September 21, 1935 – August 29, 2019
Roger L. Galatas September 21, 1935 – August 29, 2019
Roger Galatas passed away at his home at the age of 83. He had been a resident of Montgomery County for over 50 years.
Roger was born in Shreveport, Louisiana on September 21, 1935. He grew up in Benton, a small town about 15 miles north of Shreveport. Roger’s high school was so small that there were not enough boys to have a football team, but there were just enough to have a baseball team. Roger played third base and was offered a scholarship to nearby Louisiana Tech. Roger hitchhiked back-and-forth to Ruston to be the first person in his family to attend college.
After graduating from Louisiana Tech in 1957 with a geology degree, Roger served in the Air Force for three years as a meteorologist. In 1960, Roger accepted a job as a geologist with Humble Oil & Refining, the predecessor to Exxon. Roger did his part to help the company search for oil, which meant he was transferred a lot. In a relatively short period of time, he lived in Hattiesburg, New Orleans, Lafayette, Kingsville, Houston, and Conroe.
In 1961, while working his first geology assignment in Hattiesburg, Roger was set up on a blind date with Ann Webb, a 21-year old native of Hattiesburg who was attending the University of Southern Mississippi and living at home with her parents. Roger first saw Ann when she came to her front door wearing a yellow dress that her mother had made. They were married three months later, which gave Ann’s mother just barely enough time to sew all the bridesmaid’s dresses. Ann’s uncle Luke, who was a mailman during the week and a preacher on Sundays, married them.
In 1963, Roger and Ann had a daughter, Susan, while still living in Hattiesburg. In 1966, their son, Bob, was born in Lafayette after the family had lived briefly in New Orleans. After Bob was born, the family moved three more times (to Kingsville, Houston, and then Conroe) before Bob’s second birthday. Roger’s family was then living in River Plantation.
It had become apparent that the frequent transfers of an active geologist made it hard to raise a family. Therefore, to avoid more relocations, Roger asked his bosses if he could move into Friendswood Development Company, which was Exxon’s land development division. Roger was granted his wish, and he started a completely new career, land development. After switching jobs, Roger’s family was able to stay put for many years, and they lived in River Plantation from 1968 to 1988. Both of his children attended Conroe ISD schools and graduated from Conroe High School.
In 1979, Roger was offered a job by a self-made man named George Mitchell who had had great success in the oil and gas business. Mr. Mitchell was still involved in the oil and gas business, but he had devised a plan to buy a large tract of land north of Houston and develop it into a city. The project had been named The Woodlands by George’s wife, Cynthia. Roger accepted the job, and then spent the next 20 years helping to develop The Woodlands as Mr. Mitchell envisioned it.
Roger treasured the 20 years he spent working for George Mitchell. He also enjoyed meeting and working with all the people who were needed to build The Woodlands. Roger stayed with the company until after George Mitchell sold it in 1997. A couple years later, Roger retired as President of The Woodlands Operating Company. After he retired, Roger wrote a book about his experiences called The Woodlands: The Inside Story of Creating a Better Hometown. He was very proud of The Woodlands, and he felt a deep personal attachment to it.
Roger was active in the community. Roger was elected to the Conroe ISD school board for two terms, and an elementary school in The Woodlands was named after him in 1992. He loved reading books to the third grade class every year. He was a founding director of The John Cooper School in The Woodlands, and he was a founder of George’s Coffee Club (named for George Mitchell) that has monthly meetings on issues that impact The Woodlands.
Roger was deeply honored to serve on the board of Biltmore Farms where he provided advice for possible land development projects in North Carolina. He was involved in several other real estate projects in Texas and Mississippi. He served on committees of the Urban Land Institute and the Trust for Public Land, and he was on the boards of the Memorial Hermann Hospital System, the Grand Parkway Association, and the Conroe ISD Education Foundation. He was also involved in The Boy Scouts for many years.
Roger is survived by his daughter, Susan McLean, who is married to Richard McLean, and they have two children, Mason and Molly. Roger’s other child, Bob, is married to Carrie Galatas, and they have two children, Max and Grace. Roger’s wife, Ann, passed away in 2015. They had been married for 53 years.
Funeral services will be held on September 6, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. at The Woodlands United Methodist Church located at 2200 Lake Woodlands Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77380. A private burial service will follow at Forest Park Cemetery located at 18000 Interstate 45 South, The Woodlands, Texas 77384.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to the Conroe ISD Education Foundation that offers scholarships to students in Conroe ISD who want to be teachers. It also offers scholarships to current teachers and employees in Conroe ISD who want to further their education.
- Funeral Service Friday, September 6, 2019
- Committal Service Friday, September 6, 2019
Nelda Luce Blair
September 8, 2019
An icon and legacy of Montgomery County, Roger will always be in our hearts. Having known him since my youth, his friendship with my family, and his personal mentorship to me as an adult, gave him a special place in our lives. Jim Blair and I offer our love and prayers for the Galatas family.
September 6, 2019
For almost 50 years, our family has been blessed to know your friendship, leadership, values and simple goodness. Beyond your well known business vision and accomplishments, you and Ann have always been guideposts for our family. Thank you and may God bless you and your family.
The Page Family
September 6, 2019
My sincere condolences and prayers go out to Susan, Bob and the entire Galatas family. Roger was an extraordinary man, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work for him at The Woodlands Development Company many years ago. His numerous contributions and accomplishments will always be remembered. God bless Roger and Ann as they are reunited once more.
Phil and Judy Freeman
September 6, 2019
We send our deepest sympathy to Roger’s family. He was a great friend and neighbor for 30 years and will be sorely missed.
September 4, 2019
Roger was the President of The Woodlands Operating Company when I was hired. He was a great person to know and be around. I am glad that he was on my journey to know him. I remember his great heart and warm smile.
I am sure he will be missed.
September 4, 2019
I have known Roger for many years as a friend and co worker with Friendswood. He was a great friend, and a great Leader of The Woodlands Development team. If he extended you his hand of friendship, it was lasting and sincere. Roger, Jeff Harris and I helped start George's Coffee Club, and Roger was so dedicated to make the Club the Best. Roger, like George Mitchell left his big hand print on the successful development of The Woodlands. Thank you Roger; I will miss you, and will remember you well, every time I walk around the Woodlands, and see your handiwork .
September 3, 2019
Your family has been part of my life for over 20 years. It has been my pleasure and my honor to know you. You were truly a remarkable man. You will be missed very much! My prayers are with your family and friends always.
All my Love
Judy Larson Olson
September 3, 2019
My heart goes out to the Galatas family. Roger was a kind and wonderful man and he will be greatly missed in the community he worked hard to create. Roger has left an amazing legacy and his contributions and his passion for The Woodlands will never be forgotten.
September 3, 2019
I met Roger only a few years ago as part of being a member of George's Coffee Club, an organization he helped form to educate people on George Mitchell's vision of The Woodlands. He was a great person and community leader. I learned a lot from him. Roger will be missed.
August 30, 2019
Thinking of you with love on the death of your wonderful father. What a difference he made to all of us here in The Woodlands. God bless you and your family .