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George Donnelly


1938 - 2019 Obituary Condolences Gallery
George Donnelly Obituary
George J. Donnelly
1938-2019
George James Donnelly passed away suddenly on Thursday, the 23rd of May 2019, at his home in Houston. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on the 24th of July 1938, and is preceded in death by his parents, Ambassador Walter J. Donnelly and Maria Elena Samper, his brothers John and Paul, son George, Jr., and wife Lorena. George is survived by his wife Maria Cristina Chirolla, his sister Maria Teresa Donnelly, his three sons, John, Eric, and Mark, their wives, and his loving grandchildren Margaret, James, Landon, Hayden, Vivienne, and Eloise to whom he was "Georgie" or "Abuelo". He is also survived by his beloved niece and nephews.
George graduated from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, and Columbia University's Advanced Management Program. His career began with Gulf Oil, where he served as Vice President of the Latin American division, head of the Washington D.C. office, and Vice-President of the Global Energy and Minerals group.
Following his distinguished career in the energy sector, George served as Vice President of Russell Reynolds Associates, Vice-Chairman of Spencer Stuart, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Ward Howell International, all global executive search firms.
George was a tireless volunteer for many Houston civic endeavors. He and other business leaders helped transform Houston from an energy dependent economy to the diversified global city it is today. George served as President of the San Jacinto Museum as well as President of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Active in the Houston community, George served for many years on the boards of Greater Houston Partnership, Awty International School, KIPP Charter Schools, University of Houston School of Business, Advisory Board of the Business School of Houston Baptist University, Amigos de las Americas, Houston Chapter, Kiwanis Club, The Houston Health Museum, United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, and United Way of Greater Houston, as well as the Brazil-Texas Chamber of Commerce which he helped form in 2001.
Additionally, George served on the boards of the Texas A & M International Advisory Board, Institute of International Education (IIE), Council of the Americas, Inc., The University of Miami (Florida), Avanti Energy, Inc., Brazil, Parker Drilling Company, and the Mexican Institute for Environmental Management. During his lifetime of achievements and service to the Houston community, as well as Hispanic organizations and governments, he received presidential decorations from Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela.
George was a scratch golfer in his younger years. He was a member of Champions Golf Club and a long-time member of Pine Forest Country Club. George was never happier than he was on the golf course with his three sons. He would often recall fondly the trip they took together to play rounds at the Old Course at St. Andrew's, as well as on family trips abroad.
With his love for international travel, the ability to speak several languages including Spanish and Portuguese, George never encountered a culture into which he could not assimilate.
Whether chairing Houston's International Festival, throwing out the first pitch at Minute Maid Park, or being recruited to be the voice of General Santa Anna for the San Jacinto Museum, George was always eager to donate his time and energy. He was gregarious, charming, and full of life. George will be missed by his loved ones and his wide circle of friends.
At Mr. Donnelly's request, a private funeral service will be held in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston, with Fr. Raphael Villareal, officiating.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family request that memorial contributions be directed to Amigos de las Americas, Houston Chapter Amigos de las Americas, 1800 West Loop South, Suite 1325, Houston, TX 77027 (https://amigosinternational.org/donate/); or Institution of International Education, (IIE), Office of Philanthropy Institute of International Education, 809 United Plaza, New York, NY 10017 (https://www.iie.org/givenow)
Please visit George's online memorial tribute at geohlewis.com where words of comfort and condolence may be shared electronically with his family.
Published in Houston Chronicle on May 26, 2019
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