employees. Those<br />

four divisions are the GRP (Groundwater Reduction Plan)<br />

Division, Lake Conroe Division, Highlands Division, and the<br />

Woodlands Division. The GRP Division, located in Conroe,<br />

provides compliance with groundwater reduction requirements<br />

to 150-plus water systems in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> by<br />

providing a reliable, long-term alternate water supply.<br />

The Lake Conroe Division, also in Conroe, operates Lake<br />

Conroe, which is funded through a joint venture between<br />

SJRA and the City <strong>of</strong> Houston. The division is responsible for<br />

operating and maintaining the resources <strong>of</strong> the Lake Conroe<br />

dam and reservoir and issues licenses and permits to a variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> customers within its area <strong>of</strong> jurisdiction. Customers include<br />

residential and commercial irrigators, residential and commercial<br />

dock owners, commercial businesses, and owners <strong>of</strong><br />

on-site sewage facilities within 2,075 feet <strong>of</strong> Lake Conroe.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Located in east Harris <strong>County</strong>, the Highlands Division<br />

delivers raw water from Lake Houston and the Trinity River<br />

through an extensive twenty-seven-mile system <strong>of</strong> canals<br />

and a 1,400 acre staging reservoir, providing water to customers<br />

such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron Phillips Chemical<br />

Company, and a number <strong>of</strong> other industrial, municipal and<br />

agricultural entities pursuant to long-term water supply<br />

contracts. The Highlands Division delivers more water each<br />

day than all SJRA’s other operating divisions combined and<br />

has been its principle enterprise nearly its entire history.<br />

The Woodlands Division, located in The Woodlands,<br />

provides wholesale water supply and wastewater treatment<br />

services to the 100,000-plus population <strong>of</strong> The<br />

Woodlands through contracts with eleven municipal<br />

utility districts.<br />

SJRA focuses on its customers and stakeholders and<br />

treats each person with whom it works with dignity and<br />

respect. The organization values the principles <strong>of</strong> honesty,<br />

trustworthiness and transparency and is knowledgeable<br />

and diligent in the performance <strong>of</strong> its duties. SJRA uses its<br />

financial resources responsibly, is accountable for its<br />

performance, and is constantly working to improve.<br />

Furthermore, the organization supports responsible water<br />

resource development and conservation while working<br />

to ensure its systems and strategies remain viable for<br />

future generations.<br />

Thanks in large part to SJRA’s efforts, <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> has a feasible and affordable solution for its current<br />

and future water needs. By beginning to gradually utilize<br />

the surface water in Lake Conroe, the county can reduce<br />

the pressure on its groundwater supplies, stabilize water<br />

levels in its aquifers, and conjunctively utilize both surface<br />

water and groundwater instead <strong>of</strong> completely relying on<br />

a single supply source.<br />

SJRA continues to pursue additional water supply<br />

strategies for meeting <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s long-term<br />

water needs, including researching and developing other<br />

Gulf Coast aquifers, advanced water conservation practices,<br />

drought contingency plans, reuse <strong>of</strong> treated wastewater<br />

effluent, and importation <strong>of</strong> water from other basins.<br />

As remarkable as SJRA’s past has been, its future<br />

holds additional challenges, as well as opportunities for<br />

achievement that benefit the community. SJRA’s board <strong>of</strong><br />

directors, management, and staff look forward to these tasks.<br />

For more information about SJRA or any <strong>of</strong> its divisions,<br />

visit the organization’s website at www.sjra.net.<br />

✩<br />

Left: San Jacinto River Authority Woodlands Wastewater Treatment<br />

Plant No. 1.<br />

Right: San Jacinto River Authority Woodlands Office.<br />




✩<br />

Above: Left to right, W. B. Weisinger and Don A. Buckalew in 1965.<br />

Top, right: The Weisinger-Buckalew Chevrolet Dealership.<br />

Below: Mr. Weisinger receiving award for Twenty-Five Continuous Years as a<br />

Chevrolet Dealer.<br />

Since 1939 the Chevrolet franchise in Conroe has been<br />

represented by two <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> natives. These<br />

two men, namely W. B. Weisinger and Don A. Buckalew,<br />

not only have represented an established merchandiser,<br />

Chevrolet Motor Division, but both come from families<br />

whose names have been well established in <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> for many, many years.<br />

Weisinger opened his own Chevrolet agency in Conroe<br />

during March 1939 when Weisinger Chevrolet opened its<br />

doors in a building at the corner <strong>of</strong> North Frazier and<br />

Phillips Street. The original Chevrolet Dealership location<br />

had a total <strong>of</strong> 3,600 square feet divided between service and<br />

parts department, <strong>of</strong>fices, and showrooms. There was a total<br />

<strong>of</strong> five employees, and during the first year from March to<br />

December, Weisinger Chevrolet delivered a total <strong>of</strong> sixty<br />

new vehicles. The Chevrolet franchise grew in size, sales,<br />

and employees. As the times changed and the growth <strong>of</strong><br />

Conroe continued, Weisinger decided to take on a partner<br />

and relinquish the active management <strong>of</strong> the dealership to<br />

a younger man with experience in the automotive business.<br />

In January 1965, a native <strong>of</strong> Magnolia joined<br />

W. B. Weisinger in the firm becoming Weisinger-Buckalew<br />

Chevrolet, Inc., after its new partner, Don A. Buckalew.<br />

Buckalew is the son <strong>of</strong> the late L. A. Buckalew and<br />

Nellie Mae Buckalew, and graduated from Magnolia High<br />

School in 1952 as valedictorian <strong>of</strong> his senior class.<br />

Buckalew started in the automobile business in Tomball<br />

with Hohl Motor Company in 1957, serving as a salesman<br />

and later as sales manager prior to him assuming the<br />

sales managers position at Robbins Chevrolet in Humble<br />

in February 1960.<br />

That the team <strong>of</strong> Weisinger-Buckalew clicked was never<br />

more evident than in May 1967 when they opened a new<br />

Chevrolet home for Conroe and <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> at<br />

1717 North Frazier. The new Weisinger-Buckalew Chevrolet<br />

home provided a spread <strong>of</strong> buildings and equipment<br />

covering more than eight acres <strong>of</strong> land with some 40,000<br />

square feet <strong>of</strong> enclosed sales and service facilities. The grand<br />

opening ceremony for this modern facility was celebrated<br />

on July 27, 1967 with a formal open house and other<br />

festivities. This truly was a culmination <strong>of</strong> a desire by<br />

the two owners to provide the last word in service and<br />

convenience to its customers plus a complete line <strong>of</strong> the<br />

finest Chevrolet trucks and cars to the people in this area.<br />

The two partners worked together not only to continue<br />

a fine Chevrolet business, but they individually and<br />

collectively made their mark on the community <strong>of</strong> Conroe<br />

and <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> as they served in many areas <strong>of</strong><br />

civic and service responsibilities. Both men were members<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Conroe Noon Lions Club, directors <strong>of</strong> the Conroe<br />

National Bank (later Allied Conroe Bank), and served<br />

as president <strong>of</strong> the Conroe <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Chamber<br />

<strong>of</strong> Commerce. Both Weisinger and Buckalew received<br />

the Man <strong>of</strong> the Year Award for Conroe and <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, with Weisinger receiving the inaugural in 1962<br />

and Buckalew in 1967. They only differed on two issues <strong>of</strong><br />

any consequence: church and education. Weisinger was a<br />

Methodist and graduated from Texas A&M University, and<br />

Buckalew was a Baptist and graduated from Baylor University.<br />

Weisinger remained an active partner until his death<br />

in June 1973. The dealership remained Weisinger-Buckalew<br />

Chevrolet, Inc., until January 1974, when Buckalew<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


purchased the Weisinger interest from his widow and their<br />

daughter, Winifred Ann Spencer. The name was changed to<br />

Buckalew Chevrolet, Inc., in 1974 and has since operated<br />

under that name. That year, Don Buckalew, Sr., truly saw<br />

his goal <strong>of</strong> owning his own business become a reality.<br />

Establishing the Buckalew Chevrolet name in 1974 was<br />

accomplished with the same loyal family <strong>of</strong> employees who<br />

had been with the company prior to 1974.<br />

The opportunity was provided to build upon an already<br />

outstanding record <strong>of</strong> accomplishment, leadership, service,<br />

honesty, and integrity. Buckalew loved the automotive<br />

industry and has been recognized as a leader throughout<br />

his career. He served as chairman <strong>of</strong> the Texas Auto Dealers<br />

Association (TADA) from 1985-1986. In 2008, he received<br />

the TADA Legend Award. This distinction is for those who<br />

have achieved at the highest level, who represent the best <strong>of</strong><br />

the best, whether it be as a car or truck dealer, a community<br />

servant, a leader in education, or any <strong>of</strong> the other essential<br />

areas <strong>of</strong> people’s lives where Texas dealers lead and serve.<br />

It recognizes those dealers whose <strong>Life</strong>time <strong>of</strong> Achievement<br />

has earned them the title <strong>of</strong> Legend. Buckalew was also the<br />

recipient <strong>of</strong> the Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award in 1987<br />

and the Northwood Dealer Education Award in 1995.<br />

The name Don Buckalew and community/civic service<br />

have become synonymous throughout his sixty years in<br />

the automotive industry. His leadership, organizational<br />

skill, and common sense approach to innumerable public<br />

projects and organizations is well known. He has a passion<br />

for helping others and working in various activities and<br />

organizations that enhance and promote opportunities for<br />

young people.<br />

Before coming to Conroe, in 1963 at the age <strong>of</strong> twentynine,<br />

Buckalew was the youngest Lion’s Club District<br />

Governor in the State <strong>of</strong> Texas, and his leadership with the<br />

International Association <strong>of</strong> Lion’s Clubs was established.<br />

Buckalew went on to serve as an elected Lions International<br />

director from Texas in 1974-1976, and has been appointed<br />

to the international board three times for one-year<br />

terms. He is the recipient <strong>of</strong> the Ambassador <strong>of</strong> Good Will<br />

Award, the highest honor one can receive from the<br />

International Association. Buckalew was the chairman <strong>of</strong><br />

two USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forums in Denver,<br />

Colorado, in 1981 and in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1982.<br />

Buckalew has always been an advocate for public<br />

schools. As a former president <strong>of</strong> the Conroe Independent<br />

School District Board <strong>of</strong> Trustees, he helped lead the<br />

district through a time <strong>of</strong> considerable growth with the<br />

opening <strong>of</strong> eleven new schools, including one new high<br />

school. Buckalew’s commitment to youth and devotion to<br />

education was recognized by the Conroe Independent<br />

School District on November 22, 1998, with the dedication<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Don A. Buckalew Elementary School.<br />

Buckalew was instrumental in transforming the<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> FFA and 4-H Club member’s junior<br />

livestock and non-livestock auctions from a Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce Committee project to the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

✩<br />

Above: The Don A. Buckalew Elementary School.<br />

Below: Mr. Buckalew receiving a twenty-five years dealer award.<br />



✩<br />

New Buckalew Chevrolet Dealership in 2009.<br />

Fair Association in 1978, and served as the charter president<br />

for four years. Today, this organization gives over $100,000<br />

in scholarships to high school seniors in <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> annually. Buckalew continues to be active and<br />

serve as a leader in this association.<br />

Being one volunteer <strong>of</strong> some 33,000 volunteers with<br />

the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is another example<br />

<strong>of</strong> Buckalew’s love for young people. This remarkable<br />

organization has provided scholarships for more than<br />

16,000 Texas young people totaling $177 million dollars<br />

since its inception. His involvement with this show covers<br />

over forty-five years. He served as a vice president in<br />

1992-1994 and has been a member <strong>of</strong> the Houston<br />

Livestock Show and Rodeo Executive Committee since 1996.<br />

Respect for Buckalew’s leadership has been exhibited in<br />

many other areas. He assisted with the formation <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Greater Conroe Economic Development Council in 1997 and<br />

served as its chairman for ten years. He is a past president<br />

<strong>of</strong> the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Hospital Board <strong>of</strong> Managers<br />

and the inaugural president <strong>of</strong> the Conroe Area Youth<br />

Baseball Association. He has coached Little League baseball<br />

and Pee Wee football teams.<br />

Buckalew Chevrolet is truly a family affair. Both sons,<br />

Don “Donnie” Jr., and Denny, have been a part <strong>of</strong> Buckalew<br />

Chevrolet since they were young boys and their father<br />

could not be more proud. In articles published in<br />

The Woodlands Online and Conroe Today in 2015, Donnie<br />

recalled his time as a youngster spent playing with his<br />

brother at Buckalew’s dealership. “Daddy would bring my<br />

younger brother, Denny, and me to the dealership on<br />

nights and weekends, and we can both still remember<br />

running around the showroom and <strong>of</strong>fice,” he was quoted<br />

as saying. “Our fun eventually transformed into afterschool<br />

jobs, which included washing cars and cleaning<br />

restrooms, and ultimately ended up with both <strong>of</strong> us working<br />

full time for the dealership.”<br />

Both sons are graduates and former athletes <strong>of</strong> Conroe<br />

High School. In addition to earning bachelors <strong>of</strong> business<br />

administration degrees from Baylor University, they are<br />

active in supporting civic and charitable causes and serve in<br />

places <strong>of</strong> responsibility in the community.<br />

Currently, Donnie is a vice president and serves on<br />

the executive committee <strong>of</strong> the Texas Automobile Dealers<br />

Association. He is on the board <strong>of</strong> directors <strong>of</strong> First Financial<br />

Bank and continues to be active in numerous charitable<br />

causes. Donnie is well-known for his past leadership roles<br />

as either president or chairman <strong>of</strong> the Houston Auto Dealer<br />

Association, the Conroe Industrial Development Corporation,<br />

the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Community Foundation, the Conroe<br />

Noon Lions Club, the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair Association,<br />

and the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Denny has been associated with many activities related<br />

to young people <strong>of</strong> all ages. He has served as a member <strong>of</strong><br />

the board <strong>of</strong> directors <strong>of</strong> the Conroe YMCA, <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Youth Services, and Conroe Area Youth Baseball. He<br />

is now a board member <strong>of</strong> the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber<br />

<strong>of</strong> Commerce and has a longtime record <strong>of</strong> service on the<br />

board <strong>of</strong> the Conroe Parks and Recreation Department.<br />

Denny is proud <strong>of</strong> his association with the Conroe Rotary<br />

Club and his recognition as a Paul Harris Fellow.<br />

Two significant events have occurred in more recent<br />

years. First, on December 16, 2008, Buckalew Chevrolet<br />

opened a brand-new dealership on I-45 in Conroe. It covers<br />

65,000 square feet on 9.3 acres and is state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art,<br />

built to the specifications <strong>of</strong> a General Motors/Chevrolet<br />

Image Facility. Now in its ninth year, it continues to be a<br />

showplace that other dealers visit before starting their<br />

own new dealership construction projects.<br />

Secondly, Buckalew Chevrolet celebrated its fiftieth<br />

anniversary on July 23, 2015, with a luncheon for employees,<br />

elected <strong>of</strong>ficials, vendors, and representatives <strong>of</strong> General<br />

Motors who presented a 50 Year Dealer Award to the<br />

Buckalew family. As a special recognition to the employees<br />

and a big thank-you to the community, the Buckalews<br />

announced two Fifty for Fifty awards, $50,000 divided<br />

between the employees according to seniority and a total <strong>of</strong><br />

$50,000 donated to seven community charities.<br />

As Buckalew, Sr., reflected on fifty years, he noted his<br />

store has grown in volume and stature and has become<br />

recognized as a Metro Houston Dealership. He credits the<br />

success <strong>of</strong> his business to his belief in supporting those<br />

who support us and treating people with respect and great<br />

service. He stated further, “I want to be a part <strong>of</strong> the good<br />

things that occur in this city and county, and if there is a<br />

problem—whether it be in business or the community—I<br />

want to be a part <strong>of</strong> the solution and not the problem.”<br />

As for the future, Buckalew, Sr., expects business as<br />

usual with the customary peaks and valleys. He celebrated<br />

his fortieth business anniversary by planning for the fiftieth.<br />

Now that it has come and gone, he will pass the task on<br />

to his sons to work on the sixtieth.<br />

In 2017 the ownership and management continue to be<br />

family. Buckalew, Sr., at age eighty-three, is still active with<br />

a semi-retired presence. Donnie and Denny are part owners<br />

and involved in the daily operation. They are proud <strong>of</strong> the<br />

fact that ninety-nine percent <strong>of</strong> the time, any customer can<br />

talk face-to-face with a member <strong>of</strong> the family.<br />

The Buckalew family is grateful for their many blessings<br />

<strong>of</strong> encouragement and support from friends, neighbors, and<br />

residents in the Conroe, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, North Houston,<br />

and Harris <strong>County</strong> areas.<br />

Buckalew Chevrolet is located at 1100 1-45 South at<br />

Gladstell in Conroe. For more information, please visit their<br />

website at www.buckalewchevrolet.com.<br />

Editor’s Note: The information provided from 1939-1974<br />

was first published in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> History 1981,<br />

compiled and edited by the history book committee <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Genealogical Society, Inc., Conroe, Texas.<br />

✩<br />

Above: The Buckalew family cuts the ribbon at the 50th Year celebration.<br />

On July 23, 2015, representatives <strong>of</strong> General Motors presented a 50 Years<br />

Dealer Award to the Buckalew family.<br />

Below: Left to right: Don, Donnie and Denny Buckalew.<br />




BY HILTON ®<br />


✩<br />

Top: Full complimentary hot breakfast is available daily.<br />

Bottom: A business center and conference room is available 24 hours a day.<br />

Opposite, top: Homewood Suites by Hilton Houston-Woodlands is located at<br />

29813 I-45N in Woodlands, Texas.<br />

Opposite, bottom: We <strong>of</strong>fer a pool and patio for our guest to unwind.<br />

Located in the fast-growing hub <strong>of</strong> The Woodlands,<br />

thirty minutes north <strong>of</strong> Houston, Homewood Suites by<br />

Hilton ® Houston-Woodlands, <strong>of</strong>fers an oasis conducive to<br />

both productivity and relaxation. Visitors <strong>of</strong> the extended<br />

stay hotel may choose from ninety-one 500-plus square foot<br />

suites with studios and one- and two-bedroom options with<br />

fully-equipped kitchens.<br />

Homewood Suites by Hilton ® Houston-Woodlands<br />

provides more than just the basics, making it the perfect<br />

home away from home for everyone—be it the vacationing<br />

family, the guest seeking relaxation and pampering,<br />

or the busy pr<strong>of</strong>essional in town for work.<br />

Guests wake to freshly-brewed c<strong>of</strong>fee and a local<br />

weekday newspaper, and have the option <strong>of</strong> ordering<br />

room service or dining on a hearty, healthy breakfast<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered daily. Homewood Suites has a 24-hour fitness<br />

center with indoor and outdoor equipment and<br />

a 24-hour business center with fax machine, photo<br />

copying services, and printers. A basketball court<br />

and swimming pool are located at the hotel, with a<br />

park trail is accessible behind it. Pets can stay too,<br />

for a non-refundable fee <strong>of</strong> $125.<br />

Room amenities include spacious separate<br />

sleeping and living areas; king or queen beds, and<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


full-sized s<strong>of</strong>a beds; a kitchen complete with a refrigerator,<br />

microwave, dishwasher, and eating utensils; as well as<br />

complimentary Wi-Fi and two 37-inch LCD flat-screen<br />

televisions per suite with 100, mostly high-definition,<br />

premium cable channels. Guests may upgrade to a twobedroom<br />

suite with three televisions and a fireplace.<br />

Premium Internet access is available, wherein guests may<br />

upload more photos, stream high-definition movies, and<br />

partake in online gaming at three times the speed <strong>of</strong> standard<br />

