Welcome Wilson Sr. Bio

Houston Real Estate Developer for 61 years. Chairman of Welcome Group, landlord to 4,000,000 square feet of Manufacturing and Industrial Facilities in 87 locations in Texas. First projects in the 1950s and 1960s were Master Planned Communities, Jamaica Beach and Tiki Island in Galveston County, both of which are now separate cities. He later developed apartments, retail centers, hotels and three downtown office buildings. Welcome Wilson Sr. Honors include: Inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Houston Business Journal and Awarded an Honorary Doctor’s degree from the University of Houston, where he was a BBA grad in 1949.

Of note, he received the UH Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1970, the UH Bauer College of Business Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996, the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2005 from Texas Southmost College and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley in 2018.

In the past, he was Chairman of the Board of two Houston banks, was Chairman of an American Stock Exchange company and was on the Board of Directors and owned 10% of the Houston Astros baseball team. In March 2018, he celebrated his 90th birthday. Welcome Wilson Sr. He was a long-time Chairman of the Board of Regents of the University of Houston, Chairman of its Drive to Tier One and is now Chairman of its Political Action Committee. He is a Director Emeritus of the Greater Houston Partnership, having served a long time as its Higher Education Chairman.

In the 50s and 60s he served in the Executive Office of the President under Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.  He witnessed the Atom bomb test in Nevada and the Hydrogen Bomb test at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

In 1958, he was awarded the Arthur Fleming Award as One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in Federal Service. Welcome Wilson Sr. Out of 600 who received this award since 1948, Wikipedia lists him as a “notable” twenty along with Astronaut Neil Armstrong (moon landing), Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Senator Elizabeth Dole, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and TV network’s John Chancellor.

He was invited and spoke to a joint session of the New Mexico Legislature. He was appointed Special Ambassador to Nicaragua by President Lyndon Johnson. After World War II, he served for two years as a Naval Officer in Japan, having graduated first in his class in officer’s school.  He married his college sweetheart on the day he graduated from UH, 69 years ago. They have 5 kids, 16 grandkids and 16 great-grandkids, one of whom is in college.

Welcome Wilson Sr.

Inspirational Speaker

Things You May Not Know About Welcome Wilson Sr.
By: Cindi Wilson Proler Ray
  • Witness to Hydrogen Bomb Test at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific 1956
  • Milked two Cows each Morning Before Hitchhiking to High School 1943
  • LBJ Special Ambassador to Nicaragua (President Somosa) 1966
  • Hired to Regularly Performed Live Singing Commercials on TV 1949
  • 5 Children, 16 Grandchildren, 16 Great-Grandchildren & Only 1 Wife 1949
  • Served in the Executive Office of the President under Ike and JFK 1956
  • Three Year Chairman of the Board of Regents of the University of Houston 2007
  • Inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame 2011
  • Chairman of the Board, Homestead Bank of Houston 1964
  • Naval Officer in the Occupation Forces of Japan after WWII 1951
  • Invited & Spoke to a Joint Session of New Mexico Legislature 1959
  • Hitchhiked 720 miles Round Trip First 30 Weekends in College to see Girl 1946
  • Received Arthur Fleming Award as One of Ten Outstanding Young Men in US Federal Service (Award Later Given to Astronaut Neil Armstrong and Sec.Robert Gates) 1958
  • Married College Sweetheart, Joanne, on College Graduation Day 1949
  • JFK Came to his Hotel Suite at Washington Hotel for Small Gathering 1960
  • Saved Best Friend’s Life Using CPR 1988
  • At age 80, Traveled Half Mile on ZIP Line through Costa Rica Forrest 2008
  • Founding Board Member of the UH Phi Beta Kappa Society Chapter 2016
  • Given the Trailblazer Award by the American Advertising Federation-Houston 2013
  • Monday thru Friday Workout at various Health Clubs for 55 years 1963
  • Worked for Hog Farm at age 13, Picked up Slop from Houston Hotels 1941
  • Developer of Jamaica Beach and Tiki Island in Galveston, TX 1957
  • Worked with Houston Mayor Lewis Cutrer to Integrate Lunch Counters 1963
  • Longshoreman on Brownsville, Texas Docks for Banana Boats 1945
  • Arrested for Touching Cop with his Car, Hired Racehorse Haynes, Acquitted 1979
  • In Front Page Houston Post Picture with LBJ at opening of Astrodome 1965
  • Distinguished Alumnus, UH Bauer College of Business 1996
  • Ten Percent Owner of Houston Astros Baseball Team 1970
  • Department Head at Houston City Hall at age 27 1956
  • Age 30, Named by President Eisenhower to the Civilian Rank of 3-Star General 1958
  • Almost Lost at Sea While Swimming 100 miles off Texas Coast 1989
  • Member of Harris County Grand Jury Commission 1970
  • In College, Performed as Comedy Act Singer in Night Clubs 1948
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the Houston Business Journal 2012
  • Back Stage with Willie Nelson during Houston Concert at the Summit 1995
  • Worked for the US National Security Agency in Japan during the Korean War 1951
  • President of the Student Body at Texas Southmost College in Brownsville, TX 1945
  • Talked with JFK and Jackie in Houston the Night Before He Was Assassinated 1963


Welcome Wilson Sr.

