Edwin Seth Mabry died just shy of his 94th birthday on April 21, 2022. Born in Houston -- a direct descendant of the founding Allen Brothers -- he was reared in Kemah and built his legacy as a long time civic leader and attorney in Texas City.
Following his graduation from Webster High School where he played football and tuba in the band, he briefly attended Texas A&M before enlisting in the Army just before the end of WW II; he was then sent home to await further orders. After not hearing from the Army for several months, he joined the Marine Corps and was, unbeknownst to him (and the Army), serving in two branches of the military at the same time. Later in life, he joined the Texas National Guard as a commissioned officer.
He attended Sam Houston State Teachers College after the Marines and attained his degree in music. He was a HS band director in Mabank, Missouri City and Webster before becoming the first band director at the new Clear Creek HS in the 1950s. Nothing gave him more pleasure than being a band director, but with two boys, he ultimately decided more financially rewarding pursuits were necessary.
Ed worked in the HR department for several years at Texas City Refining (TCR) and met the great love of his life, beloved local history teacher Meriworth McMillan at the Galveston Little Theatre when he played the lead role in The Crucible. He later presaged his legal career by playing Clarence Darrow in Inherit The Wind, and would go on to star in productions at College of the Mainland. Soon after they married, he was working by day and traveling to Houston nightly to attend classes at South Texas College of Law, returning home to study well into the wee hours. He passed the Bar exam with the highest score in his South Texas class and TCR made him their in-house counsel.
He was eventually recruited to the local law firm of Nugent and Lilienstern before leaving to form his own practice with several partners over 50 years, including his friend and former band student Charlie Herbeck. The firm that eventually became Mabry, Herbeck and Roberts is known today as Roberts, Johnson and Cain, now led by his protege and friend, Phil Roberts. He attained a golden reputation as a small town lawyer with high ethics, able to go up against the big city firms in Houston and New York, particularly in matters of labor law; he practiced throughout the Southeast United States, but always served the needs of his Texas City neighbors.
Both Ed and Meriworth believed deeply in service to the community, lessons he learned well from his parents, Frank and Fay Mabry who were legendary civic leaders in Kemah. He was proud of his service to Rotary where he was President, District Governor and a Paul Harris Fellow. Among the projects he helped shepherd was the construction of the Rotary Band Pavilion in Nessler Park.
In the 70s, Ed was named Texas City's Citizen of the Year and served as president of the Chamber of Commerce. He lent his legal talents generously, serving pro bono to many groups such as his beloved Memorial Lutheran Church, the Marine Corps League where he prepared wills and legal documents for troops being deployed to areas of conflict, Hospice, and Boy Scouts of America to name a few. He played pivotal roles in the creation of the College of the Mainland and the Carbide Employees Credit Union (now ACU), and many other businesses and institutions in Galveston County. He and Meriworth endowed the Edwin S. and Meriworth Mabry Professorship of History at Mary Hardin Baylor University, her alma mater.
During his rich and full life, he attended The Masters, numerous international Rotary conventions, flew on the Concorde, played in dance bands and municipal orchestras, led the church choir and community choir, and traveled around the world with Meriworth. He was grateful for his long life, his many friends and golfing buddies, and being able to enjoy the adventures of his sons and other family members.
Survivors include his sons Paul Mabry and wife Barbara of Houston, and Clifford Allen Mabry and wife Anne of Houston; grandson Robert Augustus Mabry of St. Petersburg, Florida; great-grandson Jule Seth Mabry of League City; and sister Jacqueline Love of Pasadena. He was predeceased by his wife of over 54 years, Meriworth McMillan Mabry; grandson Wayne Allen Mabry; and brother Jack Mabry.
Services will be held at noon Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at Memorial Lutheran Church in Texas City, 2021 29th St. N. A luncheon at the church will follow; visitation prior to the service will begin at 10:30 a.m. Information on suggested memorial donations will be posted on the website of Emken-Linton Funeral Home.
Memorial donations may be made to the following, or to a charity of one's choice:
TCISD Foundation for the Future, 1700 Ninth Ave. North, Texas City, TX 77590 -- designate for the TCHS Band Students Private Lessons Fund.
Memorial Lutheran Church, 2021 29th St. N, Texas City TX 77590
Mary Hardin Baylor University, UMHB Box 8433, 900 College St., Belton TX 76513 -- designate for the Edwin and Meriworth Mabry Endowment.
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