Internet access.<br />

Located just eighteen miles from Bush Intercontinental<br />

Airport, Homewood Suites by Hilton ® Houston-Woodlands<br />

strives to provide each guest with all the comforts <strong>of</strong><br />

home—and more! In addition to a reception area<br />

that can accommodate 150 guests and meeting rooms<br />

with a capacity for forty people, the hotel <strong>of</strong>fers a 24-hour<br />

onsite convenience store and free grocery shopping<br />

service. A complimentary shuttle transports guests within<br />

a five-mile radius <strong>of</strong> the hotel, to locations such as The<br />

Woodlands Mall. Families can enjoy the hotel’s provision<br />

<strong>of</strong> complimentary children’s activities and video rentals,<br />

high chairs, and playpens. Other amenities include baggage<br />

storage, complimentary beverage area, coin laundry, laundry/valet<br />

service, luggage hold, a gift shop, safety deposit<br />

box, and a friendly, multilingual staff.<br />

Guests staying at Homewood Suites by Hilton ® Houston-<br />

Woodlands for business will appreciate the proximity to<br />

Cynthia Woods Pavilion, Legends Sport Complex, CISD<br />

Natatorium, Main Event Entertainment, Wet’n’Wild<br />

SplashTown, Tournament Players Course, and Old Town<br />

Spring, as well as companies including Anadarko Oil,<br />

Exxon/Mobil headquarters, Entergy, Chicago Bridge &<br />

Iron, Huntsman Chemical, Halliburton, Newfield Oil, and<br />

Bayer Material Science. After a long day <strong>of</strong> work—or play—<br />

the hotel also provides complimentary wine or beer<br />



✩<br />

Top: Enjoy the big screen available in all <strong>of</strong> the suites.<br />

Bottom: Enjoy access to a 24-hour fitness center.<br />

to guests during its evening social, available Monday<br />

through Thursday.<br />

Homewood Suites by Hilton ® Houston-Woodlands has<br />

suites designed to accommodate everyone, no matter their<br />

access needs. The hotel <strong>of</strong>fers accessible suites intended<br />

to make guests with physical challenges, and their families,<br />

more comfortable. These suites include the amenities available<br />

in the hotel’s standard suites and have entry doors that<br />

are thirty-two inches in width. The business center,<br />

concierge desk, exercise facility, parking, public entrance,<br />

and registration desk are all accessible for physically<br />

challenged guests and visitors. Furthermore, assistive listening<br />

devices are available for meetings upon request, as are<br />

closed captioning on televisions and closed captioning<br />

decoders. Transportation also is available with notice.<br />

Guest check-in is 3 p.m. and checkout is noon. Early<br />

check-in or late checkout is available upon request, if<br />

accommodations are available.<br />

Homewood Suites by Hilton ® Houston-Woodlands’<br />

amenities are designed to keep guests secure and content<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


while also leaving money in their<br />

wallets. The hotel <strong>of</strong>fers all active and<br />

retired military, as well as their families,<br />

a fifteen percent discount. AARP members<br />

can also enjoy ten percent <strong>of</strong>f their stay.<br />

Hilton Honors members also save. Guests<br />

can get the lowest price available, as well as<br />

exclusive <strong>of</strong>fers, when booking direct.<br />

Homewood Suites by Hilton ® Houston-<br />

Woodlands <strong>of</strong>fers a warm, inviting atmosphere,<br />

plethora <strong>of</strong> amenities, prime location,<br />

and customer service that is second to none.<br />

The hotel’s TripAdvisor rating is<br />

consistently high. Judith P. Clifton <strong>of</strong><br />

Virginia noted on the travel website: “Great<br />

place to stay for one or many nights. The<br />

suite configuration is very spacious and allows for<br />

privacy and separation <strong>of</strong> work from other activity.<br />

Breakfast and evening social are so convenient. Good<br />

for a quick bite or beverage. Very good value. I will stay<br />

at Homewood on my next personal road trip.” Another<br />

guest, <strong>of</strong> Galveston, wrote: “I highly recommend this hotel.<br />

I can’t say I have one complaint. They were very<br />

accommodating and provided transportation to and from<br />

the venue we were there for. The breakfast was more than<br />

perfect!!” Perry F., <strong>of</strong> Dallas, wrote: “Guaranteed satisfaction<br />

or your money back; that’s the way Homewood Suites<br />

treats you. Friendly staff, housekeeping is wonderful,<br />

maintenance is guaranteed, their breakfast is excellent, and<br />

they love their customers.”<br />

Homewood Suites by Hilton ® has more than 410 locations<br />

in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The Hilton brand has<br />

more than 550 hotels and resorts in six continents including<br />

Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, DoubleTree, Embassy<br />

Suites, Home2 Suites, Homeward by Hilton, Tru by Hilton,<br />

Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tapestry Collection,<br />

Hilton Grand Vacations, and Curio.<br />

For more information on Homewood Suites by Hilton ®<br />

Houston-Woodlands, visit them at 29813 I-45 North, in The<br />

Woodlands, Texas, or call 281-681-9199. Check room and<br />

rate availability at www.homewoodsuites3hilton.com.<br />

✩<br />

Top: Choose from our many different room styles.<br />

Bottom: Every suite comes with a kitchenette.<br />




✩<br />

Right: <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College <strong>of</strong>fers a world class education at a fraction <strong>of</strong> the<br />

cost <strong>of</strong> attending a four-year university.<br />

Below: Known for its leadership, innovation and steadfast commitment to<br />

student success, <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College provides high-quality academic transfer<br />

and workforce education/career training programs.<br />

In the 1970s, Houston was booming and construction <strong>of</strong><br />

what is now George Bush Intercontinental airport played a<br />

pivotal role developing the growth north <strong>of</strong> Houston and the<br />

need for a community college. Voters in Aldine, Spring and<br />

Humble agreed, and in 1972, North Harris Junior College<br />

District was born.<br />

The first college classes—with 613 students—were held at<br />

Aldine High School in 1973. Soon North Harris was joined<br />

by Kingwood College in 1984, Tomball College in 1986 and<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> College in 1995 to become the North Harris<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> Community College District, laying the groundwork<br />

for a new multi-campus approach to serve the people <strong>of</strong><br />

our communities in Harris and <strong>Montgomery</strong> Counties.<br />

Thanks to the early success, eight more independent<br />

school districts—New Caney, Tomball, Conroe, Willis,<br />

Splendora, Klein, Cypress-Fairbanks and Magnolia—joined<br />

the college district, helping it reach even more students.<br />

As Houston welcomed in the twenty-first century,<br />

residents <strong>of</strong> CyFair welcomed <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College-CyFair<br />

in 2003, the fifth <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College, helping to meet the<br />

educational needs <strong>of</strong> a rapidly-growing area. In 2008 the<br />

North Harris <strong>Montgomery</strong> Community College District became<br />

<strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College to better reflect the growing college system.<br />

<strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College purchased the former home <strong>of</strong> Compaq<br />

Computer to create <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College-University Park,<br />

which was renovated from a corporate to college facility<br />

becoming the sixth college in 2010.<br />

LSC continues to grow—from 613 students taking classes<br />

in a single high school to more than 95,000 students attending<br />

classes in fall 2015. It is the largest institution <strong>of</strong> higher<br />

education in the Houston area and one <strong>of</strong> the fastest-growing<br />

community colleges in the nation. Students rely on <strong>Lone</strong><br />

<strong>Star</strong> College for associate degrees, certifications for work in<br />

high-demand industries and academic credits that enable<br />

them to transfer anywhere.<br />

Today <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College plays a major role in the regional<br />

economy, adding $3.1 billion in economic impact directly<br />

into the local community each year. Nearly ninety-one<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


percent <strong>of</strong> LSC students stay in<br />

the area after attending <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong><br />

College—their enhanced skills help<br />

lead to higher regional income and<br />

a more robust economy.<br />

<strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College continues to<br />

expand and redefine the community<br />

college experience by <strong>of</strong>fering an<br />

Honors College program, allowing<br />

students to study abroad and earn<br />

honors degrees. LSC also gives high<br />

school students the opportunity<br />

to earn college credit while still<br />

in high school, saving them time and money.<br />

The number one goal <strong>of</strong> <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College is the<br />

success <strong>of</strong> its students. LSC is consistently recognized as<br />

a Top 10 producer <strong>of</strong> associate degrees nationally by<br />

Community College Week magazine and was designated a Top<br />

25 College for Hispanics by The Hispanic Outlook in Higher<br />

Education magazine.<br />

It is estimated that sixty-five percent <strong>of</strong> all jobs will require<br />

some post-secondary training by 2020. LSC understands<br />

a strong workforce equals a strong community, which is<br />

why it is building new technology centers to address the<br />

needs <strong>of</strong> the manufacturing, energy, transportation, logistics,<br />

computer information, and process lab technology industries.<br />

<strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Corporate College partners with global corporations<br />

to provide customized training, open enrollment<br />

courses and pr<strong>of</strong>essional seminars. <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Corporate<br />

College focuses on the energy, computer technology and<br />

advanced manufacturing sectors, but can also provide<br />

training for retail, hospitality, school districts, healthcare<br />

organizations, nonpr<strong>of</strong>its and many other industries.<br />

Working alongside the International Association <strong>of</strong> Drilling<br />

Contractors, the National Association <strong>of</strong> Manufacturers, the<br />

Greater Houston Partnership and the Houston Energy<br />

Collaborative, LSC provides students complete outcomebased,<br />

job-related and industry-approved programs, helping<br />

keep our local economy strong.<br />

<strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College is proud to serve the citizens <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> and looks forward to a bright and<br />

prosperous future as a member <strong>of</strong> this community!<br />

✩<br />

Left: The Honors College at <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College <strong>of</strong>fers high-achieving students<br />

the opportunity to improve their college transcripts and participate in study<br />

abroad programs.<br />

Bottom, left: <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College is continually recognized as a Top 10<br />

producer <strong>of</strong> associate degrees by Community College Week magazine.<br />

Below: <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College is redefining the community college experience to<br />

promote student success and economic prosperity.<br />





Consolidated Communications, Inc. (CCI) is a leading<br />

business and broadband communications provider that<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers advanced communication solutions to residential<br />

and business customers across its fiber-rich network, a<br />

swath that includes California, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois,<br />

Texas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota,<br />

South Dakota, and Wisconsin. CCI <strong>of</strong>fers a wide range <strong>of</strong><br />

services including residential digital television, high-speed<br />

Internet, phone, home automation, and security services,<br />

as well as commercial solutions that provide businesses <strong>of</strong><br />

all sizes with voice, IP, managed and hosted services,<br />

data connectivity, equipment solutions, and cloud services.<br />

The company is dedicated to listening to its customers<br />

and consistently meeting expectations with forethought and<br />

flexibility while delivering reliable services and exceptional<br />

customer care. CCI prides itself in being responsive and<br />

local, and is proud to have strong ties in the communities<br />

it serves in capacities such as employee volunteerism,<br />

company sponsorships, and philanthropic giving.<br />

CCI (Nasdaq:CNSL) has a long history <strong>of</strong> providing reliable<br />

communications solutions and local support throughout<br />

its service area. Its vision is to be the preferred choice <strong>of</strong><br />

communications solutions by delivering a better customer<br />

experience and investing in people and technology. Its mission<br />

is to turn technology into solutions, connect people,<br />

and enrich how they work and live.<br />

CCI operates in accordance with its values, which<br />

guide its actions as it fulfills responsibilities to customers,<br />

employees, investors, business partners, and communities.<br />

Those values include, first and foremost, integrity. Honesty,<br />

accountability, and transparency are essential to building<br />

relations with each other, customers, and the communities<br />

served. CCI’s culture is built on trust, as well as delivering on<br />

promises to customers and investors. Secondly, the company<br />

believes people truly do make the difference, and employees<br />

are the cornerstone <strong>of</strong> CCI’s success. The company is<br />

committed to providing meaningful, challenging work<br />

and opportunities for pr<strong>of</strong>essional growth in a positive<br />

environment. Thirdly, the company aims to deliver a better<br />

experience to its customers, putting their needs first and<br />

exceeding their expectations with every interaction, both<br />

internally and externally. Fourth, CCI focuses on evolving<br />

and improving to stay ahead <strong>of</strong> customers’ needs. Next,<br />

the company strives to build a stronger community. Through<br />

company giving, supporting employee volunteerism,<br />

and broadband infrastructure investment, CCI makes<br />

communities better places to work and live. Finally, CCI<br />

celebrates successes, demonstrating appreciation for one<br />

another and customers, and fostering camaraderie to<br />

strengthen the team and build a fun, positive culture.<br />

CCI was founded in 1894 by Dr. Iverson A. Lumpkin, a<br />

Mattoon, Illinois, dentist who believed that a communications<br />

network encompassing telephone lines and paved roads<br />

was vital to the growth <strong>of</strong> rural Illinois. While earlier attempts<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


to provide telephone service to Mattoon had failed, Lumpkin<br />

succeeded with Mattoon Telephone Company, which—by<br />

the end <strong>of</strong> the nineteenth century—was serving more than<br />

400 customers and employing 10 operators and 3 linemen.<br />

Around the same time CCI was founded in Illinois, telephone<br />

service began in Lufkin, Texas, when Dr. Alexander<br />

Madison Denman and Judge Edwin James Mantooth <strong>of</strong> Lufkin<br />

connected their <strong>of</strong>fices with the city’s first telephone line. By<br />

1900, Denman, Mantooth and investor Eli Weiner opened<br />

a one-room telephone <strong>of</strong>fice with a forty-line switchboard<br />

to serve the city, creating the Lufkin Telephone Exchange.<br />

The Conroe Communications Company later purchased<br />

the Lufkin Telephone Exchange, and in 1908 it contracted<br />

with the Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Company<br />

to provide long-distance services. Conroe Communications<br />

Company was purchased by Lufkin Telephone Exchange<br />

owners in 1929, who then incorporated it as Conroe<br />

Telephone Company and operated it as Lufkin’s sister company.<br />

In 1963 the company purchased Alto Telephone Company.<br />

In 1985 the corporation was reorganized as the Lufkin-Conroe<br />

Telephone Exchange, which included Lufkin, Conroe and Alto<br />

service areas. In 1997, Lufkin-Conroe became a subsidiary<br />

<strong>of</strong> TXU Communications, which was later purchased by<br />

Consolidated Communications in April 2004.<br />

The company grew to be the fifth largest non-Bell telephone<br />

company in Texas and the twenty-second largest in<br />

the nation. It provided service to Lufkin, Central, Wells,<br />

Alto, Etoile, Fuller Springs, Diboll, Hudson, Apple Springs,<br />

Conroe, Lake Conroe, <strong>Montgomery</strong>, Walden, Cut N Shoot,<br />

Grangerland and Riverbook. It was also innovative, being<br />

the first in the U.S. to install technologies such as the IBM<br />

System 7 in 1973 and the first to install Northern Telecom<br />

DNS-100/200 digital switching combination in 1980.<br />

CCI was the first to bring Internet Protocol television to<br />

the area, providing consumers a better choice for television<br />

service. IPTV is delivered over the phone line, which gives a<br />

crystal clear, high-definition picture. CCI brought HD-quality<br />

television to the area before local stations were required to<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer their signal in HD. In 2015, CCI launched 1 gigabit<br />

residential Internet service across its fiber network in the<br />

Houston area market.<br />

CCI prides itself on its long-standing tradition <strong>of</strong> giving<br />

back to the communities it serves. Its dedicated employees<br />

volunteer with a variety <strong>of</strong> programs and organizations<br />

that make a difference and strengthen local communities. In<br />

2015, Consolidated employees volunteered more than 37,000<br />

hours, and the company contributed more than $1.3 million<br />

to support community programs and nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organizations.<br />

CCI is headquartered in Mattoon, Illinois. The local <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

in Conroe is 350 South Loop 336 West. For more information<br />

about CCI, visit www.consolidated.com or follow them on<br />

social media at consolidated.com/social.<br />




POST 4709<br />

In 1962, local veterans seeking to recreate the camaraderie<br />

and fellowship they experienced during their time in the<br />

military founded Veterans <strong>of</strong> Foreign Wars <strong>of</strong> the United<br />

States, Post 4709. The organization, a nonpr<strong>of</strong>it funded<br />

entirely by tax-deductible donations, has become one <strong>of</strong> the<br />

premiere posts in the world. VFW Post 4709 continues to<br />

live up to the VFW motto: “No one does more for veterans.”<br />

Raymond B. Davis was the post’s first commander.<br />

Other charter members include Raymond B. Davis,<br />

G. F. Glasstetter, Tom J. Adams, Robert L. Anderson,<br />

Lloyd E. Bowman, Noble Capps, Thomas E. Gentry,<br />

F. L. Crowe, Ollis Jeff Helton, Jack Hickman, Marshall<br />

Hellerman, W. T. Hooper, George M. Hope, Joe D. Ivy,<br />

Fred Lamp, Emerence L. Mack, Joel C. Mann, William P.<br />

McLaughlin, George W. Morris, Lester Noble, T. W. Oliver,<br />

J. D. Ovalline, E. D. Reding, Mike Senor, Douglas<br />

Storer, Leo H. Terry, O. G. Williams, Walter Enos, and<br />

Salvador Rodriguez.<br />

The required membership <strong>of</strong> twenty-two requested a<br />

charter from the National Veterans <strong>of</strong> Foreign Wars. The<br />

charter was granted on October 30, 1962, in Conroe, Texas,<br />

received the designation <strong>of</strong> VFW Post 4709. According to the<br />

congressional charter, the purposes <strong>of</strong> VFW Post 4709 are<br />

“fraternal, patriotic, historical, charitable, and educational.”<br />

They are “to preserve and strengthen comradeship among<br />

its members; assist worthy comrades; perpetuate the memory<br />

and history <strong>of</strong> our dead, and to assist their surviving<br />

spouses and orphans; to maintain true allegiance to the<br />

government <strong>of</strong> the United States, and fidelity to its<br />

Constitution and laws; to foster true patriotism; to maintain<br />

and extend the institutions <strong>of</strong> American freedom; and to<br />

preserve and defend the United States from all enemies.”<br />

Each year, VFW Post 4709 donates $100,000 to veterans,<br />

military, law enforcement, first responders, and schools<br />

in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. The post provides local veterans<br />

weekly transportation to the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans<br />

