Angie and Billy Lemmons On Honoring President Bush and Serving Others
By Cheryl Van Tuyl Jividen :: Photography by Mark Humphries
A review of what keeps Angie and Billy Lemmons busy reveals they have servants’ hearts. The inspiration for their vast, humble service is largely drawn from President George H. W. Bush. Billy explains, “President Bush said it so well ‘ … There could be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others.’”
More than a quote, the Lemmons have embraced it as a way of life. For Billy, a Managing Partner and cofounder of EnCap Flatrock Midstream in San Antonio, and formerly a Vice President at Enron, the road to community service came in the form of an invitation twenty years ago, “A young man named Israel Hernandez was in the first class of the Bush School of Government and Public Service. While he was in the program, he interned on my team in Houston to get some energy industry experience. I was honored when Israel invited me to attend his graduation. I met President Bush afterward outside the library. I can still remember shaking his hand and then being in a picture with him, Israel and some of Israel’s family and friends. It was a lifetime highlight moment for me. One of the world’s greatest leaders and I still remember how warm and friendly he was to everyone.”
It was particularly special that the meeting occurred at Texas A&M, as both are alums. A native of Riviera, Texas, Billy, a registered professional engineer holds a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering and Angie, a San Antonio native, holds an accounting degree. Both have M.B.A.’s from the Mays Graduate School of Business at Texas A&M. They met at A&M and married soon after graduating in 1984. Angie remembers well the impact of the commencement speaker at her graduation, then Vice President George H.W. Bush, “The thing I remember most was how amazed I was to have someone as important as him there. I can’t remember his words, but I do know that that’s when I became a HUGE fan of George Bush.”
Shortly after his presidential election in November 1988, President Bush chose to locate his Presidential Library and Museum at A&M — a decision based in large part to the campus, it’s military traditions and the Aggie Core Values: Respect, Excellence, Leadership, Loyalty, Integrity and Selfless Service, which aligned with his own. “It has been heartwarming to see, over the years, how much President Bush loved A&M and the Aggies loved him right back,” says Billy.
Billy serves as a trustee of the Texas A&M Foundation which manages the university’s $2 billion endowment, but it was in 2017 that his relationship began with the Bush family as a Texas A&M appointee of the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, recently renamed The George and Barbara Bush Foundation. “My role as a trustee really grew out of our involvement at A&M. I’ll never forget when I got the question “…would you serve if you were asked?” For Billy, the role is profound, “What an incredible honor and responsibility it is.” Billy serves with other trustees Jeb Bush, Neal Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger and former cabinet members James Baker, John Sununu, Andrew Card and Lynn Martin overseeing future development of the library and school and directing the growth of the foundation. “The library is considered a crown jewel at TAMU, and the school serves as the living legacy of the incredible lives of George and Barbara Bush and hosts numerous U.S. and foreign leaders speaking on world affairs and public service. It’s important that we use the Presidential Library to communicate the incredible story of their lives so that future generations can follow their positive examples. And maybe more importantly, The Bush School of Government and Public Service produces the leaders that continue the legacy and belief that public service is in fact a noble calling.” Billy says it’s an exciting time for both, “There’s a lot going on right now. In 2022 we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Presidential Library and the Bush School. The timing is appropriate to upgrade facilities and exhibits and continue the growth of the school mission, including scholarships. David Jones, who was a long-time advisor to the President, is CEO of the foundation and is doing a great job leading this effort, along with Jeb Bush who is taking a personal interest in it.”
The respect is mutual. “Billy brings a tremendous leadership background and a very keen interest in President Bush and his career, so it’s been a very, very good match. He and Angie have attended both of our recent trustee gatherings that we’ve had in Kennebunkport, Maine and he’s become a real important player for us on that trustee board,” says David Jones, adding that Billy is part of the campaign committee tasked with helping fund these initiatives that are on the drawing board for the next three to five years.
The capital campaign is, according to Billy, in a quiet phase with some interesting plans. “One thing that’s already been announced is that the Presidential Library will be receiving a retired Marine One, the helicopter you see taking the President to and from the White House. I’ve seen some renditions of the new building that will house it and it will be amazing. We’ve also taken the early steps to land (literally) Air Force One when it is retired in a few years. President Bush took delivery of the current Air Force One while he was in office and it has been used by every President since. A formal request has been made to the Secretary of the Air Force, and this was the first step in what will be a lengthy process. In a great bipartisan act, the entire Texas congressional delegation sent a letter endorsing the request. This plane has been a part of so much history and it would be a huge attraction for the library. Before his passing last fall, President Bush made it clear that he was excited about this opportunity for the library.”
While Billy serves in his role, Angie participates in many events. In 2017, together they had the memorable opportunity to visit with President and Mrs. Bush in their home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Their admiration grew even greater Billy says, “We’ve been lifelong admirers and supporters of President and Mrs. Bush, and really their entire family — and it’s been because of the great examples of leadership they set; old-fashioned values that our world needs so much today — that it’s possible to be both strong and compassionate, to give the credit to others, and remembering to be grateful. President and Mrs. Bush lived such incredible lives of service to others and what a team they were! President Bush had such a dignified, yet down-to-earth style of leadership… he was strong, compassionate, humble, funny and he never took himself too seriously. And Mrs. Bush was such an incredible force on every front. She, too, had the gifts of humility and humor.” Billy served as an honorary pallbearer at services for the President in Houston. “I’ve always said that no one had a better resume to serve as President of our great nation, and some are beginning to say that he may in fact be the greatest one-term President. We’ve had the incredible pleasure of getting to know many of the family members, as well as many of the President’s former cabinet, staff members and advisors. It’s incredible to see the love and devotion they carry to this day for President and Mrs. Bush.”
The Lemmons’ service extends beyond their alma mater and President Bush’s legacy. After her retirement from a career in public accounting with Ernst & Young and in various corporate accounting positions, Angie turned her attention to raising their three daughters and volunteering. Over the past 18 years, Angie has served as a board member and officer of numerous non-profit organizations including the Boerne Education Foundation, several Boerne organizations and the Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO’s) at all of her daughters’ schools, from elementary through high school. She has served on special committees of the Boerne Independent School District in leadership roles studying everything from zoning to class rank methodologies. “When they were younger, all three of our girls participated for many years in the sport of Acrobatic Gymnastics. Because this sport had such a positive influence on our girls, we helped found and continue to support the Acrobatic Gymnastics Foundation which helps economically disadvantaged athletes continue to participate in the sport. As a family, we’ve been involved for several years with Family Legacy Ministries which provides Christian education to orphans in Zambia. We’ve been to Zambia twice with our daughters and look forward to returning. And we’ve all been involved in various ways with service organizations such as Hill Country Daily Bread and YoungLife. We’re big believers in the power of quality education, the life lessons that come from participation in youth sports, and the call to service and hope that comes from faith,” says Angie.
The Lemmons moved to Cordillera Ranch 17 years ago as one of the first homeowners in the development. Their home pays homage to their allegiance says Billy, “There’s plenty of diplomas, football helmets and pictures from Aggieland!”
The legacy continues as all three of their daughters were accepted into the Business Honors Program in the Mays Business School. Oldest daughters, Hayley and Kelsey, work for management consulting firms in the Dallas area while the youngest daughter, Avery, is in her freshman year at A&M. The family has always enjoyed spending time on campus, especially during football season. “We have a second home that’s a ten-minute walk from Kyle Field — we’re up there all the time. It’s also been fun to meet many great Aggies at Cordillera and in the Boerne area. Some have joined us at our ‘tailgate’ house when they come up for the games. We haven’t missed very many home football games since we were students!”