Roy Henry Cullen

October 29, 1929April 4, 2014
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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 the 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 Lillie Harper and Hank Josef 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 gather with the family and share remembrances of Roy at five o'clock this afternoon, Monday, the 7th of April, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston. The visitation will immediately follow from six o'clock until eight o'clock this evening in the library and grand foyer.

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. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held in the adjacent Sumners Hall.

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.



  • Friends are invited to Share Remembrances of Roy Monday, April 7, 2014
  • Visitation Monday, April 7, 2014
  • Memorial Service Tuesday, April 8, 2014


  • Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held in the adjacent Sumners Hall

Roy Henry Cullen

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Martha B Zenger

April 12, 2014

A friend from Houston sent me the sad news about Mr. Cullen's passing.
I came to the USA as a Nanny in 1961 and was lucky to be hired by Roy H. Cullen. I endured hurricane Carla with the family... I got very home-sick for my native Switzerland. - Mr. Cullen offered me a trip back home to see my family. He was a very kind gentleman that always made time to talk with me when he got home from work, or on our vacation together. - I loved him and his children and fondly remember them all.
Later I married in Houston, had two children with my husband and after retirement we moved to Colorado Springs, where our son is living with his family.s and fondly remember Mr. Cullen and the family. We lost contact but I never forgot my first American Experience with the Cullen family.
I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the family/"children", if they remember
Martha Bissegger, married Zenger.
May you all be blessed with the fondest memories of your dear one.

Smith Street Capital Family

April 10, 2014

Our sincerest condolences to the Cullen Family. Mr. Cullen will missed by many!

Michael Burge

April 10, 2014

May God continue to Comfort & Bless the Cullen Family, & Friends... as Only He Can^^^
So, Lay Down your Burdens & Sorrows - this is for you, as Roy is in the Best Hands... & Loves You All more than you may know - Let Go & Open again to *God*

Andrea Guevara Johnston

April 9, 2014

My prayers are with the entire family.
Love and Light

Sherri Burden

April 9, 2014

Roy, My deepest sympathy for your entire family. You are in my thoughts & prayers

Michael Burge

April 9, 2014

Thanks for sharing the Photo Gallery... I liked the 70's long hair! I helped their son Meredith build a Science Project once, for which Roy supplied the Formula for measuring the velocity of a shot arrow. One thing I'll always remember of Mr. Roy Cullen, is that he had the soft yet firm handshake of a Preacher^^^Enjoy Heaven Sir^^^

Lynn Trafton

April 8, 2014

My deepest sympathies go out to Mary and her family for the loss of a sweet and generous man. I will always have many fond memories of their lively and fun after-marathon parties. He will be missed and always loved by all.

April 8, 2014


So sorry to hear of your father's passing. My prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time.

Suzanne Humphrey

April 8, 2014

My deepest sympathy to all the family for your great loss. Love, Sara Haynes

Diane & Marty Froelick

April 8, 2014

We were deeply saddened to hear of Roy's passing. Marty & I will always remember him for the kind & extremely giving man that he was, along with the great love he had for the running community back when we lived in Houston. Our sincere condolences to Mary & his entire family. May you all feel God's comfort & love through your family & friends.