Hospital in Houston, and its Honor Guard every year<br />

averages more than 200 functions, many <strong>of</strong> which are<br />

military funeral honors.<br />

Members <strong>of</strong> VFW Post 4709 visit hospitals and donate<br />

socks and sweats to veterans who are recovering from<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


injuries they suffered while serving their country. Members<br />

also visit retirement homes to remind elderly veterans<br />

that they have not been forgotten, and their sacrifices are<br />

still very much appreciated. Other beneficiaries <strong>of</strong> the<br />

post’s time and funds include the National VFW Home for<br />

Children in Michigan, as well as veterans and their families.<br />

With the post’s Veterans in the Classroom, VFW members<br />

assist local teachers present to their students a variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> American history lessons. Members serve as living<br />

history, providing classrooms a presentation and questionand-answer<br />

session. Depending on the lesson, the veteran<br />

might bring memorabilia, uniforms, photos, and other<br />

items to help teach the material.<br />

VFW Post 4709’s elected <strong>of</strong>ficers, appointed <strong>of</strong>ficers,<br />

committeemen, and volunteers work for and serve the<br />

organization without pay or financial incentive. One<br />

hundred percent <strong>of</strong> all money contributed to the post is<br />

applied to furthering its work in helping others. The post<br />

does not conduct mass mailings or phone solicitation,<br />

nor does it employ pr<strong>of</strong>essional fundraisers. The bulk <strong>of</strong> its<br />

funds come from contributions from its own membership,<br />

Auxiliaries, support members, and individuals who support<br />

its mission <strong>of</strong> helping local veterans and their families.<br />

All donations to the post qualify as charitable contributions.<br />

VFW Post 4709 and VFW Auxiliary 4709 run a charitable<br />

bingo operation in the VFW Hall. The canteen is located<br />

nearby and is at the center <strong>of</strong> many post activities. Veterans<br />

and auxiliary members watch sports on the canteen’s<br />

televisions, enjoy adult beverages, food, karaoke, dancing,<br />

and the company <strong>of</strong> other veterans and auxiliary members.<br />

The canteen also provides a home away from home for<br />

active duty and reserve military staying in the Conroe area.<br />

As <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> grows, so too does VFW Post<br />

4709. In the past five years, the post has doubled in size,<br />

serving more and more veterans each year. Locally, more<br />

than 1,650 veterans are members <strong>of</strong> the organization. To<br />

accommodate its growth, the post—with the help <strong>of</strong> the<br />

city, local business owners, and individual donations—is<br />

planning a large building expansion project.<br />

VFW Post 4709 is located at 1303 West Semands Street<br />

in Conroe. For more information, visit the post’s website at<br />

www.vfw4709.org or call 936-756-7614.<br />




✩<br />

Right: Left to right, Joe, Neal and Mike Schwarzberger breaking ground for<br />

the factory expansion in <strong>Montgomery</strong>, Texas.<br />

Below: The Robo-Quilter Single Needle Quilting machine. The technology<br />

was developed by ABM International, Inc., in 1995.<br />

ABM International, Inc., is not afraid to blaze its own<br />

trail. With more than seventy years in the quilting machine<br />

manufacturing business, ABM International has developed<br />

a reputation for engineering excellence at the most costeffective<br />

prices, with customer service that is second<br />

to none. ABM International <strong>of</strong>fers a full line <strong>of</strong> quality<br />

quilting machinery and accessories for buyers <strong>of</strong> all types<br />

and skill levels—from industrial factories to pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

custom quilters to hobbyists.<br />

ABM International, Inc., was founded as AB Mfg. Co. in<br />

1933 by Arthur Schwarzberger. Arthur developed a simple<br />

sewing technique for quilting machines that could cross over<br />

sewing lines and refined this concept to include mechanical<br />

track quilting machines for comforters, bedspreads, and mattresses.<br />

Arthur’s company, which he started in his garage in<br />

Chicago, Illinois, and named after his oldest son, Barry Shore,<br />

soon began to grow. In 1947, he changed the company’s name<br />

to ABM to include his second son, Michael. By this time,<br />

the business had outgrown the family’s basement, so ABM<br />

moved to a three-story building on the south side <strong>of</strong> Chicago.<br />

Shortly thereafter, Arthur’s sons became involved in the<br />

business and fueled its growth, expanding the type <strong>of</strong> equipment<br />

manufactured and the markets serviced. By 1960, ABM<br />

needed more manufacturing space and moved to Chicago’s<br />

west side. Barry and Michael assumed full responsibility<br />

for the company following their father’s untimely death.<br />

ABM began harnessing high-tech methods during<br />

the 1980s. Michael’s son, Neal, began working for the<br />

company and the two worked together to develop a computerized<br />

quilting machine named the XL. They also expanded<br />

sales and marketing efforts overseas, changed the name<br />

to ABM International, Inc., and moved to a larger facility<br />

in Niles, Illinois.<br />

In 1995, ABM began the development <strong>of</strong> a revolutionary<br />

new vertical quilting machine called the Robo Quilter—fully<br />

patented and the first <strong>of</strong> its kind. After its introduction to the<br />

market in 1997, sales soared and ABM became the world leader<br />

in quilting technology, surpassing all its European competitors.<br />

Tragically, in 2003 the United States lifted the quota limits<br />

on home textile products, and ABM’s domestic customer<br />

base was destroyed, forcing sales to plummet sixty percent.<br />

Fortunately, the company’s overseas initiatives paid <strong>of</strong>f<br />

and those increased machine sales buoyed it to continued<br />

success. At that time, ABM determined it needed to reduce<br />

shipping costs in order to better support international trade<br />

and the company relocated from Chicago to a port city<br />

where the cost <strong>of</strong> inland freight could be eliminated.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


During the globalization and great<br />

recession <strong>of</strong> the twenty-first century, ABM’s<br />

management team decided to diversify the<br />

company. They took the world-renowned<br />

industrial quilting machine manufacturer into<br />

the home quilting consumer market with the<br />

introduction <strong>of</strong> the Innova ® quilting system.<br />

ABM’s long arm free motion quilting machine<br />

has come to represent engineering excellence<br />

and beautiful design. ABM also <strong>of</strong>fers a full<br />

line <strong>of</strong> accessories, including the AutoPilot<br />

computerized quilting robotics system,<br />

Lightning Stitch digital servo stitch regulator,<br />

and Ecording automatic couching foot,<br />

along with a plethora <strong>of</strong> others available on<br />

the company’s website.<br />

ABM’s quilting machines are not just remarkable—they<br />

are designed for superior performance and longevity. This<br />

is because they meet the company’s exacting standards<br />

in terms <strong>of</strong> quality and reliability. The result—high<br />

performance meets outstanding everyday practicality<br />

and breathtaking dynamics fused with exceptional usability<br />

and stitching perfection.<br />

However, ABM’s customer service department is its most<br />

significant and proudest achievement. The department<br />

strives for 100 percent customer satisfaction, whether by<br />

telephone twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, or<br />

door-to-door. By providing the home market a superior,<br />

high-tech machine with more choices and top-notch<br />

customer service, ABM International and the Innova ® are<br />

setting the industry standard.<br />

Today, ABM International, Inc., is run by Neal<br />

Schwarzberger, Arthur’s grandson and Michael’s son.<br />

Neal has acquired several U.S. patents <strong>of</strong> his own and is<br />

responsible for the invention <strong>of</strong> the world’s first vertical<br />

quilting machine, the Robo Quilter. The Robo Quilter is<br />

the most significant advancement in the quilting industry<br />

since Arthur founded the company with his own invention<br />

more than a half century ago.<br />

ABM International, Inc., continues to operate by the same<br />

principles and values upon which it was founded. Those<br />

standards are evidenced in everything for which—and<br />

whom—the company comes in contact, from the machines<br />

and accessories to the customer utilizing them. ABM’s<br />

standards are sky-high, but the company consistently meets<br />

them, all while striving to improve. As a result, ABM is<br />

raising the industry standard again and again. With quality<br />

dealers, festival visibility, show classrooms, and technological<br />

advancements, ABM’s long-term goal is to provide the<br />

number one selling long arm quilting machine by 2020.<br />

ABM International, Inc., is headquartered in <strong>Montgomery</strong>,<br />

Texas. For more information on the company or any <strong>of</strong><br />

its products, please visit at www.abminternational.com or<br />

www.innovalongarm.com.<br />

✩<br />

Left: From left to right, Neal Schwarzberger, his youngest daughter, Madison,<br />

Mike Schwarzberger and Neal’s brother-in-law, Joe.<br />

Below: Left to right, Mike and Neal Schwarzberger and Barry Shore.<br />

Bottom: Employees inside the ABM International, Inc. factory.<br />




Like many nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organizations, the Lake Conroe<br />

Association (LCA) was created to address a need in the<br />

community. Soon after Lake Conroe’s construction in 1973,<br />

an unwanted aquatic weed named Hydrilla appeared and<br />

threatened the life <strong>of</strong> the lake, covering 100 percent <strong>of</strong><br />

the shoreline and more than 40 percent <strong>of</strong> the lake’s<br />

entire surface. Efforts and funds to combat the invasion<br />

were needed outside <strong>of</strong> the state agencies responsible for<br />

the lake and, thankfully, a group <strong>of</strong> volunteers led by<br />

Dana Richardson, Jr., rose to the occasion. The volunteers<br />

raised and donated more than $900,000 from the<br />

public, and in 1983, nearly eradicated Hydrilla from<br />

Lake Conroe.<br />

With a healthy Lake Conroe, the LCA enjoyed limited<br />

responsibilities until Hydrilla again appeared in 2004,<br />

along with its invasive sisters, Giant Salvinia and Water<br />

Hyacinth. After almost thirty years as president, Richardson<br />

passed the LCA presidency on to Mike Bleier in 2005.<br />

Bleier remains the organization’s president today. From<br />

2005 to 2008, LCA volunteers raised more than $600,000;<br />

created a 50/50 matching program with the San Jacinto<br />

River Authority (SJRA); and contributed more than<br />

$480,000 to SJRA to combat more than 2,000 surface<br />

acres <strong>of</strong> invasive vegetation on Lake Conroe. By 2008,<br />

Hydrilla had again been eliminated, and Giant Salvinia and<br />

Water Hyacinth were under control.<br />

The LCA is a 501(c)3 nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organization that<br />

educates and informs residents and businesses on issues<br />

affecting the use and enjoyment <strong>of</strong> Lake Conroe. Volunteers<br />

staff the organization, and fewer than three percent <strong>of</strong><br />

funds raised each year are spent on administrative costs<br />

(primarily insurance and a bi-annual audit.) The LCA<br />

has evolved into many areas affecting the lake community<br />

outside <strong>of</strong> controlling invasive vegetation. A partial<br />

summary <strong>of</strong> programs in which the organization has been<br />

involved include:<br />

• Public Forum in 2006 at Del Lago (now La Torretta)<br />

discussing lake issues and invasive vegetation, an event<br />

attended by more than 800 residents.<br />

• Forum Luncheon in 2007 at Walden discussing invasive<br />

vegetation, attended by elected state representatives,<br />

elected city and county representatives, SJRA, Texas<br />

Parks & Wildlife, Sam Houston National Forest, <strong>Lone</strong><br />

<strong>Star</strong> Groundwater Conservation District, Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce, and Visitor & Convention Bureau.<br />

• Question and Answer Survey consisting <strong>of</strong> fourteen<br />

questions regarding the then-proposed construction <strong>of</strong><br />

a water treatment plant on Lake Conroe and its effect<br />

on lake levels and the local economy. The association<br />

received 2,565 written responses and submitted the<br />

results to the elected <strong>of</strong>ficials attending the <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Water Summit in September 2009.<br />

✩<br />

Bottom, left and right: White Amur, before and after.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


• Invited participant in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s committee to<br />

review the SJRA water treatment plant proposal and its<br />

effects on lake levels. After <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> elected to<br />

engage Texas A&M University to independently review the<br />

same, the LCA became the lead donor <strong>of</strong> the project and<br />

contributed $69,000 <strong>of</strong> the $152,000 study cost in 2010.<br />

• Submitted Public Comments to the Region H Water<br />

Planning Group in 2011 regarding long-term water<br />

planning for the area.<br />

• During the drought <strong>of</strong> 2012, the association gained<br />

permission from SJRA and Texas Parks & Wildlife to<br />

remove 450 dangerous tree stumps in the main body <strong>of</strong><br />

Lake Conroe and solely funded the $39,000 cost.<br />

• Since 2006, founding members <strong>of</strong> Lake Conroe Advisory<br />

Group (LCA, SJRA, Texas Parks & Wildlife, and angling<br />

organizations), discussed native and invasive plants,<br />

fish health, and overall lake management.<br />

• Since 2014, founding members <strong>of</strong> SJRA Watershed<br />

Protection Plan Committee, created a written program<br />

to maintain the cleanliness and overall health <strong>of</strong><br />

Lake Conroe.<br />

• Key local communicator in fighting the proposed 2016<br />

sale <strong>of</strong> land in the Sam Houston National Forest for oil<br />

and gas exploration around and under Lake Conroe.<br />

With the assistance <strong>of</strong> Clean Water Action and the Center<br />

for Biological Diversity, the organization successfully<br />

removed this land from sale by the Federal Bureau <strong>of</strong><br />

Land Management.<br />

In a current project, the LCA is very proud <strong>of</strong> assisting the<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Constable’s Lake Division by funding<br />

the $4,975 purchase <strong>of</strong> communication equipment, allowing<br />

the rescue team on the boat to communicate with the divers<br />

in the water. This equipment will not only aid in locating<br />

victims in the lake, but also increase safety for constable<br />

divers in Lake Conroe.<br />

Going forward, the LCA sees itself deeply involved in<br />

discussion, education, and funding related to invasive zebra<br />

mussels being identified in more Texas lakes. The LCA<br />

hopes it will not see this problem on Lake Conroe but<br />

believes a proactive approach is warranted.<br />

Individuals and businesses become LCA members by<br />

donating $100 or $200, respectively. The organization does<br />

not charge annual dues and asks its members to contribute<br />

only when a worthy cause presents itself and LCA funds<br />

are diminished. The LCA is always looking for individuals<br />

who would like to join the LCA Board, which meets every<br />

other month.<br />

For more information regarding the LCA, please visit<br />

www.lakeconroeassociation.com. Should you desire to<br />

join the LCA and/or make a tax-deductible contribution,<br />

please send to: Lake Conroe Association, P.O. Box 376,<br />

Willis, Texas 77378-9998.<br />




✩<br />

Above: Left to right, Partners Richard “Dick” Coyle and John C. Husbands.<br />

Below: Management team <strong>of</strong> Stephen Smith, Kammie Enloe and<br />

Warner Phelps.<br />

Since its founding over seventy years ago, Soules Insurance<br />

Agency has had at its heart its customers. It is not easy to<br />

stay in business for such a long time, but if the goal is to<br />

assure not just the sale is made, but the customer’s needs are<br />

met, then it is no wonder we are still here and continuing to<br />

grow to serve a thriving community.<br />

As an agency, we act as trusted advisors to both businesses<br />

and individuals with both personal and commercial coverages.<br />

We represent multiple companies and can intercede for our<br />

clients finding appropriate property, casualty, life, and health<br />

insurance that they need to protect their financial assets.<br />

Conroe and <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> were quite a distance<br />

from Houston in 1947, but Oren and Mary Dee Soules had<br />

the vision to open an independent insurance agency able to<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer coverages to both personal and commercial customers.<br />

As their business grew, so did their ability to access the<br />

companies and coverages best suited to each person that<br />

walked through their doors.<br />

By the early 1970s, Soules had grown enough to add another<br />

producer. Richard (Dick) Coyle had attended Texas A&M and<br />

the University <strong>of</strong> Houston before serving in the U.S. Army as a<br />

helicopter pilot and instructor. Dick entered the field <strong>of</strong> insurance<br />

with the Prudential Insurance Company, but met Oren<br />

through their common interest in flying, and was persuaded to<br />

join the agency. Dick has never been satisfied to simply sell<br />

insurance; he wants to “take part” in a host <strong>of</strong> community and<br />

state-wide organizations. His involvement has included serving<br />

as fund drive chair and president <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

United Way, and president <strong>of</strong> the Conroe Rotary Club. In The<br />

Woodlands, he has served on the board <strong>of</strong> MUD 46 and as<br />

trustee <strong>of</strong> the Joint Powers Agency. He was on the Private<br />

Industry Council <strong>of</strong> HGAC, and has also served as a trustee <strong>of</strong><br />

the University <strong>of</strong> the Americas in Mexico City. Of course, since<br />

the outset, Dick has been a member <strong>of</strong> the Independent<br />

Insurance Agents <strong>of</strong> Texas and <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

When Dick joined Soules, the agency had already established<br />

a reputation for being ready and available to assist our<br />

clients, even in the worst <strong>of</strong> circumstances including hurricanes<br />

and disasters such as fires or floods. There was even a<br />

time when one <strong>of</strong> our customers purchased an ad in the local<br />

Courier saying: “We would like to thank you and your staff for<br />

the excellent and timely service during the recent freeze damage<br />

to our home during the Christmas holidays. Only a local,<br />

concerned agent handling our claim promptly and pr<strong>of</strong>essionally<br />

could have allowed us to complete our repairs immediately<br />

and start the New Year on a positive note!” To continue this<br />

effort, Soules has recently installed an on-site generator,<br />

another investment in our commitment to claims service.<br />

It was not long until Soules had outgrown the <strong>of</strong>fice in the<br />

bank and decided to build a two-story <strong>of</strong>fice building in downtown<br />

