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Roy Henry Cullen

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Roy Henry Cullen, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, passed away at home on the 4th of April 2014 in Houston, Texas. Roy was born in Houston on October 29, 1929, the oldest child of Roy Gustav Cullen and Katherine Thompson Cullen (Burton). He loved to joke that he was born on the day of the great stock market crash. His father passed away when Roy was a youth. He and his siblings Cornelia Cullen Long and Harry H. Cullen were raised by their mother with loving support from grandparents, Lillie Cranz and Hugh Roy Cullen, and aunts and uncles that lived nearby. He was the eldest of the extended Cullen family clan, and everyone looked up to him. He had a spark in his eyes, a character about him that was very special. He graduated from Lamar High School in Houston and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, where he studied engineering. He was a member of Church of St. John the Divine in Houston.
Roy learned the "oil business" from his grandfather, and, with Corbin Robertson, Sr. and other family members, discovered and developed oil fields operated by Quintana Petroleum Company. He was an officer and director of Quintana for many years, where he was beloved by the managers and employees as a caring, compassionate leader. He was very proud of obtaining numerous patents for oil and gas drilling equipment. He also had a gift for finding and investing in real estate and venture capital investments. Roy was one of the original board members of Cullen Bank, continued to serve on the board after the merger with Frost Bank.
Roy touched the lives of many people in Houston through his contributions and support for countless charities, causes and the arts. He was a long serving board member of the Cullen Foundation and chaired the board from 1998 -2014. He cared deeply about education and served in several leadership roles for the University of Houston, on the board of The Kinkaid School of Houston (emeritus) and on the board of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Individually, Roy was a generous supporter and an advocate for the Texas Medical Center, Parkinson's disease research, as well as veteran's causes and the Boy Scouts of America. He was a champion for a variety of local visual and performing arts groups, such as FotoFest and the Orange Show. Roy loved photography, and was an accomplished photographer himself. Some of his favorite subjects were the cattle drives on their property in south Texas, and the rich gardens that he and Mary encountered on their many travels. Periodically his photograph collections were exhibited at Meredith Long Gallery and Red Bud Gallery in Houston. Roy gave all the proceeds to charity.
Roy was an avid sports enthusiast, supporting the University of Houston athletes and members of the U. S. Olympic team. He was a regular with his running club members and his family and friends. He enjoyed mountain biking, fishing, loved sailing, tango dancing, and hunting. He also loved flying, and was very proud that he kept his pilot's license in his wallet for over 60 years.
In the summertime, and on many other occasions, Roy and Mary would escape the Houston heat and spend time in Chicago, where they developed strong friendships and close ties with the artistic community and civic leaders. One of his great passions was to travel. He and Mary and their family toured extensively over every continent, including Antarctica.
Roy was preceded in death by his father, Roy G. Cullen and mother Katherine Cullen Burton of Houston, sister Katherine Otilla Cullen, daughters Lillie Cullen of Wimberley, Texas, and Katherine Elene Cullen of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Roy is survived by his wife, Mary Garcia Cullen, sons Roy W. Cullen, Robert Cullen and wife, Camille, Meredith Cullen and wife Danielle of Houston and her children Lauren White and Luke White; daughter Melinda Cullen of Basalt, Colorado; mother of the five eldest children, Margaret Smith Singer of Houston; grandchildren Dana Harper and wife Hana, LeeAnne Cullen and fiancée Stratton Wright, and Emma Cullen of Houston, Elena Cullen and Charles Cullen of Tyler, Texas, and Nikolai Cullen Yudin, Sean Cullen Galvin, and Kelly Cullen Galvin of Basalt, Colorado; and great grandchildren Toyen L. Harper and Hank J. Harper, of Houston Texas. His Cullen family: sister Cornelia Cullen Long and her husband Meredith; Cornelia O'Leary Zilkha and her husband Michael and son Daniel Michael Zilkha; Alisa Erin O'Leary; John Cavanaugh O'Leary, Jr. and his wife Blanca and son John Cavanaugh O'Leary, III; Martha Long; brother Harry Holmes Cullen and wife Rose; Harry H. Cullen, Jr. and his wife Kathleen and children Harry H. Cullen, III, Hugh Roy Cullen II, Kathleen Rosanette Cullen; Katherine Cullen McCord and husband Jody and children Jennifer Rose McCord, Cullen Dietrich McCord, and Sarah Katherine McCord. Other family members include the Robertsons, Arnolds, Marshalls, Barnharts, Thompsons, and their families. The Garcia family includes: sister in law Nancy Flores, and children Susie Castilleja and family Katie and Gina of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Louie Flores and wife Favi of Downey, California; Tina Kruse and family Inez and Nickolas of Portland, Oregon; Martin Flores and wife Betina, and family Diego and Marcello of Brooklyn, New York; Alice Garcia of Laguna Beach, California, and family Tom and Lisa Sebastian and son Gray of Lagunitas, California; and Beau Donnan of Laguna Beach, California; Lance Medel, Laguna Beach, California; brother in law Tom Garcia of Laguna Beach, California; and Dr. Ron Garcia of Houston, Texas and family Wylie Garcia and husband Clark Derbes and son Asa Garcia-Derbes of Burlington, Vermont; David Garcia and wife Erica of Houston ; step brother Paul Carlson of Laguna Hills, California, and step brother John Carlson of Placentia, California.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o'clock in the afternoon until eight o'clock in the evening on Monday, the 7th of April, in the library and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive, in Houston.
The memorial service will be conducted at eleven o'clock in the morning on Tuesday, the 8th of April, at the Church of St. John the Divine, 2450 River Oaks Boulevard in Houston, where the Rev. Dr. Laurens A. Hall, Rector, is to officiate.
Prior to the service, the family will have gathered for a private interment at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston.
In lieu of usual remembrances, contributions in memory of Mr. Roy H. Cullen may be directed to Houston Area Parkinson's Society, 1475 W. Gray St., Houston, TX, 77019; or the Houston Museum of Fine Art, 1001 Bissonnet St., Houston, TX, 77005.


Published in Houston Chronicle from Apr. 5 to Apr. 7, 2014
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