Brian Walzel - Editor, Community Impact Newspaper, The Woodlands
My family moved to The Woodlands in 1983—30 years ago. As a kid, The Woodlands was my playground, with its seemingly endless miles of bicycle paths, parks, sports fields and forests. I remember riding my bike down the road that is now Lake Woodlands Drive next to what would become The Woodlands Mall. It was a wonder to me at that young age that they were building a mall amid all of those trees. I think we all had that sense of wonder, that we were seeing something special being built right before our eyes.
The man behind that vision, George Mitchell, died July 26. Mr. Mitchell was 94 years old. Although I never had the fortune to meet him, I have always felt I owed him a debt of gratitude for shaping my home for the past three decades as one of the best places in the country to live.
In 1964, Mitchell made his first land purchase in north Houston, land that would eventually become The Woodlands. Mitchell wanted to create a community where people and nature lived in harmony together.
Mitchell also understood the importance of creating a sense of community and the role of faith in a fledgling hometown. Like many great visionaries, he knew he could not build The Woodlands alone, so he turned to those with the expertise to accomplish his goal.
His success and innovations in geological sciences are what Mitchell is most recognized for nationally. Locally, Mitchell is known as the Father of The Woodlands. Although he sold The Woodlands in 1997, Mitchell remained interested in its growth and future and often called the community his most proud accomplishment.
George Mitchell will be remembered for as long as The Woodlands exists. He and his wife, Cynthia, built a legacy that many other communities try to replicate, but fall short. Thank you, Mr. Mitchell, for creating a wonderful place to call home.
Brian Walzel, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org