Conroe at 701 North San Jacinto. The staff grew quickly<br />

to include more agents and customer service representatives<br />

and has also stayed on the cutting edge with developments in<br />

technology. In 1976, Soules was one <strong>of</strong> the first agencies in the<br />

area to install an in-house computer system, which helped to<br />

speed up processing <strong>of</strong> business and claims. When Mary Dee<br />

and Oren decided to retire, Dick purchased the agency from<br />

them but retained the name, signifying that nothing would<br />

change. The customer would continue to be at the center <strong>of</strong><br />

each coverage considered, and <strong>of</strong> each policy sold.<br />

Soules has always been dedicated to their customers in<br />

times <strong>of</strong> natural disasters. To continue this effort, an on-site<br />

generator has been installed at their <strong>of</strong>fice. This addition is<br />

an investment to the claim service commitment Soules has<br />

always had for their customers.<br />

Since the agency’s founding, continuing education has<br />

been integral to our way <strong>of</strong> doing business. Even before it<br />

was required, we insisted that our agents and staff constantly<br />

update their knowledge in different aspects <strong>of</strong> the field. Dick<br />

earned his chartered life underwriter designation in 1975<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


and became an accredited advisor in insurance in 1985.<br />

Each producers holds one or more pr<strong>of</strong>essional designations<br />

and several employees are accredited customer service<br />

representatives. Ours is a business that changes constantly,<br />

so it is important we keep up, but what never changes is our<br />

emphasis on knowing our customers, and also knowing the<br />

companies and coverages that suit the requirements <strong>of</strong> each<br />

home, family and business.<br />

In 1980 the agency expanded into the rapidly developing<br />

planned community south <strong>of</strong> Conroe, The Woodlands. Our<br />

Panther Creek <strong>of</strong>fice, headed by Linda Ricketts, was critical to<br />

our growth as <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> transitioned from its<br />

rural East Texas roots to a thriving suburban development<br />

demanding a myriad <strong>of</strong> commercial and personal insurance<br />

coverages: With such growth, we have added principals<br />

and staff that have been loyal to our clients and customers<br />

for decades. John Husbands joined the sales staff in 1996<br />

and has become a partner in the agency. A graduate <strong>of</strong> the<br />

University <strong>of</strong> Texas, John specializes in business planning and<br />

estate planning as well as writing large commercial accounts.<br />

While at Soules, John has earned his CLTC and CIC designations<br />

and is an active member and past president <strong>of</strong> both the<br />

Conroe and Lake Conroe Rotary Clubs. He has served on the<br />

board <strong>of</strong> the Conroe Independent School District since 2004<br />

and was elected president for 2015-2017. Devoted to family,<br />

church, and community, John also finds time for hunting and<br />

developing property he now owns in Central Texas.<br />

Kammie Enloe came to Soules as a CSR in 1989. Her aptitude<br />

for the business was obvious and she easily assumed<br />

the role <strong>of</strong> personal lines supervisor and eventually operations<br />

manager. Kammie’s knowledge <strong>of</strong> insurance coupled<br />

with her aptitude for the technology necessary to an agency<br />

such as ours has made her an invaluable asset. She is also<br />

someone who can inspire the staff to put the customer first,<br />

insisting on the attention to detail that carefully matches<br />

each client to the insurance coverage needed. Kammie is<br />

devoted to her family and her church and is especially committed<br />

to her daughter’s high school band activities.<br />

Marketing Manager Warner Phelps has earned the<br />

Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist designation. He graduated<br />

in Finance from Abilene Christian University and later<br />

earned his MBA from Sam Houston State. His expertise with<br />

both insurance and technology makes him a great support<br />

for both our agents and account managers. Warner<br />

is very active in the Conroe Noon Lions Club, and enjoys<br />

mentoring students at local public schools.<br />

Our newest leader is Stephen B. Smith, CPCU. Now executive<br />

vice president <strong>of</strong> Soules, Stephen has more than thirty<br />

years <strong>of</strong> experience in insurance agency management. He has<br />

worked in large agencies throughout Texas and brings expertise<br />

in guiding agents and employees as they grow pr<strong>of</strong>essionally.<br />

A graduate <strong>of</strong> Texas A&M, Stephen also has completed<br />

graduate studies at UT Arlington and the Wharton Business<br />

School Executive Program. He has been a member <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Rotary Club in San Antonio, was president <strong>of</strong> the Preston<br />

Center Rotary Club in Dallas, and is now a member <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Rotary Club <strong>of</strong> The Woodlands. He has also served on more<br />

than one insurance producer council as well as a board<br />

member <strong>of</strong> the Independent Insurance Agents <strong>of</strong> Houston.<br />

Each <strong>of</strong> these pr<strong>of</strong>essionals provides innovative risk management<br />

solutions for companies both large and small. The<br />

industries we serve include construction, manufacturing,<br />

technology, real estate, food, agribusiness, and political<br />

subdivisions. Soules is now a part <strong>of</strong> Dean and Draper,<br />

Insurance, LP, one <strong>of</strong> the largest agencies in Texas. We utilize<br />

their resources to provide greater global reach. Dean and<br />

Draper was recently recognized as one <strong>of</strong> the top 50 Elite<br />

Agencies in the U.S. By “Insuring the Growth <strong>of</strong> Texas,”<br />

we continue the Soules tradition <strong>of</strong> service and stewardship<br />

to all <strong>of</strong> our clients.<br />

✩<br />

Above: Soules Insurance Agency building..<br />

Below Company slogan “Insuring the growth <strong>of</strong> Texas TM .”<br />





In 1997, a group <strong>of</strong> members from the Community<br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce (now the Greater East <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce) held discussions on how to<br />

enhance growth in the eastern area <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>,<br />

Texas. Stifled by a lack <strong>of</strong> amenities and transportation<br />

to other areas <strong>of</strong> the county, the group knew the area<br />

along U.S. Highway 59 would remain stagnant without the<br />

help <strong>of</strong> state legislators. The group went to Austin, and, with<br />

the assistance <strong>of</strong> attorney Mike Page, <strong>of</strong> Schwartz, Page<br />

and Harding, LLP, crafted Texas Senate Bill 921to allow the<br />

creation <strong>of</strong> the East <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Improvement District.<br />

EMCID was ratified by local voters to serve as a taxing<br />

entity to develop and encourage economic and community<br />

development and to promote educational opportunities to<br />

residents in the eastern area <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. EMCID<br />

strategically looks at opportunities in retail, commercial and<br />

industrial development and how they complement each<br />

other. EMCID provides financial incentives to companies<br />

that help create job opportunities, which spurs demand for<br />

residential development and, in turn, brings more shopping<br />

and dining experiences to the area—all <strong>of</strong> which improve<br />

the quality <strong>of</strong> life for the community.<br />

The district is governed by eight elected directors<br />

who serve staggered four-year terms and oversee the<br />

president/CEO. Seven additional staff members currently<br />

handle EMCID’s needs concerning business and human<br />

resources, communications and marketing, special events,<br />

and maintenance. The board <strong>of</strong> directors and staff at<br />

EMCID collaborate with state and county <strong>of</strong>ficials, business<br />

and community leaders and local educational institutions<br />

in a way to help ensure that the mission is being carried out<br />

to the best <strong>of</strong> the organization’s abilities.<br />

EMCID’s first board members appointed by <strong>County</strong><br />

Commissioner Jim Simmons until an election could be<br />

held were: Connie Bloodworth, Leon Cubillas, Jim Deaton,<br />

Stephen Head, Ann Tullis Metoyer, Chuck Schuetz,<br />

Jerry Walters and Fred Wetz. Other key individuals and<br />

organizations in EMCID’s early development included<br />

David Marks, attorney; Joe Costanza, engineer; Mike Page,<br />

attorney; U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Texas); Governor<br />

Rick Perry; Texas Secretary <strong>of</strong> State Roger Williams;<br />

State Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe); State Senator<br />

Michael Galloway (R-Magnolia); State Senator Royce West<br />

(D-Dallas); State Senator Tommy Williams (R-The<br />

Woodlands); State Representative John Otto (R-Dayton);<br />

<strong>County</strong> Commissioner Ed Rinehart; and the Community<br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce.<br />

In 1998, EMCID’s board voted to provide community<br />

development grants to nonpr<strong>of</strong>it and government agencies<br />

for projects within the EMCID boundaries. To date, the<br />

program has disbursed more than $19 million to local fire<br />

and police departments, the constable’s <strong>of</strong>fice, schools,<br />

cities and local community service-oriented organizations.<br />

In 2000 the board started a $1,000 scholarship program<br />

available to graduates <strong>of</strong> New Caney and Splendora school<br />

districts, private high schools and home-schooled students<br />

within EMCID’s boundaries and to GED recipients.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Realizing a need for someone to facilitate change and<br />

growth, the board hired in 2002 Frank McCrady as<br />

president/CEO to expand the scope <strong>of</strong> the district’s impact<br />

on the community and implement smart growth strategies<br />

for the future <strong>of</strong> East <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Under McCrady’s leadership and direction, EMCID’s<br />

board in 2004 created the East <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organization,<br />

as a tool to develop an endowment, which through additional<br />

local community funding, will sustain the scholarship<br />

program in the future. Over the years, the EMCSF expanded<br />

the scholarship program to include an additional $500<br />

merit-based scholarship and a $750 paid internship.<br />

Also in 2004, the EMCID board created the East<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Economic Development Corporation,<br />

a non-pr<strong>of</strong>it subsidiary separate from EMCID, to assist<br />

with economic development plans by utilizing federal and<br />

local funding sources, such as HUD and Community<br />

Development Block Grant programs—monies for which<br />

EMCID, as a government agency, would otherwise not be eligible.<br />

The EMCEDC serves as a funding service to businesses<br />

that want to expand or relocate to East <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Over the years, EMCID has played a pivotal role in<br />

ensuring a better quality <strong>of</strong> life for residents in the area by<br />

advocating for changes legislatively and through local<br />

government that will ensure the district continues to be<br />

a force for growth. EMCID was instrumental in keeping<br />

the Grand Parkway on its current path, intersecting<br />

U.S. Highway 59 at Community Drive in New Caney, and<br />

successfully lobbying the designation <strong>of</strong> 59 as the Interstate<br />

69 NAFTA Superhighway. Seeing an opportunity to recruit<br />

industry to East <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> following the<br />

recruitment <strong>of</strong> the Walmart Distribution Center in 2002,<br />

EMCID created the East <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Industrial<br />

Park, which today encompasses nearly 500 acres <strong>of</strong><br />

improved land. EMCID’s board supported in 2004 the East<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Restaurant Initiative, which allowed<br />

alcohol to be served in restaurants and pushed for state<br />

legislation to create a hotel/motel tax in 2007 to generate<br />

funds to promote travel and tourism, as well as venue and<br />

parking taxes and economic development zones in 2009.<br />

These moves set up the district to attract retail developments<br />

like the Valley Ranch Town Center—the largest development<br />

in Texas in 2016—the Kroger Marketplace Shopping Center<br />

in Porter, and a retail center in Splendora.<br />

In 2014, EMCID’s board identified a greater need for better<br />

communication with its constituents. Kelley Mattlage was<br />

hired as communications director, resulting in the creation<br />

<strong>of</strong> a quarterly newsletter that is mailed to more than 35,000<br />

households and, through EMCID’s website and social media,<br />

consistently updates on new economic developments and<br />

community and educational opportunities.<br />

Growth in the district is not only evident to those who<br />

look around; it is measured by sales tax revenue. Revenue<br />

has increased nearly 400 percent since its first full fiscal<br />

year in 1999. Revenue collected that year was $1.7 million;<br />

revenues exceeded $8.4 million in 2016.<br />

EMCID will continue to expand the retail and commercial<br />

business models for East <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. With the<br />

accelerated growth and infrastructure improvements, it will<br />

be necessary to address the issues associated with additional<br />

residents moving to the area. Smart growth principles,<br />

including recreational tourism, green space and park<br />

space, like the splash pad parks EMCID constructed in<br />

Roman Forest and Splendora, are examples <strong>of</strong> EMCID<br />

planning for the future.<br />

EMCID is located at 21575 U.S. Highway 59 North,<br />

Suite 200 in New Caney; twenty miles northeast <strong>of</strong> downtown<br />

Houston along Interstate 69/U.S. Highway 59.<br />

For more information, visit its website at www.emctx.com.<br />





✩<br />

Above: Morris Eickenhorst, founder <strong>of</strong> Eickenhorst Funeral Services.<br />

Below: The Eickenhorst Family shortly after opening in June <strong>of</strong> 2010.<br />

Eickenhorst Funeral<br />

Services opened their<br />

doors in May <strong>of</strong> 2010<br />

with a very simple yet<br />

powerful vision: to provide<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional funeral<br />

services for the citizens <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> at<br />

the most affordable cost<br />

possible. Their plan to<br />

help families honor their<br />

loved ones without draining<br />

their bank accounts<br />

caught on quickly and Eickenhorst has served thousands <strong>of</strong><br />

families in the brief period since its grand opening.<br />

The Eickenhorst family has lived, worked,<br />

and served in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> for over<br />

forty years, owning several businesses in the<br />

area and serving the community through<br />

various organizations and charities. Morris<br />

Eickenhorst, founder <strong>of</strong> Eickenhorst Funeral<br />

Services, owned a lumber company in Conroe<br />

for many years, but always had a quiet calling<br />

to serve the citizens <strong>of</strong> this county during<br />

times <strong>of</strong> loss. Born and raised in Navasota,<br />

Texas, Morris spent his younger years<br />

performing odd jobs for a nearby funeral<br />

home in exchange for the use <strong>of</strong> their garage<br />

to practice with his musical band, Morris and<br />

the Morticians. It was during this time <strong>of</strong><br />

service that his interest in the funeral industry<br />

was born. Through his life that initial spark<br />

never dulled and the opportunity finally arose<br />

to achieve his dream <strong>of</strong> helping families<br />

honor their loved ones at a reasonable price.<br />

Together with his son, William Eickenhorst and an experienced<br />

funeral director and embalmer in Houston, Jason<br />

Landsman, they set out to make his dream a reality with a simple,<br />

yet pr<strong>of</strong>ound, idea to provide honorable, compassionate,<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional services by directors who truly cared about the<br />

value <strong>of</strong> every dollar spent. This was exactly what they did.<br />

The key to providing superior service at the lowest<br />

possible price was mainly location. The three men knew<br />

they must find the perfect location from which to operate,:<br />

a place that contained everything needed and required<br />

by law, but affordable enough to keep their overhead<br />

expenses as low as possible. What they eventually decide to<br />

call their funeral home was anything but ordinary.<br />

When driving into the parking lot <strong>of</strong> Eickenhorst Funeral<br />

Services, most will not see what they typically expect to find<br />

at a traditional funeral home because the Eickenhorst family<br />

chose a unique location. As opposed to a typical standalone<br />

facility, Eickenhorst is part <strong>of</strong> an <strong>of</strong>fice complex <strong>of</strong><br />

other pr<strong>of</strong>essional businesses. Their funeral home includes<br />

all the necessary amenities found in a traditional funeral<br />

home, just on a smaller scale. Their chapel provides more<br />

than adequate space for visitations and funerals, but when a<br />

family requires a larger space, Eickenhorst utilizes local<br />

churches that are willing to open their doors to non-members<br />

and other citizens who may not have a home church, or are<br />

experiencing financial hardship. It is with these partnerships<br />

in the religious community that Eickenhorst has found<br />

incredible value in ministering to others in a time <strong>of</strong> need.<br />

Location is important, but Eickenhorst Funeral Services<br />

attributes their success mostly to the people who work<br />

there. They lean heavily on the experience and pr<strong>of</strong>essionalism<br />

<strong>of</strong> the directors and other valuable people who assist<br />

them with the services they provide. Everyone from the<br />

crematory to the managing director are carefully selected<br />

and chosen not only for their experience and skills, but for<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


their heart and compassion for others. Everyone involved<br />

with the funeral home sees the pr<strong>of</strong>ession as more than just<br />

a job; it is a calling and a ministry that provides a unique<br />

opportunity to help the community during a very difficult<br />

time. It is because <strong>of</strong> this important aspect, above all else,<br />

that Eickenhorst serves the community so effectively.<br />

Beyond the people and location, Eickenhorst finds value<br />

and joy in serving the community in many ways. Be it<br />

calling Bingo at the local nursing home, serving the elderly<br />

community at Senior Citizens Day at the <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Fair, or being involved in charitable organizations<br />

such as the Rotary Club and Conroe Noon Lions Club,<br />

each employee at Eickenhorst is encouraged to get involved<br />

in the community and take the time to serve others beyond<br />

just their funeral needs.<br />

This concept <strong>of</strong> community service, keeping operational<br />

expenses low, and putting in place simple operational<br />

procedures, while emphasizing care and customer service<br />

and utilizing community churches for large funerals, has<br />

been embraced by much <strong>of</strong> the community. In just six years<br />

<strong>of</strong> business, Eickenhorst<br />

has served thousands <strong>of</strong><br />

families, growing consistently<br />

almost each year.<br />

But do not be mistaken,<br />

Eickenhorst is not a<br />

discount funeral home.<br />

They provide exemplary<br />

customer service and<br />

can direct the simplest<br />

to the most complex <strong>of</strong><br />

funerals. They just do so<br />

at a lower cost than<br />

most <strong>of</strong> the other funeral<br />

homes in the area.<br />

Sadly, shortly after Eickenhorst Funeral Services opened,<br />

their founder, Morris, was diagnosed with cancer. He fought<br />

hard, but lost the battle after nineteen months. William and<br />

Jason carried on the tradition and helped the funeral home<br />

become what it is today. Now, Morris’ youngest son, Jacob,<br />

has joined the staff and become a valuable addition to the<br />

workforce at Eickenhorst. It is truly a family business that is<br />

ready to serve the families <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> during<br />

their most difficult <strong>of</strong> times.<br />

The Eickenhorst family has not changed its original<br />

vision and it continues to treat this business as a ministry.<br />

Now, as they have become established and look to the<br />

future and the next steps to take in their journey, they<br />

look to their founder for encouragement and guidance.<br />

As Morris once said, “Share the Good News and a smile<br />

every chance you get. Everyone, including yourself, will<br />

be better <strong>of</strong>f for it.” So, that is what one will find<br />

at Eickenhorst Funeral Services: a friendly smile, a<br />

compassionate embrace, and the love <strong>of</strong> family.<br />

✩<br />

Above: Left to right, sons <strong>of</strong> Morris and funeral directors, Jacob and<br />

