Charles Lewis Pence
Charles Lewis Pence passed away on March 10, 2023, at his ranch outside of Comfort after a battle with cancer. His loving and caring wife, Kay (KK), was ever-present at his bedside when his soul entered eternal rest.
A Memorial Service will be held at Grimes Funeral Chapels on Friday, March 17 at 10:30 a.m.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas at Fiddler’s Green, 3748 F&B Rd on April 1, at 3:30 p.m. Fiddler’s Green at Parsons Mounted Cavalry is an outdoor venue; please consider appropriate attire if attending. Reception to follow.
Charlie was born on November 11, 1929, outside of Cisco, Texas to the late Charles George Pence and Pearl Warner Pence. Charlie graduated from Cisco High School in 1947 and then attended the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, now known as Texas A&M University.
Charlie had an amazing career after growing up on a ranch outside of Cisco, Texas during the Great Depression and World War II eras. He would fondly recount stories about his parents and grandparents coming from the generation with “steel in their backbones”; he too possessed this quality in abundance. Upon graduation from Texas A&M in 1951, Charlie joined the U.S. Army and served in the Korean War as an officer in the First Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division.
After leaving the U.S. Army, Charlie went to work in 1955 for Humble Oil and Refining Company, now ExxonMobil, as an oil scout and landman. While exhibiting his characteristic traits of hard work and discipline, Charlie advanced his career with the land department at Exxon to become a board member and Senior Vice President of Friendswood Development Company, which at that time was the real estate development subsidiary of Exxon. Charlie ran and was responsible for the development of Clear Lake City and Bayport Industrial Park for Friendswood during the time of the rapid expansion of the NASA space program. In 1980 Exxon tabbed Charlie as the President of its Battlement Mesa, Inc. subsidiary. His role with this entity was to develop the town of Battlement Mesa to support the prospective energy boom associated with the oil shale projects on the Western Slope of Colorado.
With the onset of the slowdown of nation’s oil and gas exploration industry in 1982, Charlie retired from Exxon after 27 impressive years and commenced forming his own business enterprises and lending his leadership expertise to public infrastructure projects. Charlie served as the initial President of the Grand Parkway Association; the nonprofit entity created by the Texas Transportation Commission in 1984 to promote the development of the 180-mile outer loop serving the greater Houston area.
Early on his business enterprises focused on real estate investment and development activities. Charlie was the Chairman and CEO of both Jefferson Realty Company and Jefferson Development Company targeting an array of structured investment opportunities and development projects, including apartments, land acquisitions, and master planned communities. Continuing with his entrepreneurial spirit, Charlie later focused his attention on investing in start-up companies that provide utility services to smaller municipalities and master planned communities in Texas, including SiEnergy and SiEnvironmental.
Early in his life Charlie made a personal commitment to support and give back to his community and to Texas A&M when he had the wherewithal to do so. That pledge was not an empty promise. Charlie was a member of the A&M Legacy Society and leveraged his resources to endow at least 32 scholarships in addition to making other substantial financial gifts benefitting Texas A&M. Thus far over 150 students have been assisted with pursuing their educational goals as recipients of his generosity.
Charlie did not only provide financial assistance to these scholarship recipients, but he also contributed to their growth as a student, citizen, young adult, and parent by being available as a sounding board for their ideas and concerns. One of Charlie’s favorite activities was arranging group dinners with these students a couple of times each year. The purpose of these gatherings was to foster a relationship with these students, as well as to provide encouragement and share some of his immense wisdom. There is no doubt that his connection with these scholarship recipients helped to nurture and sustain the Aggie Spirit within them.
Not only was Charlie generous to Texas A&M, but he also made substantial contributions to his community. Charlie and his late wife Patsy were founding members of University Baptist Church in Clear Lake. Later he and Patsy gifted a significant amount of acreage and other resources to help start Grace Fellowship Church and build a new public high school in the Central Texas town of Lampasas. It is likely that neither of these events would have happened if not for their generosity.
Importantly, all of Charlie’s gifts were solely for noble causes; he did not make these gifts for the purpose of seeking personal attention and glory. He genuinely shunned such notoriety. Nonetheless, Charlie was one of the recipients of the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor Award in 2017 and the Texas A&M University Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2018. After studying Charlie’s life accomplishments and the causes that he generously supported, it is easy to see his commitment to Texas A&M’s core values – Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect and Selfless Service.
Charlie was predeceased by his loving wife of 62 years, Patsy Joyce Pence, in 2014 and his brother-in-law, Melvin Jennings, of San Angelo, Texas in 2022. Charlie is survived by his wife Kay; sons Craig Pence (Cindy) of Bastrop, Texas, Britt Pence (Ann) of Houston, TX; daughters Julia Kovach (Richard) of Bellville, Texas, Carolyn Galle (Edward, Jr.) of Wimberly, Texas, and Kay’s daughter Jessica Haveman (David) of Llano, Texas; grandchildren Charlie, Katie, Victoria, Jesse, Colton, Kyle, Connor, Marlo, Chris and Alexa; great grandchildren Clara Grace, Emilia Mae, Louisa Marie, and Piper Marie; his sister Angeleene Jennings of San Angelo, Texas; along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Kay would like to acknowledge and give a special thank you to Delfino Jaimes (DJ) for his devotion over the years in making the ranch into the vision Charlie had, and in the end helping with Charlie’s comfort. To all the friends that supported and loved Charlie through this journey, we give our sincere gratitude. The family would also like to thank Peterson Hospice, especially Jessie Parkman for all of the care and attention given by her and the Peterson team to provide comfort to Charlie.
In lieu of flowers we ask that you continue Charlie’s legacy and make a donation to your favorite Charity. As Charlie always said, “Money is chaff, it’s what you do with it that counts.”
Grimes Funeral Chapels of Kerrville
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