Motivational Author

More Things You May Not Know About Welcome W. Wilson Sr.
By: Cindi Wilson Proler Ray
  • Testified Twice Before a Federal Criminal Grand Jury (Sharpstown) 1972
  • Led Drive to Raise Money to Install First Weather Radar in Texas 1955
  • Watched Eisenhower Hit Golf Balls Daily from WWW Sr’s DC Office 1958
  • Conducted Hearing Which Changed Hurricane Reporting by the Weather Bureau 1958
  • Shot Craps with Judge Roy Hofheinz in Las Vegas 1954
  • His Signature is on 35,000 Diplomas from University of Houston System 2007
  • Attended Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, NJ – LBJ was nominated 1964
  • Performed Four Wedding Ceremonies under Texas Law 2004
  • Developer and Owner of the Sixth Marriott Hotel in the World (Today 5,500) 1967
  • Billy Gibbons & Dusty Hill played at Daughter’s Debut Party before ZZ Top 1971
  • Named a Texas Icon by Houston Local Magazine 2016
  • Named Distinguished Alumnus by University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley 2018
  • Gets up Monday – Friday at 4:25 am, Picks up Welcome Jr at 5am to go to Club 1983
  • Lived in Army Surplus House Trailer on UH Campus. Bathroom a Block Away 1946
  • Had Lonesome Dove Author Larry McMurtry as House Guest 1990
  • Chairman of University of Houston Sugarland Campus Restructure Taskforce 2015
  • An Honorary Citizen of Galveston, New Orleans and Springdale, Arkansas 1959
  • Business Partner of Johnny Goyen, Mayor Pro-tem of Houston for 22 years 1957
  • Eats over 50 Red and Green Frozen Grapes Each Day 2011
  • Named Texas Business Icon by National Real Estate Forum Magazine 2012
  • Played Ping Pong Daily w/World Champion Chess Master Oswald Jacoby 1952
  • Friend of Original Seven Astronauts. Alan Shepherd was Neighbor 1963
  • Slopped Hogs & Fed Chickens Twice Daily During High School 1941
  • Met with LBJ at Jack Valenti’s House about Civil Rights 1963
  • Chairman of the Board of an American Stock Exchange Company 1969
  • Went Nameless for 22 days When Parents Could Not Agree on Name 1928
  • Executive Assistant to Texas Oilman/Philanthropist Billionaire R.E.(Bob) Smith 1953
  • Texas President of the Pan American Student Forum 1945
  • Developer, Foxhall Apartments on I-10 at Chimney Rock in Houston 1968
  • Hunted Duck in Arkansas with Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus 1958
  • Snow Storm Flight to DC with Oklahoma Governor for JFK Inauguration 1961
  • His Birth Announcement had Pink Ribbon because Doctor said he would be a Girl 1928
  • Shot Pheasant in Scotland with Chairman/CEO of Sotheby’s 1980
  • Investigated by the Los Angeles Times as being LBJ’s Silent Partner 1965
  • Knew Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan, Bush, Met Nixon & Trump 1954
  • Legendary US House Speaker Sam Rayburn Came to WWW’s Texas Office 1959
  • Witness to Atom Bomb Test in Nevada 1954

Welcome Wilson Sr.

Inspirational Speaker

Even More Things You May Not Know About Welcome W. Wilson Sr.
By: Cindi Wilson Proler Ray
  • Partner of Jack Valenti, President of the Motion Picture Association of America 1957
  • Board Chairman of Colonial Savings Association of Houston 1965
  • Named Distinguished Alumnus, Texas Southmost College 2005
  • Ate Nothing but Free Bananas for 13 Days to Save Money in College 1947
  • Rode the Annual Salt Grass Trail Ride 52 Times 1967
  • Founding Chairman of UH Graduate Real Estate Program Board of Directors 2010
  • Installed Houston Air Raid Sirens Heard every Friday noon for 30 years 1955
  • Lived and Raised Five Kids on Houston’s River Oaks Boulevard for 30 years 1966
  • Special Assistant to Houston Mayor (Judge) Roy Hofheinz 1954
  • Took $3 Airplane Ride in Ford Tri-motor Plane 1935
  • Sat on Stage at Houston’s Jones Hall when Tenor Luciano Pavarotti Sang 1981
  • Visited with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in his Pentagon Office 1962
  • Weighed Twelve Pounds When Born in San Angelo, Texas 1928
  • Was Executive Director of the United Citizens Association of Houston, and Led a Slate of Mayor and City Council Candidates to Abject Defeat 1955
  • Experienced Earthquake Tremors in Yokohama, Japan 1951
  • Ex-Texas Governor John Connelly Talked Him in to Becoming a Republican 1973
  • Designed and Built a Two Story Federal Office Building 50 feet Underground 1960
  • Rafted Through Rapids for Five Days on River of No Return in Idaho 1980
  • Named Distinguished Alumnus, University of Houston 1970
  • President of Mortgage Broker River Oaks Financial Group, Inc. 1984
  • Chairman of Desperado Horseback Riding Group for Forty-Eight Years 1970
  • Given the Alice Graham Baker Crusader Award by Neighbor Centers, Inc. 2013
  • Developed Kingsbrook Apartment Complex on Katy Fwy in Houston 1964
  • Canoed Regularly Fifteen Miles down Buffalo Bayou with Best Friend 1985
  • Witness to Spacecraft Endeavor Liftoff from Cape Kennedy, Florida 1990
  • Selected One of Ten Outstanding Students at UH 1949
  • Shot Pheasant for 15 years in England, Scotland and Ireland 1982
  • With his wife, Joanne, Named a Houston Treasure by the Houston Social Book 2015
  • Hip Replaced 30 Years after Horseback Accident 2000
  • Graduated First in his Class at Naval Officers School 1951
  • Has Known Every Texas Governor Since Allen Shivers 1953
  • Trap Drummer for 17 Piece College Dance Band 1945
  • Was the Subject of Oval Office Conversation Between LBJ and J. Edgar Hoover 1965
  • Ran Three Miles Daily with Best Friend Jimmy Lyon for 23 years Until He Died 1993
  • Escorted Movie Star Gina Lolabrigida to Awards Dinner 1982