William Eickenhorst.<br />

Left: Manager, funeral director and embalmer, Jason Landsman. He helped<br />

the Eickenhorst family open the funeral home and has been with them from<br />

the beginning.<br />





A Division <strong>of</strong> The Howard Hughes Corporation ®<br />

The Woodlands is the natural choice. Ranked as one<br />

<strong>of</strong> the best-selling master planned communities in<br />

Texas and the nation, The Woodlands is a 28,000-acre,<br />

forested development located twenty-seven miles north <strong>of</strong><br />

downtown Houston on Interstate 45. The Woodlands is an<br />

award-winning community, which stays true to its vision <strong>of</strong><br />

creating a “live, work, play and learn” environment.<br />

Living is at its best in The Woodlands with a variety <strong>of</strong><br />

new homes from traditional single-family residences to<br />

townhomes, multifamily and urban living.<br />

The Woodlands thrives on recreation with seven championship<br />

golf courses, over 140 parks, more than 209 miles<br />

<strong>of</strong> hike-and-bike trails, community pools and splash pads<br />

and numerous tennis courts. Kayaking and water sports<br />

are just a paddle away at the Lakes Edge Boat House on<br />

Lake Woodlands and the Riva Row Boat House at The<br />

Woodlands Waterway. Fitness facilities are also abundant<br />

in this community.<br />

Grab your bike or even walk as an alternative to travel to<br />

work. The Woodlands is home to over 2,100 businesses and<br />

corporations, providing jobs for more than 64,000 people.<br />

New corporations can move into additional Class A <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

or build-to-suit spaces.<br />

The Woodlands <strong>of</strong>fers convenient shopping experiences<br />

at upscale boutiques and national brand leaders. You<br />

can shop in The Woodlands Town Center at destinations<br />

including Hughes Landing, The Woodlands Mall and<br />

Market Street or at neighborhood village centers. Nearby<br />

residents enjoy walking to the new Creekside Park Village<br />

Green where retail and restaurants surround a quaint<br />

village park. Dining experiences are situated throughout<br />

The Woodlands, ranging from casual to exquisite with over<br />

200 restaurants to meet your culinary tastes.<br />

Playing has never been more exciting and relaxing<br />

than enjoying music from your favorite artist or a concert<br />

from the Houston Symphony at The Cynthia Woods<br />

Mitchell Pavilion, one <strong>of</strong> the top-ranked outdoor amphitheaters<br />

in the world.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> the best lifestyle intersections in The Woodlands<br />

is Hughes Landing, an award-winning sixty-six-acre mixeduse<br />

development on Lake Woodlands. Hughes Landing<br />

seamlessly mixes retail, dining at Restaurant Row, living at<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


the luxury One Lakes Edge apartments with a dog park,<br />

working in one <strong>of</strong> five Class A <strong>of</strong>fice buildings and staying at<br />

the Embassy Suites by Hilton with entertainment at Hughes<br />

Landing Park, with band shell and boardwalk, creating a<br />

dynamic destination, all in a walkable setting. The Lakes Edge<br />

Boat House and sculptures can be found in Hughes Landing.<br />

Learning is vital to this community with the highlyranked<br />

Conroe, Magnolia and Tomball Independent School<br />

Districts along with prestigious private schools like The<br />

John Cooper School. Higher education is also available<br />

with the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College System and Sam Houston State<br />

University—The Woodlands Center.<br />

Come visit The Woodlands today and call this premier<br />

community home. The Woodlands—it is the natural choice.<br />

For more information, visit TheWoodlands.com.<br />

✩<br />

Opposite, top: The Woodlands is a forested, master planned community<br />

located north <strong>of</strong> downtown Houston.<br />

Opposite, center: Fireworks are displayed over Hughes Landing on<br />

Lake Woodlands during the Independence Day celebration.<br />

Opposite, bottom: Hughes Landing is an award-winning, sixty-six acre<br />

mixed-use development on Lake Woodlands <strong>of</strong>fering a dynamic destination<br />

for shopping, dining, entertainment, recreation, <strong>of</strong>fice, multifamily and<br />

hotel stays.<br />

Above: The Woodlands Town Center is located in the heart <strong>of</strong> the<br />

community and provides shopping, dining, hotel accommodations, <strong>of</strong>fices and<br />

entertainment. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, a world-renowned<br />

outdoor amphitheater, is located here.<br />

Left: Retail, restaurants and service providers surround Creekside Park<br />

Village Green in The Woodlands.<br />




✩<br />

Top: John and Claudia Simmons with their supporters at the ribbon cutting<br />

ceremony for the new Willis building in 1987.<br />

Above: Michael Simmons making pizzas with his siblings, Lisa and Joseph,<br />

and their uncle, Jim Simmons, working the pizza ovens in 1995.<br />

Craving the American and Italian food they left behind<br />

when they moved to Texas from the East Coast, the<br />

Simmons and Kiely families introduced Italian cuisine to<br />

Willis when they founded Pizza Shack in 1985. Today, the<br />

business operates two locations in Willis and <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

that specialize in Italian staples such as pasta, pizza, and<br />

calzones made with top-<strong>of</strong>-the-line cheese. The restaurant<br />

also <strong>of</strong>fers a diverse menu that includes everything<br />

from subs and sandwiches to soups and salads to<br />

seafood, chicken, and steak. From the beginning, Pizza<br />

Shack’s mission has been to create lifetime guests by<br />

<strong>of</strong>fering attentive service and consistently good food in a<br />

welcoming atmosphere.<br />

John and Claudia Simmons, along with their siblings<br />

David, Glen, and Darren Kiely, started Pizza Shack in a<br />

small house with little more than a KitchenAid mixer<br />

and residential oven at their disposal. In the beginning,<br />

the family struggled to make any money. In fact, many <strong>of</strong><br />

them had other jobs in addition to the new restaurant.<br />

Like most businesses, Pizza Shack began as a small<br />

operation causing many suppliers to shy away from<br />

distributing their products. The dedication <strong>of</strong> the family<br />

led them to drive through town gathering groceries and<br />

supplies for Pizza Shack’s daily operations.<br />

Eventually, they were able to purchase another mixer<br />

and could make four pizzas at one time. Before long, they<br />

added a delivery service. Pizza Shack’s founders can recall<br />

having a goal <strong>of</strong> making $500 a week. When the family<br />

reached that target, they were ecstatic, thinking they had<br />

finally made it.<br />

Perseverance and determination paid <strong>of</strong>f for the family.<br />

They recruited another relative, Jim Simmons, a trained<br />

chef from the Culinary Institute <strong>of</strong> America in New York,<br />

to perfect other dishes as their menu slowly grew.<br />

By August 21, 1997, the business had grown enough to<br />

justify building a freestanding building just down the street<br />

from Pizza Shack’s original location in Willis. John and<br />

Claudia continued as owners with many family members<br />

also employed. Their son, Michael, has been working for<br />

Pizza Shack since he was twelve years old and has done<br />

nearly every job in the restaurant. He is now the general<br />

manager and vice-president <strong>of</strong> Pizza Shack. Michael and<br />

his wife, Laura, have kept the business in line with restaurant<br />

trends while still maintaining its hometown charm.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


They will assume responsibility and purchase ownership <strong>of</strong><br />

the business when John and Claudia are ready to retire.<br />

Other family members have continued to fulfill a variety <strong>of</strong><br />

roles at Pizza Shack, from dishwashers to servers to store<br />

managers. Together, the family has worked hard the past<br />

three decades to make Pizza Shack a success while staying<br />

true to its roots.<br />

In 2003, Pizza Shack fulfilled the community’s request<br />

for catering, opening Danello’s at its new <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

location. The name is a nod to John and Claudia’s youngest<br />

son, Daniel. Danello’s is dedicated to providing superior<br />

food and customer service at every event, large or small.<br />

It <strong>of</strong>fers pick-up or drop-<strong>of</strong>f meals as well as full-service<br />

catering. Danello’s has a variety <strong>of</strong> cuisines available and its<br />

chef is also willing to work with each customer to create<br />

a customized menu.<br />

John and Claudia’s daughter, Amanda, and her grandmother,<br />

Claudette, have made Pizza Shack’s decadent<br />

homemade desserts for many years. In 2012, Amanda<br />

turned her baking talent into a lucrative business making<br />

specialty cupcakes. Amanda operates her business,<br />

BabyCakes, in Pizza Shack’s restaurants. BabyCakes has<br />

become so popular that Amanda is looking<br />

to soon expand the business. She recently<br />

won an episode <strong>of</strong> Bakers vs. Fakers on the<br />

Food Network.<br />

Pizza Shack donates to the community<br />

and supports local schools every chance it<br />

gets. In addition, veterans, police <strong>of</strong>ficers, first<br />

responders, and teachers receive discounted<br />

meals from Pizza Shack every day <strong>of</strong> the year. In partnership<br />

with Sam Houston Memorial Funeral Home, Pizza Shack<br />

also serves a complimentary catered lunch to veterans once<br />

a month. Additionally, they provide a catered lunch to<br />

senior citizens monthly. Pizza Shack has received many<br />

“best <strong>of</strong>” awards in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> since its inception.<br />

Pizza Shack has come a long way from its humble<br />

beginnings. In 2017, Pizza Shack in <strong>Montgomery</strong> will move<br />

to a new freestanding location. The new restaurant will be<br />

13,000 square feet and complete with a separate, full-size<br />

catering kitchen.<br />

Pizza Shack invites you to visit one <strong>of</strong> their restaurants<br />

in Willis or <strong>Montgomery</strong>. For more information on the<br />

business or to view their menu, visit www.pizzashack.com.<br />

✩<br />

Left: Chef Matt in front <strong>of</strong> the Willis location with the catering van.<br />

Right: Back row, left to right, David Kiely, Michael Simmons and<br />

John Simmons. Front row, left to right, Laura Simmons, Claudia Simmons<br />

and Linda Szarmach.<br />





In the late 1950s, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair Association<br />

started with “field days”—simple daylong events the<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce Agricultural<br />

Division held in fields. Locations changed to local ranches<br />

and farms, and activities were added. Nearly sixty years<br />

later, the renowned event is now a fair, rodeo, and barbecue<br />

cook-<strong>of</strong>f that supports area youth. It is considered the best<br />

small-town county fair in the state.<br />

In 1965, when the Candy Cane Park Pavilion was three<br />

years old, the fair’s show and auction sale had outgrown<br />

its building. The auction had to be held at the Cow Palace<br />

auction barn east <strong>of</strong> Conroe. By 1967 this area also became<br />

too small for the fair’s Junior Livestock Show, and the<br />

following year, the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fairgrounds<br />

became its new home. In 1979, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair<br />

incorporated, and in 1985 the fair <strong>of</strong>fices moved to the<br />

fairgrounds, where they are located today. An exhibit<br />

building and two livestock barns have been added to the<br />

site and the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Expo Center opened in 2001.<br />

Currently, our Fair is a 501c3 organization governed by<br />

an executive board. The fair association could not operate<br />

without its 650 volunteers and 2500 members!<br />

The Fair begins on a Friday followed by an action packed<br />

weekend with various Livestock and Non-Livestock Shows,<br />

Adult Homemaking Show, Ag. Mechanics Show, 2 Rodeo performances<br />

complete with Youth Events and Calf Scramble,<br />

2 nights <strong>of</strong> live entertainment, Fair Queen’s contest and<br />

crowning, a Ranch Rodeo, Carnival, Cowboy Church and all<br />

the grounds acts you could possible ever need! During the first<br />

weekend, the estimated attendance is 15,000. To honor our<br />

Uniformed Military Personnel, we dedicate the first weekend<br />

to Military Appreciation Days and their admission is free!<br />

The week following leaves no room for boredom, with<br />

grounds entertainment to include the grounds shows such as<br />

a comedy gunfight, petting zoo and pony rides, tractor pulls<br />

and much more. Livestock Shows, Special Education<br />

Auction, Non-Livestock Auction and Livestock Auction,<br />

Livestock Judging Contest, Multi-<strong>County</strong> Team Roping, Pet<br />

Parade and Replacement Heifer Show/Sale keep the week<br />

hoppin’ ‘round here! This week is also home to 2 Kids Days<br />

for field trips and a Senior Citizens day which even award a<br />

King & Queen! We expect 5,000 fair-goers during this week.<br />

No admission is charged to encourage families to frequent<br />

the grounds.<br />

The last weekend <strong>of</strong> the Fair is the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Fair BBQ Cook-<strong>of</strong>f, which consisted <strong>of</strong> 143 teams in 2017.<br />

Patrons will enjoy food and fun <strong>of</strong> all kinds, a BBQ Cook-Off<br />

contest, Horse Shoe and Washer Pitching Contest, and<br />

we even host the Most Decorated Port-A-Poddy contest!!<br />

On Sunday, the Hispanic heritage is celebrated with live<br />

entertainment and authentic food galore! Our attendance<br />

on this final weekend is our largest crowd <strong>of</strong> 40,000.<br />

We provide a free shuttle from two different locations to<br />

encourage people to join in our fun!<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


In 2017, many records were set including the Jr. Non-<br />

Livestock Auction, which raised $240,480 for 75 items.<br />

The Livestock Auction raised $868,712.50 for 135 items<br />

and the Replacement Heifer Auction raised $111,800 for<br />

42 heifers totaling <strong>of</strong> over $1.22M! The MCFA had over<br />

1,300 participants in all shows and over 2,300 entries!<br />

Year to date, the Livestock Auction alone has awarded<br />

over $18M to area youth!<br />

Our most prized possession is the MCFA Scholarship<br />

program which began in 1993 when the scholarship trail<br />

ride committee was established. The funds raised by the<br />

committee went toward scholarships for graduating seniors.<br />

Along with the proceeds from the scholarship trail ride, a<br />

percentage <strong>of</strong> the livestock and homemaking auctions <strong>of</strong> the<br />

fair help fund the scholarship program. More than $2 million<br />

in college scholarships have been awarded since 1993.<br />

Six public school districts within <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>,<br />

including twelve senior high schools (Caney Creek, Conroe,<br />

Magnolia, Magnolia West, <strong>Montgomery</strong>, New Caney, Oak<br />

Ridge, Porter, Splendora, The Woodlands, The Woodlands<br />

College Park, and Willis) are eligible for the fair’s scholarship<br />

program. Students also may be enrolled in a private,<br />

parochial, or specialized school in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Students must be in the top one-fourth <strong>of</strong> their graduating<br />

class, have a minimum SAT score <strong>of</strong> 900 or ACT score <strong>of</strong><br />

twenty, must graduate high school at the end <strong>of</strong> the spring<br />

semester the award is bestowed or be a midterm graduate<br />

at the time <strong>of</strong> application.<br />

The <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair Association is located<br />

at 9201 Airport Road in Conroe. For more information<br />

about the association or its events, visit its website at<br />

www.mcfa.org.<br />





✩<br />

Left to right: Brooke Verinder, Greg Wolfe and Daniel Pakuszewski.<br />

Southwestern Imaging Systems & Service (SWISS) is<br />

focused on making a positive difference in the supply,<br />

support, and servicing <strong>of</strong> medical imaging equipment.<br />

Founded in 2002, the company provides sales, leasing,<br />

and service options for PET/CT, cardiac PET, nuclear<br />

cardiology, and nuclear medicine diagnostic imaging systems.<br />

Founded on principles <strong>of</strong> honesty, ethical behavior,<br />

and a service-first attitude, SWISS contributes to the<br />

operation <strong>of</strong> its customer companies by providing imaging<br />

systems, parts, and services.<br />

Southwestern Imaging was originally founded by<br />

Brooke Verinder and three investors. A former United<br />

States Army field nurse, Brooke has always had a strong<br />

interest in business. In fact, Brooke’s father was a business<br />

owner, and from him she learned an appreciation for<br />

company ownership and the skills necessary to successfully<br />

run a business. In addition to being “born into business,”<br />

Brooke has also benefitted from the support and encouragement<br />

she has received from her husband, Tim, and her<br />

two children, Gavin and Grace.<br />

In 2002, two companies, Advanced Cardio Associates<br />

in Beaumont and Riverpoint Cardio Associates in<br />

Conroe, let it be known that they were open to working<br />

with an independent service provider. With that<br />

jumpstart, Verinder and her team <strong>of</strong> investors started<br />

the company. From the start, SWISS followed a path<br />

towards growth based on its founding principles. These<br />

principles are clearly spelled out in the company’s<br />

mission statement:<br />

“The mission <strong>of</strong> Southwestern Imaging Systems &<br />

Service is to make a positive difference in the area <strong>of</strong><br />

medical imaging. We will contribute to the well-being <strong>of</strong><br />

our industry by providing systems, parts, and services in a<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional, reliable, and ethical manner.”<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Almost fifteen years later, Advanced Cardio Associates<br />

and Riverpoint Cardio Associates are still customers <strong>of</strong><br />

Southwestern Imaging, a testament to the company’s ability<br />

and willingness to meet its customers’ needs.<br />

From its beginnings in 2002,<br />

Southwestern Imaging charted<br />

a path for growth. In 2006,<br />

Southwestern Imaging took<br />

another important step when it<br />

added Greg Wolfe as the company’s<br />

service manager. Later, Greg<br />

was named chief operating <strong>of</strong>ficer<br />

for the company. Bringing a<br />

unique combination <strong>of</strong> technical<br />

knowledge and skills with business<br />

acumen, Wolfe has contributed<br />

to the success <strong>of</strong> the<br />

company by taking the quality <strong>of</strong><br />

its overall operation to an even<br />

higher level.<br />

Another key contributor to<br />

SWISS’ effort today is vice president<br />

<strong>of</strong> sales, Dan Pakuszewski.<br />

As a certified nuclear medicine<br />

technologist, Dan is able to parlay technical knowledge<br />

with capital equipment sales and project management<br />

experience to ensure that SWISS meets customers’ needs<br />

and operational objectives. Dan has been a key factor in a<br />

number <strong>of</strong> customer companies being able to achieve their<br />

imaging objectives in a cost-effective and timely manner.<br />

Since its founding almost fifteen years ago, Southwestern<br />

Imaging has grown from a company consisting <strong>of</strong> its two<br />

founding partners to an organization <strong>of</strong> more than fifteen<br />

full-time employees. Southwestern Imaging currently<br />

operates out <strong>of</strong> the 6,000-square foot facility located in<br />

Spring, Texas, and has a sales <strong>of</strong>fice in California. The<br />

company also is expanding its service <strong>of</strong>ferings into<br />

nuclear pharmaceuticals, which management envisions as<br />

a rapidly growing area <strong>of</strong> business.<br />

In addition to successfully managing its growth,<br />

Southwestern Imaging has also made time for a wide range<br />

<strong>of</strong> charitable works. One such activity is the company’s<br />

relationship with a young girl in El Salvador named S<strong>of</strong>ia.<br />

For the past seven years, Southwestern Imaging has contributed<br />

to the well-being <strong>of</strong> this young woman in a number<br />

<strong>of</strong> ways. In fact, going far beyond providing simple financial<br />

assistance, Brooke has visited S<strong>of</strong>ia on several occasions.<br />

