Society / Featured Parties

Working Out at 430 Every Morning Keeps This 90-Year-Old Houston Real Estate Legend Going Strong

The City’s Power Brokers Come Out to Celebrate Welcome Wilson Sr.

BY // 03.27.18
photography Alexander's Fine Portrait Design

The movers and shakers, power brokers and VIPs turned out 600 strong at The Post Oak Hotel to celebrate one of the city’s most well-respected gents, one who has been making a positive mark in Houston for more years than most people can even remember. This was Welcome Wilson Sr.‘s 90th birthday bash, a milestone that defies visual reality. In Wilson’s world, clearly, 90 is the new 70.

The momentous occasion was impetus for publication of the successful real estate developer‘s just-published autobiography, Always Welcome. Each guest received an autographed copy, after being photographed with the honoree in something of a receiving line that stretched on for more than an hour. What 90 year old do you know who can handle that, much less the celebration that followed?

Guests gathered in the hotel ballroom for official salutes both via video and in person from hotel owner and hospitality czar Tilman Fertitta, who holds the position of chairman of the University of Houston board of regents, and Renu Khator, chancellor of the University of Houston System, which Wilson chaired when she was hired by the university. His dedication to his alma mater has extended through the decades and in lieu of birthday gifts, guests were invited to contribute to the Welcome Wilson Sr. Endowment for the Jack J. Valenti School of Communications at UH. Valenti, longtime head of the Motion Picture Association of America, was a classmate of Wilson’s and one of his closest friends.

Joining Wilson were his wife of 69 years, Joanne; and a number of their five children and spouses, 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Welcome Wilson Jr. led the brief program saluting his dad, the honoree.

The ballroom decor included placards revealing “Things You Didn’t Know about Welcome Wilson.” Among those intriguing revelations: He witnessed the hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in 1956, he milked two cows every morning before hitchhiking to high school, in 1949 he performed singing commercials on television, he has ridden in the Salt Grass Trail Ride for 53 years, and he gets up at 4:30 every morning to work out.

Birthday best wishes came via video from many,  including Heidi and Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Ned Holmes, Scott McClelland, Joanne King Herring and Lynn Wyatt.

Celebrants: Mayor Sylvester Turner, Barbara and Gerald Hines, Patricia Oliver, Barbara and LeRoy Hermes, Kristi and John Schiller, Lou Gregory, Cindy and Kelley Parker III, State Senator Sylvia Garcia, State Representatives Ana Hernandez and Mary Ann Perez, Martha Turner and Glenn Bauguss, Roz and Alan Pactor, Chris Kase, Lance Livingston, and Jarvis Hollingsworth.

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