Lowell Henry Lebermann, Jr.
July 16, 2009
Lowell Henry Lebermann Jr., a three term Austin (Texas) City Council member, former University of Texas System regent and civic, cultural and business leader, died Thursday at the age of 70. He died unexpectedly while vacationing in Aspen, where he enjoyed spending his summers for many years. He was a trustee of the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Born April 26, 1939, Mr. Lebermann was reared in the North Texas town of Commerce, where his father practiced medicine. A student in the Plan II Honors program at The University of Texas at Austin, he was elected student body president in 1961.
Mr. Lebermann was known for his work as a member of the Austin City Council in the 1970s. He was dubbed ‘the Green Panther’ because of his environmental efforts. Mr. Lebermann wrote the ordinance establishing the city’s Office of Environmental Resource Management and pushed through a measure governing development on Lake Walter E. Long, Lake Austin and what is now Lady Bird Lake. He also wrote the city’s creeks ordinance and its historic zoning ordinance.
Mr. Lebermann was on the Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee at The University of Texas at Austin, the Ex-Students Executive Council and the Symposium Planning Committee for the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. He was appointed to the University of Texas System Board of Regents in 1993 by Texas Gov. Ann Richards and served as Vice Chairman from 1993 to 1995.
Former University of Texas System Board Chairman Bernard Rapoport described Mr. Lebermann as “one of the most priceless, precious human beings I’ve ever known. He was just marvelous. The most amazing thing, of course, was his brain. To hear some thing and understand it and capture it like he did was just unbelievable.” Active for years in Texas state and national fundraising for the Democratic Party, he was elected treasurer of the state party in 1981 and for several years was on the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Finance Council.
Mr. Lebermann was a Knight of Malta and the list of his civic involvements was lengthy, including membership on the boards of the National Public Radio (NPR) Foundation, United Way, Salvation Army, Caritas of Austin, Austin Community Foundation, Austin Symphony Orchestra Society. He was Chairman of the Paramount Theatre (Austin) board and President of the Laguna Gloria Art Museum (Austin) board. Mr. Lebermann recently served as Vice Chairman of the Travis County Hospital District Steering Committee and was a board member of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Mr. Lebermann’s business interests were as diverse and successful as his civic involvements. He was owner and Chairman of Centex Beverage Inc., was a member of the Board of Directors of Station Casinos Inc. and Valero Energy Corporation and managed a wide variety of investment interests. Mr. Lebermann was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2004.
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Survivors include his stepfather Harry E. Bovay Jr., former wives Louise S. O’Connor and Patricia Patterson, daughter Virginia, her husband John S. Wotowicz, former son-in-law Robert Robinson Cocke V, stepdaughters Patricia Farman-Farmaian and Caroline Barlerin, daughter-in-law Laurie O’Connor and grandchildren Henry Drake Wotowicz, Thomas O’Connor VI, and Clara O’Connor.
A memorial service will be held at 2:30pm on Thursday July 16, 2009 in the auditorium of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum located at 2313 Red River Street in Austin, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the following organizations would be gratefully appreciated: Lowell Lebermann Scholarship, c/o The University of Texas Ex-Students’ Association, P.O. Box 7872, Austin, Texas 78713; or Caritas of Austin, 611 Neches St., Austin, Texas 78701.