For more information about Southwestern Imaging<br />

Systems & Service, call them at 888-295-2367 or visit the<br />

company’s website at www.swissnm.com.<br />





Since 2005, Conroe’s Incredible Pizza Company, located<br />

just north <strong>of</strong> Houston, has brought together families,<br />

friends, corporations and organizations in a 1950s-themed<br />

restaurant and entertainment venue.<br />

Good times can be had in IPC’s multiple dining rooms<br />

and festive private party rooms. Guests enjoy the unlimited<br />

buffet with food prepared from scratch daily, including<br />

an assortment <strong>of</strong> pizzas, pastas and sauces, a vibrant<br />

salad bar, and homemade desserts. IBC’s indoor fairgrounds<br />

keep guests entertained with laser tag, go-karts, miniature<br />

golf and bowling, bumper cars, ice skating, and more than<br />

125 video games. Visit Conroe’s Incredible Pizza Company,<br />

where nothing tops our pizza but the fun!<br />

Dr. Edward Blackburne, III wrote a research paper on the<br />

IPC franchise and urged his parents, Edward, Jr., and Janette<br />

Blackburne, to visit its restaurant. The Blackburnes met<br />

with the franchise’s owners, Rick and Cheryl Barsness at<br />

their only store at the time, located in Springfield, Missouri.<br />

The Blackburnes were impressed with its fun, family-oriented<br />

atmosphere and Christian principles.<br />

Rick and his research team visited Conroe to see the<br />

potential building and location for Conroe’s IPC. They felt<br />

it was an ideal spot because <strong>of</strong> the nearby freeway and<br />

determined the building was in good condition and would<br />

work well for the store. The Blackburnes then decided to buy<br />

into the America’s Incredible Pizza Company Franchise and<br />

plans began for the build out. The franchise’s team did some<br />

drawings for the Blackburnes to view and guide them on<br />

how to make the best use <strong>of</strong> the space. They also provided<br />

contactors and vendors for all the store’s furnishings.<br />

Mario Valadez became managing partner and part owner.<br />

In September 2005, one month after Conroe’s Incredible<br />

Pizza Company opened, Hurricane Rita, a Category 5 storm,<br />

headed for Houston, and its owners prepared for the store’s<br />

temporary closing. Northernmost freeways in the area were<br />

congested with traffic fleeing the area. Many residents who<br />

stayed, ran out <strong>of</strong> gasoline and food. Ultimately, the storm<br />

veered to the right <strong>of</strong> Houston, sparing it and the surrounding<br />

area from the torrential rainfall, winds and devastation<br />

wrought on other parts <strong>of</strong> the state.<br />

Despite its stormy start, Conroe’s IPC has established<br />

itself as the go-to spot for birthday parties, family events<br />

and celebrations, company meetings and corporate<br />

events.The eatery and entertainment venue strives to<br />

achieve top-quality status in food and service through<br />

employee training, attitude, pride and morals. The<br />

Blackburnes and Valadez aim to provide an atmosphere in<br />

which its 100 to 150 employees can learn and grow through<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


its family values. The owners’ goals are to welcome every<br />

customer like a long-lost friend and to provide a unifying<br />

experience for families through fun, entertainment and<br />

excellent food.<br />

Conroe’s IPC strives to stay modern, <strong>of</strong>fering new games<br />

and attractions each year at its store. The Blackburnes and<br />

Valadez remain focused on the beauty and maintenance<br />

<strong>of</strong> the building and constantly strive to provide a dining<br />

experience—with great food choices—that are second to<br />

none. The owners believe that testing new recipes for the<br />

store’s buffets is very important in ensuring its menus<br />

remain fresh and enticing.<br />

Like its franchise, Conroe’s IPC is committed to operating<br />

according to God’s principles. The Blackburnes want their<br />

work to be an adventure done in a spirit <strong>of</strong> cooperation and<br />

fun. In doing this, their goal is to build relationships within<br />

its staff, customers and vendors.<br />

Conroe’s IPC is actively involved in the lives <strong>of</strong> the<br />

children <strong>of</strong> its community and strives to be a positive<br />

influence. The business partners with the Conroe YMCA<br />

and their Leap <strong>of</strong> Faith program and supports equine<br />

therapy for children and adults who have special needs.<br />

For more information on Conroe’s Incredible Pizza<br />

Company, visit its website at IPCconroe.com, or stop by the<br />

store, open seven days a week at 230 South Loop 336 West.<br />





✩<br />


The Greater Conroe Economic Development Council<br />

(GCEDC) serves the City <strong>of</strong> Conroe to assist in attracting<br />

and retaining primary jobs and qualified capital investment<br />

within its targeted industry sectors. The city, through its<br />

Industrial Development Corporation, contracted with CIDC<br />

to do marketing, incentive negotiation and day-to-day operations<br />

required to run an effective economic development<br />

program. GCEDC conducts marketing and promotion <strong>of</strong><br />

the Conroe area throughout Texas, the U.S. and overseas to<br />

firms who might have an interest in locating or expanding<br />

to Conroe. It provides assistance with site selection as well<br />

as incentive negotiation, permitting, workforce training and<br />

hiring, and customized research.<br />

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a group <strong>of</strong> local<br />

business owners pooled their funds to purchase 150 acres<br />

<strong>of</strong> land in what is now Conroe Park North. These early<br />

pioneers <strong>of</strong> economic development marketed the property<br />

themselves but, lacking the resources to provide needed<br />

infrastructure into the park, merged into the GCEDC.<br />

GCEDC was founded in 1995 after a 1994 election allowed<br />

the half-cent sales tax being collected to be dedicated for<br />

economic development purposes.<br />

With <strong>of</strong>fices located in the Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce<br />

Building and funds available to hire a full-time staff to<br />

market the property and provide needed public infrastructure,<br />

the GCEDC was <strong>of</strong>f and running. Its first<br />

CEO, Tom Stinson, was hired in 1995. The vision provided<br />

by the GCEDC and support from the City Council and city<br />

administration have allowed for acquisition <strong>of</strong> land and<br />

needed expansion into Conroe and <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

GCEDC worked with the Conroe Industrial Development<br />

Corporation (the statutory board that oversees the 4B<br />

sales tax funds) to develop the first phase <strong>of</strong> Conroe Park<br />

North, acquiring an existing industrial park, Conroe<br />

Industrial Park.<br />

Local business owner, Gene Campbell, was a great asset<br />

to GCEDC in terms <strong>of</strong> the sale <strong>of</strong> land owned by his family<br />

adjacent to the park. Today, Conroe Park North encompasses<br />

more than 1,045 acres and has businesses from around the<br />

world in the park or nearby. In addition to Campbell, business<br />

leader Don Buckalew with Buckalew Chevrolet and attorney<br />

R.A.“Mickey” Deison, a former <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> judge and<br />

former mayor <strong>of</strong> Conroe, were critical to GCEDC’s success.<br />

GCEDC’s contract with the Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce<br />

ended in 2012, and the department was folded into the<br />

City <strong>of</strong> Conroe’s governmental structure. The CIDC Board<br />

continues to serve as the advisory board over the 4B funds,<br />

and the GCEDC Board <strong>of</strong> Directors serves in an advisory<br />

capacity to manage the strategic goals <strong>of</strong> the organization.<br />

The GCEDC has operated from a series <strong>of</strong> economic<br />

development strategic plans for marketing and business<br />

retention and expansion. The current plan and strategies<br />

were adopted in 2015 and include focus on existing business<br />

sectors in energy, manufacturing and distribution.<br />

GCEDC is planting the seeds for future sectors in healthcare,<br />

life science, aerospace and advanced manufacturing<br />

through a program <strong>of</strong> work that included the development<br />

<strong>of</strong> a new business and technology park near Conroe<br />

Park North. Deison Technology Park is being developed as<br />

an emerging location for engineering, R&D and clean<br />

technologies touching on aerospace, medical device and<br />

renewable energy, along with IT development.<br />

GCEDC has grown to a staff <strong>of</strong> five individuals who oversee<br />

recruitment <strong>of</strong> new business to the community and<br />

work side-by-side with existing businesses to help them<br />

grow and expand. The ED sales tax generated $10.4 million<br />

in Fiscal Year 2015-2016.<br />

GCEDC’s <strong>of</strong>fices are in the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber<br />

<strong>of</strong> Commerce Building at 505 West Davis Street. For more<br />

information about GCEDC, visit its website at www.gcedc.org.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership,<br />

a nonpr<strong>of</strong>it founded on February 24, 1997, after the chamber<br />

<strong>of</strong> commerce recognized the value <strong>of</strong> local business leaders<br />

and employers working together to encourage area growth.<br />

Chamber leaders wanted to address The Woodlands’ business<br />

retention issue, and several <strong>of</strong> their board members<br />

contributed cash for EDP’s startup.<br />

The EDP began in the chamber <strong>of</strong>fices with the mission<br />

<strong>of</strong> promoting the economic development <strong>of</strong> The Woodlands<br />

area through support <strong>of</strong> existing businesses and recruitment<br />

<strong>of</strong> new businesses that can bring opportunities to the<br />

area. After about five years <strong>of</strong> establishing its value,<br />

EDP became the principal economic developer for the<br />

incorporated communities <strong>of</strong> Oak Ridge North and<br />

Shenandoah, and also began representing unincorporated<br />

South <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> and The Woodlands Township.<br />

EDP receives and processes leads from lead generators,<br />

i.e. entities including the State <strong>of</strong> Texas, Entergy Texas,<br />

site locators, Greater Houston Partnership, and commercial<br />

brokers. EDP has the support <strong>of</strong> The Woodlands Township,<br />

City <strong>of</strong> Shenandoah, and the City <strong>of</strong> Oak Ridge North in<br />

funding economic development activities for the community.<br />

EDP links the public to Texas’ successful business climate,<br />

coordinating available resources in the area to facilitate moves<br />

to or expansions within The Woodlands’ vibrant business<br />

and lifestyle community. Employers are matched to a unique<br />

business environment, provided access to quality employees<br />

to help grow that business, assisted with government,<br />

regulatory, and transportation infrastructure, and introduced<br />

to a destination lifestyle. Since EDP’s inception, The<br />

Woodlands has experienced steady job growth—from just<br />

over 17,500 jobs to the current level <strong>of</strong> 63,000-plus jobs.<br />

EDP’s growth statistics are aligned with membership<br />

revenue. Since 1997 the organization’s membership<br />

base has grown from eight members to ninety-two and<br />

membership revenue has grown from approximately<br />

$50,000 to over $900,000.<br />

EDP’s priorities for the future include increased, organized,<br />

and employee-directed communication utilizing social<br />

media, town hall meetings, publication <strong>of</strong> regional data,<br />

provision <strong>of</strong> economic development information, and<br />

assistance from board members who speak on behalf <strong>of</strong> the<br />

organization. EDP also plans to market and expand its<br />

regional scope and recruit additional businesses while<br />

supporting and retaining existing ones by expanding<br />

awareness <strong>of</strong> The Woodlands, involving local business<br />

executives, creating a mentoring and incentive program,<br />

broadening membership, and re-evaluating target industries<br />

and adjusting them based on The Woodlands’ assets.<br />

The organization hopes to further educate and provide<br />

its members opportunities for engagement through the<br />

provision <strong>of</strong> information regarding new businesses that are<br />

opening, the establishment <strong>of</strong> a committee to monitor and<br />

advocate for issues affecting businesses, spotlighting<br />

their positive experiences with EDP,<br />

identifying their wants and needs, and encouraging<br />

them to involve their employees in EDP.<br />

EDP’s other priorities include establishing<br />

a more welcoming business climate and<br />

transportation infrastructure and marketing<br />

EDP to the business community. To do this, it<br />

plans to develop a PR campaign telling why<br />

people are moving to the area, work more<br />

closely with education leaders, inform employers<br />

<strong>of</strong> long-term plans, make metrics more<br />

available, be proactive in researching emerging<br />

trends and ideas, and support initiatives aimed<br />

at improving public transportation.<br />

For more information on EDP, visit their<br />

website at www.edpartnership.net.<br />







Barbara Shrader, owner <strong>of</strong> BCS Properties has been a<br />

licensed real estate agent since 1994 and a <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> resident since 1979. When the opportunity arose<br />

for Shrader to start her own real estate business, she—with<br />

her husband Charles as broker—built a new, centrallylocated<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice and opened BCS Properties in 2001. The<br />

boutique real estate agency <strong>of</strong>fers full residential and<br />

commercial divisions with exemplary service.<br />

Shrader moved to Conroe, Texas, when the area had<br />

fewer than five restaurants and shopping was nonexistent.<br />

With a population <strong>of</strong> over 455,000 at the time <strong>of</strong> the<br />

2010 Census, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is now one <strong>of</strong> the<br />

fastest-growing counties in Texas. Whether the area <strong>of</strong><br />

interest is Conroe, The Woodlands, <strong>Montgomery</strong>, Willis, or<br />

nearby, Shrader’s twenty-plus years <strong>of</strong> real estate experience<br />

and in-depth knowledge <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> can<br />

assist seasoned homeowners and first-time buyers alike<br />

achieve their home-ownership goals.<br />

BCS Properties’ website, www.bcsproperties.com, provides<br />

local real estate information for prospective buyers.<br />

Highlights about the Northwest Houston real estate market<br />

—including Conroe, Willis, The Woodlands, Lake Conroe,<br />

and the surrounding area—are summarized, along with<br />

BCS Properties’ feature homes and MLS listings. The<br />

company also has ten pr<strong>of</strong>essional agents with extensive<br />

backgrounds in residential and commercial real estate and<br />

more than 125 years <strong>of</strong> combined experience.<br />

Shrader has been BCS Properties’ broker since 2013. She<br />

is a 2010 graduate <strong>of</strong> the Texas Realtor Leadership Program<br />

and was named a Texas Monthly Five <strong>Star</strong> Award Winner in<br />

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016. (Five <strong>Star</strong> award winners<br />

represent fewer than three percent <strong>of</strong> real estate agents in<br />

the Houston area.) Shrader was also named 2009 Realtor <strong>of</strong><br />

the Year by the Women’s Council <strong>of</strong> Realtors and served as<br />

president <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Women’s Council <strong>of</strong><br />

Realtors in 2011. She is a graduate <strong>of</strong> the Realtor Institute,<br />

is a luxury home specialist, and an accredited buyer’s<br />

representative. Shrader is a member <strong>of</strong> the Lake Conroe<br />

Area Republican Women, the Conroe/Lake Conroe<br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, and the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Women’s Council <strong>of</strong> Realtors.<br />

Shrader and all her agents enjoy being able to help<br />

people fulfill their dreams. Sometimes BCS Properties’<br />

agents have to assist clients when they are going through<br />

difficult times in their lives, but these types <strong>of</strong> situations<br />

are opportunities that allow them to demonstrate their<br />

helpful nature. Shrader feels proud and honored to work<br />

among such a caring staff.<br />

BCS Properties is different from other real estate agencies<br />

because it is a referral business. BCS Properties is known<br />

in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> for operating with integrity and<br />

honesty. The <strong>of</strong>fice knows that each new client comes<br />

to them because <strong>of</strong> someone else who worked with the<br />

company in the past and had a good experience.<br />

BCS Properties is located in North <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

at 9560 FM 830 in Willis. For more information, visit the<br />

company’s website or call 936-856-4858.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Representative Will Metcalf was raised in Conroe, Texas,<br />

and is a sixth-generation resident <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

A devoted husband and father, influential lawmaker,<br />

and accomplished business leader, Metcalf’s roots in his<br />

hometown run deep. Due to his extensive involvement<br />

in the community, Metcalf has his finger on the pulse<br />

<strong>of</strong> the community and is dedicated to protecting its<br />

values—values that helped mold him into the person he<br />

is today.<br />

Driven by a desire to be involved in decisions made at<br />

the state level that could affect the future <strong>of</strong> his children<br />

and future generations, as well as the opportunities<br />

afforded to them, Metcalf became state representative<br />

from House District 16 in November 2014. He quickly<br />

established an open-door policy. From meeting with<br />

local <strong>of</strong>ficials and civic groups to attending public events,<br />

Metcalf always makes himself available to constituents<br />

in need. In addition to being available to <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>’s citizens, Metcalf’s primary goals as a Texas State<br />

Representative include helping to bring in a new generation<br />

<strong>of</strong> conservative leadership to the state capital and ensuring<br />

that Texas continues to be the best place to live.<br />

During his first term as state representative, he served<br />

on the House committees on Homeland Security &<br />

Public Safety, as well as Economic & Small Business<br />

Development, and was a member <strong>of</strong> the Subcommittee on<br />

Small Business. He is a member <strong>of</strong> the Young Texans<br />

Legislative Caucus, Rural Caucus, and the House<br />

Republican Caucus. Metcalf has been named a Fighter<br />

for Free Enterprise by the Texas Association <strong>of</strong> Business,<br />

a Courageous Conservative by the Texas Conservative<br />

Coalition, a Pro-Property Rights Champion by Texans<br />

Uniting for Reform & Freedom, a Texas Gold <strong>Star</strong><br />

Representative from Texas Right to <strong>Life</strong>, and a Faith and<br />

Family Champion from Texas Values.<br />

Metcalf earned a Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Science in Criminal Justice<br />

from Sam Houston State University. He is Vice President<br />

and Director <strong>of</strong> Business Development at Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas<br />

Bank, where he assists in leading the bank’s commercial<br />

lending division. He is also involved in the real estate<br />

market, managing investments in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> and<br />

the surrounding region.<br />

Metcalf is honored to serve <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

because <strong>of</strong> its generous people who, like him, have a<br />

servant’s heart. Of the many duties Metcalf upholds,<br />

his roles as that <strong>of</strong> a Christian, husband to Megan,<br />

and father to their twin daughters, Amelia and<br />

Elizabeth, are most important to him. He feels<br />

successful because <strong>of</strong> his relationship with Christ and<br />

the unwavering support he receives from his family<br />

and supporters.<br />

Metcalf has served in a number <strong>of</strong> capacities for<br />

various organizations, including serving as a former<br />

board member <strong>of</strong> the Conroe Industrial Development<br />

Corporation Board, the Greater Conroe Economic<br />

Development Council, and Conroe Family YMCA.<br />

Metcalf served on the Finance Committee for First<br />

Baptist Church <strong>of</strong> Conroe, and was the president <strong>of</strong><br />

the First Baptist Academy School Board. He is a<br />

graduate <strong>of</strong> the Leadership <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Class<br />

<strong>of</strong> 2014 and is currently a member <strong>of</strong> the advisory<br />

board for <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair Association,<br />

Conroe Noon Lions Club, and Fellowship <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong>. Metcalf also serves as a board member<br />

and treasurer for the <strong>Montgomery</strong> Independent<br />

School District Education Foundation and is a<br />

lifetime member <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair<br />

Association, Friends <strong>of</strong> Conroe, National Rifle Association,<br />

100 Club, and the Sam Houston State University<br />

Alumni Association.<br />



✩<br />

Will and Megan Metcalf with daughters, Elizabeth and Amelia.<br />



✩<br />


Above: Left to right, Zulay and Terry Quinn.<br />

After experiencing firsthand, the savory, rich Criollo<br />

chocolate grown on cacao plantations in the forests <strong>of</strong><br />

Venezuela, Zulay and Terry Quinn brought their palatable<br />

passion to the masses more than 2,000 miles away in<br />

Conroe, with the opening <strong>of</strong> Chocolate Passion on<br />

January 1, 2006. The family-owned business focuses<br />

primarily on fresh, handmade chocolates and truffles<br />

from rare Venezuelan Criollo chocolate and also <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

wedding and specialty cakes, desserts, Italian- and<br />

American-style c<strong>of</strong>fee, catering, an event venue, beautifully<br />

embellished dreamy weddings, lunch featuring American<br />

and international dishes, as well as frappes and beverages.<br />

Terry and his wife, Zulay, the shop’s chief chocolatier,<br />

moved to Texas from Zulay’s native country <strong>of</strong> Venezuela in<br />