Welcome Wilson Sr. ~ Motivational Author

Yet More Things You May Not Know About Welcome W. Wilson, Sr.
By: Cindi Wilson Proler Ray
  • Eisenhower Administration Appointee, Five State Head of Civil Defense & FEMA 1956
  • Had 38 Aunts and Uncles and 47 First Cousins 1939
  • Received the Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee 2015
  • Has been Alive for More Than 32,500 Days 1928
  • Mother’s Family Entered Texas before the Civil War 1850
  • Quoted in Time Magazine about the Cold War and National Defense 1959
  • Board Member of the Greater Houston Partnership, now Director Emeritus 2008
  • At the Presidential Inaugurations of JFK, LBJ, GHWB, GWB and Donald Trump 1961
  • Testified Before Five Texas Legislative Committees 2009
  • Is a Fourth-generation Houstonian – Great-grandkids are Seventh 1869
  • To Win a Bet, Ate 17 Pecan Balls at River Oaks Country Club 1975
  • Chairman of University of Houston Drive for Tier One Status 2010
  • At Age 5 Scared Witless By Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein movie 1933
  • He and his wife received the Community Service Award from the UH Tech College 2015
  • Negotiated the Sale of Houston’s Fifth Largest Bank 1990
  • Beat Prostate Cancer after Year of Radiation & Hormone Therapy 2007
  • Trapped 8 Days in Boston Hotel with 12 Feet of Snow at the Door 1978
  • Higher Education Chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership 2010
  • Drafted in World War II, Orders cancelled when Atom Bomb Ended the War 1945
  • Discovered High-rise Fire, Ran up 16 Floors to Evacuate Residents 1975
  • Attended Catholic Mass at Noon 7 Days a Week in Japan for 20 Months 1951
  • Spent a Night in a Tokyo Geisha House, Had to Pay Extra to Sleep Alone 1951
  • Board Member of AA White Dispute Resolution Institute 1997
  • Founding Chairman University of Houston Heritage Society 1988
  • Hitchhiked in Bombardier Seat of Air Force B-26s All Across America 1951
  • Early Board Member, Houston Convention Bureau 1966
  • With a One Tank of Gas and $40, Spent Three Weeks in Mexico with Brother 1948
  • Houston Chairman of March of Dimes Campaign 1954
  • Lived in Japan for Two Years, Wife and Son joined 1951
  • Bank Partner Bill Sherrill was later Member of US Federal Reserve Board 1965
  • Defense Battalion Commander in Yokosuka, Japan 1951
  • Developed Three Villa Marina Apartment Complexes in Galveston 1966
  • Stopped a 4 Engine Airline Plane as it Taxied from Gate by Arm-waving in front 1956
  • Had Kids or Grandkids at Kinkaid School Every Semester for 54 Years 1963
  • Played Base Fiddle in 14 Piece Band in College 1945
  • Received the Real Estate Outstanding Service Award from Houston CoreNet 2013
  • Grand Marshal of Astronaut Gordon Cooper’s Houston Parade 1963
  • Business Partner with Charlie Wilson of Charlie Wilson’s War 1963

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I send thoughtful and caring emails

“Welcome’s efforts as an entrepreneur have enriched the community, led to better lives for untold numbers of fellow Texans, and inspired generations of admirers and followers to do greater things. My hope is that through reading this book, you will come to know Welcome W. Wilson, Sr., as I have–as a brilliant businessman, a loving family man and a proud Houstonian.”

Rick Perry
Rick PerryUS Secretary of Energy & former Governor of Texas
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