Houston Treasures

Ben F. Love (in memoriam)


Photo by: Iraj Ghavidel Photography

love benPublisher’s note: Ben Love passed away in January, 2006. His accomplishments are legendary. He was a generous, kind and funny man. Ben was also a great writer and would often intersperse bits of humor in his letters. He is greatly missed.

Ben Love always remembered his mother’s sage advice …. “the way out of economic hardship for you, Ben, is, not only to get an education, but to try to excel academically.” Ben graduated from high school with a 97.4 average. His college education was interrupted by World War II, during which he flew combat missions in Europe as an 8th Air Force Captain, concluding his tour with 11 combat decorations including he Distinguished Flying Cross. He graduated from the University of Texas Business School in 1948.

After graduating, he founded a manufacturing firm. His first banking experience was with River Oaks Bank & Trust Company, where he became President. In 1967, he joined Texas Commerce Bank and became its President in 1969. He was elected Chairman and CEO of Texas Commerce Bank-Houston and Chairman and CEO of Texas Commerce Bancshares in 1972. After completing his 17th year as Chairman and CEO in 1989, he retired.

He is past Chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership and is a Founding Director of the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

He serves actively as a member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Medical Center, is past Chairman of the Board of Visitors, was elected a “Life Member” of The UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and was founding Chairman and President of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Outreach Corp. He was Chairman of the $151 million “Fulfill the Promise” capital campaign for M. D. Anderson, its largest in history at that time. He is a “Life Member” of the U. T. Health Science Center Development Board, serves on the national Advisory Council of the Texas Heart Institute and served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Harris County Hospital District Foundation. Ben was Chairman of the Council of Overseers of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Administration, Rice University for 14 years.

Ben’s accomplishments and awards are too multitudinous to record here, but to name a few: He has been designated a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas; named Houston’s “Cultural Leader of the Year;” presented the Houston Symphony “Ovations for Excellence”award; the Texas Society to Prevent Blindness “People of Vision” award;” the National Conference of Christians and Jews “Brotherhood Award;” and along with his wife, Margaret, named “Houstonians of the Year” by the Houston School for Deaf Children; again with his wife, Margaret, named recipients of the Leukemia Society’s “Service to Mankind Award; Margaret served on The Salvation Army (17-state) Territorial Board and the Houston Board for many years and on the boards of the Alley Theatre and Houston Grand Opera.

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