2002. Besides chocolates, Chocolate Passion initially <strong>of</strong>fered<br />

quality Italian c<strong>of</strong>fees such as a five-bean mix <strong>of</strong> espresso<br />

for Italian c<strong>of</strong>fee drinks including lattes and cappuccinos,<br />

as well as American drip c<strong>of</strong>fees and exquisite desserts.<br />

The business eventually expanded to <strong>of</strong>fer lunch, wedding<br />

cakes, and catering, and grew to 4,000 square feet to provide<br />

a venue for weddings, wedding rehearsal dinners, birthday<br />

parties, quinceañeras, live music gatherings, and other<br />

medium-sized events.<br />

Since its early days, Chocolate Passion’s delectable chocolates<br />

and charming atmosphere have attracted patrons <strong>of</strong><br />

all ages. Before the business served lunch, Zulay would<br />

close the shop around noontime. A nearby school would dismiss<br />

its students, who would stop by the shop’s window and<br />

stare wide-eyed at the<br />

mouth-watering chocolates<br />

on display as they<br />

waited for it to reopen.<br />

Another customer <strong>of</strong><br />

Italian descent was so<br />

drawn to Chocolate<br />

Passion’s ambiance—a blend <strong>of</strong> European and Texan—that he<br />

has frequented the shop almost every weekend with his family<br />

since his twins, now nearly ten, were just one week old.<br />

Chocolate Passion’s storefront has served as a hub for local<br />

organizations. Two churches started at Chocolate Passion,<br />

and the Greater Conroe Latino Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce held<br />

its first meeting on the premises. The business also provides<br />

catering to the Faith “Fighting Cancer” in <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, an annual fundraiser for local cancer patients and<br />

their families; chocolate presentation and catered desserts<br />

for the Daughters <strong>of</strong> the American Revolution and the<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical Association meetings; and<br />

support for activities <strong>of</strong> the Conroe Hispanic Task Force,<br />

directed by Marlen Tejeda, which is dedicated to promoting<br />

local community service and improving the lives <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Hispanic community in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

The chocolate shop was the focus <strong>of</strong> a two-part Univision<br />

television series titled Como Agua para Chocolate, which<br />

detailed the process <strong>of</strong> making chocolate and chocolate<br />

drinks. Patrons were interviewed on camera and provided<br />

their opinions <strong>of</strong> Chocolate Passion’s chocolate, as well as the<br />

attributes <strong>of</strong> tasty chocolate. In addition, Chocolate Passion<br />

has received awards including first-place Best Breakfast from<br />

the “Best <strong>of</strong> the Best” Texas Travel Counselors Tour in 2010.<br />

Chocolate Passion invites you to “savor the good things<br />

in life” and visit them at 1520 North Frazier Street. For<br />

more information, call them at 936-539-6585 or peruse<br />

their menu at www.chocolatepassion.net.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


The mission <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Constable’s Office<br />

Precinct 3 is to enhance the safety and protect the trust <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s citizens. The <strong>of</strong>fice is mandated to do<br />

so with honor and integrity, while conducting itself with<br />

the highest ethical standards to maintain public confidence.<br />

Its daily responsibilities include bailiff <strong>of</strong> the Justice <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Peace Precinct 3 Court; serving <strong>of</strong> civil process and writs;<br />

and providing the southern portion <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

a full-service law enforcement agency.<br />

Signed in 1836 the Constitution <strong>of</strong> the Republic <strong>of</strong> Texas<br />

established that a “sufficient number <strong>of</strong> constables” be elected,<br />

and the <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>of</strong> constable was included in the Texas<br />

Constitution <strong>of</strong> 1845, 1869, and 1876. The Office <strong>of</strong> Constable<br />

is the oldest law enforcement position in county government.<br />

Constable Thomas J. Beyette is believed to be one <strong>of</strong><br />

the first constables in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Precinct 3. He<br />

was killed in the line <strong>of</strong> duty in 1931. His successors are<br />

Constable Eddie Pierce, 1976-1979; Constable Al Rose,<br />

1980-1984; Constable Amanda Jane Williamson, 1985-1996;<br />

and Constable Tim Holifield, 1996-2012. Ryan Gable was<br />

elected Constable and appointed on August 3, 2012.<br />

In 1993, Constable Gable began his law enforcement<br />

career with the Harris <strong>County</strong> Constable’s Office, where he<br />

worked all aspects <strong>of</strong> law enforcement and was promoted to<br />

the rank <strong>of</strong> Captain, commanding the Civil/Writs/Warrants<br />

and Training Divisions. Constable Gable retired from the<br />

Harris <strong>County</strong> Constable’s Office Precinct 4 in August <strong>of</strong><br />

2012, just before beginning his position as Constable <strong>of</strong><br />

the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Constable’s Office Precinct 3.<br />

Constable Gable is a TCOLE instructor, teaching for<br />

the Law Enforcement Management Institute <strong>of</strong> Texas<br />

(Sam Houston State University) and is in his tenth year<br />

as instructor at the Texas Justice Court Training Center.<br />

His <strong>of</strong>fice was the first county agency in the state to earn<br />

the prestigious recognition <strong>of</strong> the Texas Best Practices<br />

Recognition Program from the Texas Police Chiefs<br />

Association Foundation, regarding the pr<strong>of</strong>essionalism<br />

displayed and maintained by the Constable’s Office.<br />

Constable Gable was recently nominated by the Justice <strong>of</strong><br />

the Peace and Constables Association as Constable <strong>of</strong><br />

the Year for 2015-2016 and is recognized as a state expert<br />

in the management and service <strong>of</strong> Civil and Writ Process.<br />

Constable Gable is honored to serve <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

and is dedicated to protecting its children. He was the first in<br />

law enforcement in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> to have the expertise<br />

to investigate Internet crimes against children. Immediately<br />

after taking <strong>of</strong>fice, he established the first unit <strong>of</strong> its kind<br />

in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> to target online child predators.<br />

He provided training for the district attorney’s <strong>of</strong>fice and other<br />

constable precincts to investigate such crimes, and created<br />

a team <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essionals to arrest online child predators.<br />

The <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Constable’s Office Precinct 3<br />

includes 41 sworn personnel, 12 reserve personnel and<br />

3 non-sworn personnel. The <strong>of</strong>fice is located at 1520 Lake<br />

Front Circle, Suite 200, in The Woodlands. For more<br />

information, visit www.mcco3.org.<br />

✩<br />



PRECINCT 3<br />

Left: A <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Constable SUV.<br />

Below: <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Constable, Ryan Gable.<br />





Sacred Heart Parish’s history dates back to 1898, when<br />

Reverend Joseph I. Kline <strong>of</strong> Plantersville held the first known<br />

Mass in Conroe at the home <strong>of</strong> Andrew Jackson Madeley.<br />

The first Catholic church in Conroe was a small building<br />

located on the west side <strong>of</strong> South Main Street at the<br />

intersection <strong>of</strong> Avenue G, on land the McDade family<br />

donated. On October 25, 1916, Bishop Nicholas A. Gallagher<br />

<strong>of</strong> Galveston visited Conroe to confirm a class <strong>of</strong> seventeen<br />

and dedicate the new church <strong>of</strong> St. Mary’s <strong>of</strong> the Woods.<br />

Conroe was eventually changed from a mission <strong>of</strong> St. Mary’s,<br />

Plantersville to a mission <strong>of</strong> St. Joseph Church, New Waverly.<br />

A church was erected at the present site on land partly<br />

donated by the McDade family. In 1935, Bishop C. E. Byrne<br />

consecrated the church altar and dedicated the new church<br />

to the Sacred Heart <strong>of</strong> Jesus. In the early 1930s, the McDades<br />

again donated several acres <strong>of</strong> land for a new church.<br />

In the decades that followed, Sacred Heart continued to<br />

grow in size and in membership. Father Thomas M. Cemon,<br />

Sacred Heart’s first permanent pastor, built the church’s<br />

first parish hall. Construction <strong>of</strong> the parish’s school was<br />

completed in 1959 and staffed by the Sisters <strong>of</strong> Charity<br />

<strong>of</strong> Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1968, during Reverend Fred P.<br />

O’Connor’s tenure, the old parish hall was removed to<br />

expand parking space, and three acres <strong>of</strong> land were acquired<br />

for a playground. In 1969 a home was donated for the site<br />

<strong>of</strong> the present church building, which was dedicated in 1972<br />

to the Sacred Heart <strong>of</strong> Jesus.<br />

Father Philip Wilhite became Sacred Heart’s pastor in<br />

2010. The church now serves more than 7,500 families, has<br />

approximately 70 active ministries, more than 1,000 people<br />

in its faith formation programs, and approximately 300<br />

students in its parish school. Three priests and 2 religious<br />

sisters reside on campus, 23 staff members work at the<br />

parish, and another 50 staff the school.<br />

Sacred Heart converted the old <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> Clinic building<br />

into a parish <strong>of</strong>fice, with additional space dedicated as its<br />

St. John Paul Youth Center. Plans for a fourth church, twice<br />

the size <strong>of</strong> its current building, are in the works. The new<br />

church will accommodate approximately 1,500 people and<br />

include a chapel that will seat another 200 parishioners.<br />

The current church location at 109 North Frazier Street will<br />

be converted into a fellowship hall, and the church built<br />

in 1934 will continue to serve the parish as meeting space.<br />

Sacred Heart’s mission is to nurture, live, and share our<br />

faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and to strive for love, justice, and<br />

the salvation <strong>of</strong> all for the glory <strong>of</strong> God. For more information<br />

about the church, visit www.shconroe.org. You may also<br />

follow Sacred Heart on social media at: www.facebook.com/<br />

sacredheartconroe, www.instagram.com/sacredheartconroe,<br />

and www.twitter.com/shconroe.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


For two decades, Owner Builder Network ® has been in<br />

business to help homeowners in the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

area, and greater Texas to build their dream homes!<br />

The goal is to build the dream without sacrificing budgets.<br />

Founded in 1997, Owner Builder Network ® carefully<br />

guides its clients through the complete building process,<br />

while providing meticulous attention to every detail—from<br />

energy efficiency to soil testing; from engineered foundations<br />

to framing through drywall. Owner Builder Network ® operates<br />

with the belief that its clients are not just constructing a<br />

house; they are building a home to live in and enjoy.<br />

Sheila Marler transferred from Austin to Houston to build<br />

custom houses in the <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> area with the<br />

support <strong>of</strong> George Mitchell and Mitchell Energy. Owner<br />

Builder Network ® became reality after seeing the lack <strong>of</strong> quality<br />

and high prices that plagued the home building industry.<br />

Sheila’s business model is to allow the homeowner to have<br />

full control <strong>of</strong> the building process, their budget, and have<br />

direct involvement with the individuals involved in the<br />

building <strong>of</strong> their home for a seamless, streamlined process.<br />

Owner Builder Network ® started small with one financial<br />

institution, and one designer and a few key contractors and<br />

suppliers, which they had been using from “turn-key” days.<br />

The idea <strong>of</strong> “more control for less cost” immediately had<br />

a loyal following and OBN developed a policy which they<br />

maintain to this day: Work daily with their suppliers <strong>of</strong><br />

all kinds to make sure they are meeting the client’s needs.<br />

Owner Builder Network ® was so busy its first two years<br />

<strong>of</strong> business that Sheila spent much <strong>of</strong> her time appearing<br />

on radio and television broadcasts to talk about the “new”<br />

way to build homes instead <strong>of</strong> houses.<br />

Early on, when the company decided to make its first<br />

television commercial at the new home <strong>of</strong> their clients,<br />

Mr. and Mrs. Sanders, Mrs. Sanders answered the door with<br />

tears in her eyes. She said, “Sheila, every morning I feel like<br />

I need to pinch myself. Every morning I am walking through<br />

my dream. Ever since I was a little girl this is what I dreamed<br />

my home would look like. I know where everything is and<br />

how it was done. Thank you.” Mrs. Sanders later said she<br />

could not have afforded that home had she used a turn-key<br />

builder instead <strong>of</strong> Owner Builder Network ® .<br />

Potential clients <strong>of</strong>ten bring ideas <strong>of</strong> what they would like<br />

to build. Owner Builder Network ® will calculate the home’s<br />

wholesale and retail price, and determine if and what kind <strong>of</strong><br />

financing is needed. Owner Builder Network ® has an extensive<br />

list <strong>of</strong> highly vetted competent subcontractors and suppliers<br />

who have agreed to work with them at a builder’s discount.<br />

Owner Builder Network ® is headquartered at 7102 FM<br />

1488 in Magnolia, Texas, 77354, two blocks from The<br />

Woodlands. It also has affiliated locations in Dallas,<br />

Fort Worth, and San Antonio, and is working on opening<br />

<strong>of</strong>fices in South Houston and in Bastrop.<br />

Visit OwnerBuilderNetwork.com for more information,<br />

or go to the company’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/<br />

ateam<strong>of</strong>expertshelpingyoubuildyourhome. To contact them<br />

by phone, call 281-356-9050.<br />


NETWORK ®<br />

✩<br />

Left: From left to right, Sterling “Chance” Kramer, Sheila and David Marler.<br />



THE J. BEARD<br />


✩<br />

Below: The firm in 2015.<br />

Bottom: Left to right, Jeff Beard, Diana Gaines and Jeff Tinsley, 2003.<br />

It seems everywhere you look in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>,<br />

The J. Beard Real Estate Company has made a real estate<br />

contribution <strong>of</strong> some sort. This commercial real estate brokerage<br />

firm <strong>of</strong>fers services encompassing leasing, brokerage,<br />

site acquisition, property management, development,<br />

consulting, and landlord/tenant representation. The firm<br />

is considered an industry leader in commercial real<br />

estate within the Greater Houston market specifically in<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> and North Harris <strong>County</strong>. Since its<br />

founding in 2003, the company<br />

has maintained its position as<br />

one <strong>of</strong> the market leaders<br />

delivering insight, leadership<br />

and unique expertise for its<br />

clients’ success.<br />

In 2003, Jeff Beard was<br />

working as director <strong>of</strong> retail<br />

properties for The Woodlands<br />

Operating Company. Owned by<br />

Morgan Stanley and Crescent<br />

Real Estate Equities, the company<br />

was being partially acquired<br />

by real estate conglomerate<br />

Rouse Companies. Subsequently,<br />

it unexpectedly dissolved a<br />

large portion <strong>of</strong> the commercial<br />

real estate division, and Beard<br />

was among the many lay<strong>of</strong>fs.<br />

Several <strong>of</strong> the property owners and clients Beard had<br />

been serving reached out to him for assistance to follow<br />

through with their commercial real estate needs. In order to<br />

continue to provide for his family and serve these clients,<br />

Beard formed his own company. The J. Beard Real Estate<br />

Company and quickly grew from a sole proprietor into a<br />

thriving small business.<br />

Over the past decade and a half, The J. Beard Real Estate<br />

Company has ushered in a new wave <strong>of</strong> commercial<br />

opportunities that have touched countless individuals.<br />

Significant projects in which the firm has been involved<br />

include the replacement <strong>of</strong> a forty year old warehouse<br />

with a state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art Class A <strong>of</strong>fice building, Havenwood<br />

Office Park, <strong>of</strong>f I-45 near The Woodlands; development<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Target Center in Magnolia <strong>of</strong>f FM 2978, which<br />

originated with eleven pieces <strong>of</strong> land and was a three<br />

year process; facilitation <strong>of</strong> the land sale, development and<br />

leasing for Shenandoah’s Vision Park, Research Plaza and<br />

Research Pines shopping centers; land sales <strong>of</strong> nearly<br />

600 acres <strong>of</strong> the Doughtie Parcel over the course <strong>of</strong> a<br />

decade for Toll Brothers to develop a high-end environment<br />

to work, live and play in South <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>;<br />

and, in 2007, involvement in St. Luke’s Episcopal<br />

Health System’s and Texas Children’s Hospital’s joint<br />

purchase <strong>of</strong> twenty-two acres <strong>of</strong> land recently built in<br />

The Woodlands.<br />

Through sponsorships, donations, and hands-on volunteering,<br />

The J. Beard Real Estate has proudly supported<br />

many charitable organizations and community activities,<br />

including the American Cancer Society–<strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>; CASA <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>; Commercial Real Estate<br />

Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> (CREAM); Economic<br />

Outlook Conference–The Woodlands Area Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce; Habitat for Humanity <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>;<br />

Interfaith <strong>of</strong> The Woodlands; March <strong>of</strong> Dimes <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, New Danville; The Cynthia Woods Mitchell<br />

Pavilion; Woodforest Charitable Foundation; and<br />

Woodlands High School football and baseball teams.<br />

The J. Beard Real Estate Company is located within<br />

the Parkwood Office Building, 10077 Grogan’s Mill Road,<br />

Suite 135, in The Woodlands. For more information about<br />

the company, visit its website at www.jbeardcompany.com.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


John Wiesner was born in<br />

Richmond, Texas, and attended<br />

Hempstead High School,<br />

where he met his wife, the<br />

late Elizabeth Sorsby. The couple<br />

graduated from Southern<br />

Methodist University after<br />

marrying in their sophomore<br />

year and raised three sons.<br />

Wiesner began his career<br />

as a salesman for his fatherin-law<br />

at Sorsby Chevrolet in Hempstead. After working in<br />

all areas <strong>of</strong> the dealership, he bought the business; he then<br />

purchased the Chevrolet franchise in Baytown. In 1972,<br />

Wiesner acquired the Buick Pontiac GMC franchise in Conroe<br />

and John Wiesner, Inc., was born. The company began with<br />

ten employees, three <strong>of</strong> whom quit in the first week,<br />

to having more than 500 employees at multiple locations.<br />

In 1984 the company moved to 1645 I-45 North, the<br />

flagship location, in Conroe. Wiesner added the Hyundai<br />

franchise and later opened Conroe Collision Center in 1988.<br />

The Huntsville dealership opened in 1994 and the Chevrolet<br />

franchise was acquired soon after. Wiesner purchased<br />

Tomball Dodge, as well as Wiesner Dodge Rosenberg,<br />

Wiesner Chevrolet Oldsmobile Rosenberg, and Wiesner<br />

Pontiac Cadillac GMC Rosenberg, in 1997, all <strong>of</strong> which were<br />

sold in the early 2000s.<br />

The Wiesner name is synonymous with loyalty and<br />

excellence. Workforce retention has always been important to<br />

Wiesner, and a dozen <strong>of</strong> his employees have worked for him<br />

since the 1970s and 1980s. The organization’s high expectations<br />

are evident in its significant accomplishments, which<br />

include: No. 1 GMC Retail Suburban Sales in Nation, 1990-<br />

94; No. 1 GMC Retail Sierra Sales in Nation, 1991-96; No. 1<br />

GMC Total Retail Sales in Texas for 8 years; No. 2 GMC Total<br />

Retail Sales in Nation for 5 years; Houston Business Journal’s<br />

No. 8 Family Owned Business <strong>of</strong> Top 50 in Houston; Time<br />

Magazine Quality Dealer Award, 1997; Texas Automotive<br />

Dealers Association’s Key Award Outstanding Director,<br />

1998-99; and General Motors’ Mark <strong>of</strong> Excellence Award.<br />

Wiesner was president <strong>of</strong> the Texas Gulf Coast Pontiac<br />

Dealers, the GMC Truck Dealers Advertising Associations and<br />

served on the National Dealer Council for General Motors.<br />

Wiesner believes in giving back to the community and<br />

is a proponent <strong>of</strong> development and progress for <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

and surrounding counties. He served on many boards<br />

and was vital in establishing the <strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College System<br />

in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. Wiesner chaired the committee<br />

that created North Harris <strong>Montgomery</strong> Community College<br />

District in 1991 and continues to serve on its Foundation<br />

Board. He also served as chairman<br />

for Lake Conroe and The Woodlands<br />

Chambers, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Appraisal<br />

District, Conroe Regional Medical Center<br />

Hospital, and is on the board <strong>of</strong> directors<br />

for the Conroe Symphony Orchestra.<br />

Wiesner’s son, Don Edd, became the<br />

dealer in 2014 and proudly continues<br />

the family legacy. He operates the company<br />

with the same principles and values<br />

upon which it was founded. Wiesner’s<br />

visionary business approach, appreciation<br />

for and dedication to his employees<br />

and customers, and commitment to<br />

his community has led to John Wiesner,<br />

Inc.’s longevity. The company’s strong<br />

foundation will continue its trajectory<br />

<strong>of</strong> growth, helping it to face the challenges<br />

that lie ahead in this exciting,<br />

dynamic industry.<br />


✩<br />

Left: John Wiesner.<br />

Below: Wiesner Buick, GMC and Wiesner Hyundai <strong>of</strong> Conroe located at<br />

1645 I-45 North in Conroe.<br />






On September 1, 1983, Tri-<strong>County</strong> Services became the<br />

thirty-first community MHMR center in Texas, serving Liberty,<br />

Walker and <strong>Montgomery</strong> Counties. Tri-<strong>County</strong> began its first<br />

year with an executive director, program director, business<br />

director, administrative assistant, and eleven staff members<br />

who had transferred from Rusk State Hospital. Only outpatient<br />

mental health counseling and psychiatric services were <strong>of</strong>fered.<br />

The service array rapidly expanded, and by the end <strong>of</strong><br />

fiscal year 1984, Tri-<strong>County</strong> MHMR Services was <strong>of</strong>fering<br />

classes for people with alcohol dependency and providing<br />

diagnosis and evaluation services for people with mental<br />

retardation. The same year saw contracts for in-patient<br />

psychiatric services and crisis resolution services, as well as,<br />

job contracts through the Texas Department <strong>of</strong> Highways for<br />

people with mental impairments. The budget had grown to<br />

almost $1.5 million with forty-six employees.<br />

Now known as Tri-<strong>County</strong> Behavioral Healthcare, the<br />

center’s budget has grown to almost $31 million with more<br />

than 350 full- and part-time staff, including board certified<br />

psychiatrists, physician’s assistants, advanced practice nurses,<br />

licensed pr<strong>of</strong>essional counselors, licensed social workers<br />

registered and licensed vocational nurses, mental health and<br />

intellectual and developmental disabilities pr<strong>of</strong>essionals<br />

and parapr<strong>of</strong>essionals, and administration staff.<br />

Tri-<strong>County</strong> Behavioral Healthcare <strong>of</strong>fers a comprehensive<br />

array <strong>of</strong> services and supports provided annually to nearly<br />

7,500 individuals with mental illness and<br />

more than 1,200 people with intellectual<br />

and developmental disabilities; an average<br />

<strong>of</strong> 4500 individuals are in service at<br />

any one time. Services for individuals<br />

with mental illnesses include: mental<br />

health screening, admission and referral<br />

services, crisis hotline services, crisis<br />

residential services, medication services,<br />

in-patient services, skills training, vocational services, residential<br />

support services and housing, counseling services, criminal<br />

justice services, and substance abuse prevention. Services<br />

for individuals with developmental disabilities include mental<br />

retardation screening, admission and referral services,<br />

home- and community-based services, group homes, day habilitation<br />

services, employment services, state school placement<br />

and discharge services, and respite services. The center is<br />

currently funded through contracts with the Texas Department<br />

<strong>of</strong> State Health Services, the Texas Department <strong>of</strong> Aging and<br />

Disability Services, Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance,<br />

consumer fees and grants.<br />

Tri-<strong>County</strong>’s Psychiatric Emergency Treatment Center, built<br />

with county funds, operates on state funding and matches<br />

from local partners. The goal <strong>of</strong> the PETC is to provide appropriate<br />

treatment for patients as opposed to treating them in<br />

jails or the emergency room, and break the recidivistic cycle.<br />

In 2015, 763 unique individuals were served with an average<br />

stay <strong>of</strong> five and a half days, totaling over 4,500 bed-days. Over<br />

eighty percent admitted to the PETC are indigent.<br />

Tri-<strong>County</strong> Behavioral Healthcare’s mission is to enhance the<br />

quality <strong>of</strong> life for the individuals and communities it serves<br />

by ensuring the provision <strong>of</strong> quality services for individuals with<br />

mental illness, substance abuse disorders and intellectual/developmental<br />

disabilities. Its vision is to develop a mental health and<br />

developmental disabilities care system with adequate resources<br />

to ensure the provision <strong>of</strong> effective and efficient services to meet<br />

the needs <strong>of</strong> its community. To achieve this, Tri-<strong>County</strong> partners<br />

with the community to expand the availability <strong>of</strong> new and existing<br />

resources and assure the availability <strong>of</strong> technically and culturally<br />

competent staff. The center’s core values are commitment<br />

to honesty and integrity, optimism regarding the future and<br />

those it serves, a pledge to treat others with respect, and a<br />

promise to strive for excellence in every undertaking.<br />

For more information visit www.tcbhc.org on the Internet.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


The <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Texas Republican Party was<br />

founded in 1952, when Dwight Eisenhower’s presidential<br />

victory and the patronage system <strong>of</strong> the time created enough<br />

interest in the Party to warrant the appointment <strong>of</strong> a <strong>County</strong><br />

Chair and six Precinct Chairs. Thanks to the work <strong>of</strong> the<br />

organization, Eisenhower’s 1956 presidential victory margin<br />

in <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> was 798 votes—an increase <strong>of</strong><br />

330 votes from the previous election year. A 1961 special<br />

election in which John G. Tower replaced newly minted<br />

President Lyndon B. Johnson as U.S. Senator further ignited<br />

interest in the Republican Party throughout Texas and<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Phillip Dickinson, an engineer with Sun Oil Company,<br />

was appointed <strong>County</strong> Chair in 1962 and, under his leadership,<br />

the first Republican Primary election was held in May<br />

<strong>of</strong> that year. When Dickinson’s company transferred him,<br />

James L. Young, a Humble Oil Company engineer, became<br />

his successor and held the position until 1964. That same<br />

year, the Republican Primary received 105 votes and<br />

Dr. Walter “Wally” Wilkerson, Jr., a Conroe physician, was<br />

elected <strong>County</strong> Chair, an <strong>of</strong>fice he still holds. <strong>County</strong><br />

Republicans campaigned for State Representative nominee<br />

Leo T. Jones, Republican presidential nominee Barry<br />

Goldwater, and U.S. Senate nominee George H. W. Bush.<br />

As a result <strong>of</strong> the Goldwater and Bush campaign, a permanent<br />

GOP headquarters opened in 1965 in Conroe at<br />

308 Collins Street, adjacent to the more expansive facility at<br />

310 Collins (now Metcalf) Street, which was acquired in 1994.<br />

In order to build a stronger, more competitive <strong>County</strong><br />

Party, 4 Republican candidates were recruited in 1966 to<br />

challenge Democrats for 3 county <strong>of</strong>fices and 1 precinct<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice. None polled more than thirty percent <strong>of</strong> the vote, but<br />

they blazed a trail for additional candidates in future elections.<br />

Throughout the 1960s and most <strong>of</strong> the 1970s, the<br />

Republican Party grew in numbers and influence. In 1970,<br />

George H. W. Bush won the county in his second unsuccessful<br />

bid for U.S. Senator, and in 1972, President Richard M. Nixon<br />

carried the county with more than seventy-seven percent<br />

<strong>of</strong> the vote against Democrat George McGovern, the first<br />

in a series <strong>of</strong> Republican presidential victories through<br />

2012, when Governor Mitt Romney received 79.15 percent<br />

<strong>of</strong> the vote against Barack Obama.<br />

In 1978, Texas elected William<br />

Clements, the first Republican<br />

Governor since Reconstruction,<br />

and Justice <strong>of</strong> the Peace Pat Ruffin,<br />

the first Republican elected to<br />

a <strong>County</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice in more than<br />

a century. The first Republican<br />

<strong>County</strong> Commissioner was elected<br />

in 1980, followed by a second<br />

Commissioner and the first<br />

Republican District Judge in 1982.<br />

Republicans won a majority on the<br />

Commissioners Court and elected<br />

its first non-judicial countywide<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficeholder, the county attorney in<br />

1984. Highlights in the decades<br />

that followed included an upset<br />

win in the <strong>County</strong> Judge’s race and a sweep <strong>of</strong> all three<br />

<strong>County</strong> Court at Law judgeships in 1986, a Republican<br />

win <strong>of</strong> all the District judgeships in the <strong>County</strong> in 1990 and<br />

1992 and wins from U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison<br />

and gubernatorial candidate George W. Bush in 1994.<br />

The <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Texas Republican Party’s mission<br />

is to maintain a strong, credible, competitive <strong>County</strong> Party<br />

organization that will attract capable candidates who will<br />

govern fairly and competently while promoting Republican<br />

values and principles. For more information, visit the<br />

organization’s website at www.mcrp.org.<br />







By Judge Craig Doyal<br />

With roughly eighty percent <strong>of</strong> our county’s residents living<br />

in unincorporated <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, the <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Commissioners Court and county government<br />

function as the lead government agency for most <strong>of</strong> its<br />

570,000 residents.<br />

Add to that the distinction <strong>of</strong> being the seventh-fastest<br />

growing county in the nation, we face a tremendous responsibility<br />

to provide the highest and best in public services to<br />

our constituents, at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.<br />

As your <strong>County</strong> Judge, I preside over Commissioners’ Court<br />

and serve as chief executive <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> county government.<br />

Having previously served as county commissioner <strong>of</strong> Precinct<br />

2 from 2001 to 2014, I have learned that one <strong>of</strong> the keys<br />

to keeping our quality <strong>of</strong> life is our economic development<br />

program to attract new industries and corporations. That has<br />

enabled us to broaden our county’s tax base and maintain an<br />

affordable cost <strong>of</strong> living for the residents <strong>of</strong> this community.<br />

As a fourth generation <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> resident,<br />

and a husband, father and grandfather, it is as important to<br />

me as it is to you to have a community where our children<br />

are challenged to learn, encouraged to seek their dreams<br />

and are supported with facilities and services that are<br />

conducive to a safe and nourishing environment. If all <strong>of</strong><br />

us work together we can accomplish these goals.<br />

We have a tremendous history here in <strong>Montgomery</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, with numerous artifacts from early Indian cultures<br />

indicating the area has been inhabited for more than<br />

10,000 years. According to The Handbook <strong>of</strong> Texas Online, in<br />

December 1837, the Republic <strong>of</strong> Texas Congress established<br />

its third county, <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, named after its largest<br />

settlement. The county’s present boundaries were established<br />

in 1870 after the creation <strong>of</strong> Waller <strong>County</strong> to the southwest.<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is known as the birthplace <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Lone</strong><br />

<strong>Star</strong> Flag because its designer, Charles B. Stewart, represented<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> in the Texas House <strong>of</strong> Representatives<br />

and lived in the town <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong>.<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> provides vital government services<br />

to all residents <strong>of</strong> this county, including county roads and<br />

bridges, law enforcement services through our Sheriff’s<br />

Department and Constables, courts, county parks, a county<br />

library system, and <strong>of</strong> course, the Conroe North Houston<br />

Regional Airport. <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> is governed by<br />

your <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Commissioners Court, which is<br />

proud to ensure our wide variety <strong>of</strong> county departments<br />

have the resources they need to serve this thriving county.<br />

Once again, welcome to <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>. We are<br />

glad you are here. Please feel free to contact me or my staff<br />

if you need assistance.<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


Wayne Bergstrom <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong>,<br />

Texas, was a devoted supporter <strong>of</strong><br />

The Salvation Army. He was born on<br />

August 1, 1932, in a Salvation Army<br />

Hospital located in Des Moines,<br />

Iowa. He graduated in 1950 from<br />

East High School before transferring<br />

to Drake University. As a junior at<br />

Drake University, he was named the<br />

most valuable member <strong>of</strong> the Bulldog baseball team. He was<br />

the first person in his family to attend college. These early<br />

years <strong>of</strong> Wayne’s life set the foundation for the strong caring<br />

and compassionate leader that he was to become later in life.<br />

Wayne married the love <strong>of</strong> his life, Jean Molsberry, on<br />

June 18, 1954, at the age <strong>of</strong> twenty-two. Following service in<br />

the United States Army from 1955-1956, Wayne fulfilled<br />

his dream <strong>of</strong> becoming a teacher. Until his retirement in<br />

1992, Wayne excelled in numerous different positions in the<br />

sports education field <strong>of</strong> teaching. He retired as the athletic<br />

director at Ballard High School, Iowa. In 1996, Wayne and<br />

Jean moved to <strong>Montgomery</strong>, Texas, where he lived out his<br />

retirement years.<br />

Wayne had many passions in life, but his ultimate passion<br />

was his family. Wayne and Jean raised three sons together and<br />

they taught the boys to appreciate true family values <strong>of</strong> being<br />

a family. Wayne would take the boys golfing and shared his<br />

great love <strong>of</strong> supporting the Iowa State Cyclones with them.<br />

Wayne’s love and appreciation <strong>of</strong> life was grounded in<br />

the Christian faith. He lived out his faith to love God and his<br />

neighbor. It is because <strong>of</strong> his and Jean’s great love for the<br />

Lord, which they taught to their sons, they could build<br />

The Wayne Bergstrom Center <strong>of</strong> Hope.<br />

After moving to <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Wayne joined<br />

The <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Salvation Army Advisory Council.<br />

Quickly, the council saw the leadership abilities and love for<br />

the Lord that Wayne possessed. With this realization, the<br />

council made Wayne their chairman. It was under Wayne’s<br />

council leadership that plans to construct a new shelter<br />

were created to replace the existing overcrowed shelter.<br />

On October 26, 2013, Wayne was promoted to glory and<br />

is today with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Just as Wayne<br />

clearly witnessed the Christian faith while he was with us, so<br />

his legacy lives on challenging all he encountered to be all<br />

they can be for the Kingdom. His challenge to The Salvation<br />

Army is to be all it can be to help those in greatest need.<br />

Likewise, his legacy continues to live on to challenge clients<br />

to grow in self-sufficiency for themselves, their communities,<br />

and ultimately for the Kingdom.<br />


✩<br />

Left: Wayne Bergstrom.<br />

Below: The Salvation Army Wayne Bergstrom Center <strong>of</strong> Hope is located<br />

at 301 Avenue E, Conroe, Texas 77301 or mail to P. O. Box 897,<br />

Conroe, Texas 77305.<br />



Sponsors<br />

ABM International, Inc. ............................................................................................108<br />

BCS Properties ........................................................................................................130<br />

Buckalew Chevrolet, L.P..............................................................................................94<br />

Chocolate Passion ....................................................................................................132<br />

Conroe’s Incredible Pizza Company.............................................................................126<br />

Consolidated Communications, Inc..............................................................................104<br />

East <strong>Montgomery</strong> Improvement District .......................................................................114<br />

Eickenhorst Funeral Services .....................................................................................116<br />

Greater Conroe Economic Development Council.............................................................128<br />

Homewood Suites by Hilton ® Houston-Woodlands ............................................................98<br />

John Wiesner, Inc.....................................................................................................137<br />

Lake Conroe Association ...........................................................................................110<br />

<strong>Lone</strong> <strong>Star</strong> College ....................................................................................................102<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Constable’s Office Precinct 3 .........................................................133<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair Association ..........................................................................122<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Government ................................................................................140<br />

<strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> Texas Republican Party.................................................................139<br />

Owner Builder Network ® ...........................................................................................135<br />

Pizza Shack ............................................................................................................120<br />

Sacred Heart Catholic Church ....................................................................................134<br />

San Jacinto River Authority.........................................................................................90<br />

Soules Insurance Agency ...........................................................................................112<br />

Southwestern Imaging Systems & Service .....................................................................124<br />

Spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas Bank...................................................................................................84<br />

State Representative Will Metcalf ...............................................................................131<br />

The J. Beard Real Estate Company ..............................................................................136<br />

The Salvation Army .................................................................................................141<br />

The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership ................................................129<br />

The Woodlands Development Company.........................................................................118<br />

Tri-<strong>County</strong> Behavioral Healthcare...............................................................................138<br />

Veterans <strong>of</strong> Foreign Wars Post 4709 ............................................................................106<br />

LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


About the Photographer and Author<br />


S UTTON<br />

Kimberly Sutton first moved to <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> in 1980 and graduated from Conroe High School in 1985. Born in<br />

Lubbock, Texas, Kimberly has lived all over Texas; from Fort Stockton to Stafford and from Sugar Land to Waxahachie and<br />

back to Conroe again. She graduated from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism<br />

and broadcasting. She met her husband Rick Sutton, a native <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong>, during a summer visit home before<br />

going back to college. They were married in Conroe and have also lived in Costa Rica and Paraguay. She and her husband<br />

have three children; Kayla and her husband Chris Muñoz, Rachael and Josiah, with all living in Conroe.<br />

When she is not out photographing people and events, Kimberly enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, having a<br />

cup <strong>of</strong> c<strong>of</strong>fee with a friend or volunteering at her church, All Nations Worship Center in Conroe.<br />

You can friend her on Facebook at Kimberly Morgan Sutton, follow her on Twitter at KimberlyMSutton and like her<br />

Facebook page—The Roving Reporter. Her photos <strong>of</strong> people and places <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong> and other photos can be<br />

purchased at www.kimberlymsutton.com.<br />

✩<br />

Kimberly Sutton.<br />



LONE STAR LIFE—<strong>Images</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Montgomery</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />


ISBN: 978-1-944891-41-1<br />


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