Born: November 8, 1914 – Died July 4, 1993
My father was born in a white wooden two story home in Edge, Texas. A small city located about 10 miles to the northeast of Bryan Texas. The house was small and looked more like a two story row house than anything else. He was one of 10 children that George Pickett Edge and Mae Harris Edge.
His father George and older brother Jim owned the Oldsmobile dealership in Bryan. You did not sell a lot of cars during the depression. Family members raised vegetables and took care of livestock for their needs.
Gordon excelled in sports in school and was fortunate enough to attend Texas A&M on a basketball scholarship. His Bryan High School team was legendary and could have served as the inspiration for the movie “Hoosiers”. He only stayed at Texas A&M for two years but he had a love affair with the school which lasted his whole life.
Gordon Edge graduated from Sam Houston College after leaving Texas AM. To take a job as the newspaper distributor for the Houston Post in Huntsville. He hated to leave A&M but his family needed the money Gordon could make from his job.
He served in the Navy during World War II. His job was to help build ships for the Navy in San Diego. Uncle Drummond said, he managed to get a supervisor job without knowing a single thing about ship building. My father was always someone people looked up to and would follow. He had a big smile and Hollywood looks to go along with a big pair of hands. He just looked like someone you did not want to mess with.
After the War and college my father moved to Houston where he meet the love of his life. My mother Edna Fae was a tall good looking lady with honey blond hair and a passion for her college Texas University. Edna Fae was working at Kay’s on Bissonnet, her father’s restaurant when they meet. It was there that my father learned about the restaurant business. More important he meet the people who would help him in business and be clients for 50 years.
He started his own restaurant in 1946 about where 610 and Bissonnet meet today. He decided to expand the building and the neighbors sued for deed restrictions. He lost the case and always considered that the best thing that ever happened to him was going broke in Bellaire. He reopened near River Oaks in 1948 and operated a restaurant close to River Oaks the rest of his life.
Growing up their were always a few Aggie football players sleeping at the house. My father was great friends with the influential Aggie boosters such as Johnny Mitchell. He closed his restaurant on Tuesday nights so the Texas A&M 12th man club could meet there. As a little boy I flew on chartered planes to many of the Aggie games. The team did not win many games then and the Aggie boosters used to say “wait till next year” after the game. For many years I thought the Aggie way cry was wait till next year.
He made his fortune not in the many restaurants and clubs the family owned over his lifetime but in the motel business. He started in the Motel business by working days for the Lee Brothers who owned at their Town House Motel. This was possible because our restaurant was only open at night. The Lee Brothers liked him so much that he became a partner in their new Town House Motel in Lafayette Louisiana. The Oil boom was hitting the area and this Motel located on Pinhook Road expanded twice. With some of the profits from this venture he built the Rodeway Inn motel in Morgan City, Louisiana.
My father’s other great passions in life were agriculture and the police force. He never forgot working hard in the cotton fields as a child to make a nickel. I spent many week-ends with him driving the country side between Bryan and Houston as he looked for a spot for his ranch. After buying and selling several ranches he settled on 800 acres near Anderson Texas. He raised Black Angus cattle which he would feed from the back of his pick-up truck.
He was member of the Executive Board of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He was the founder and first chairman of the Chicken Auction committee for the HLSR. His background in the hospitality industry served him well. While trying to figure out how to sell chickens early in the morning Gordon came up with one of the best money making ideas for the Houston Livestock Rodeo. He brought John L Price, the bartender from his restaurant to the auction and held an open bar for 2 hours before the auction. As a little boy I can remember seeing bidder’s wives beating on the back of their husband wanting to know why they paid so much for those chickens. Could it have been the Bloody Mary’s or the stiff Martini’s? Our family also bought the Grand Champion Chickens and Turkey on occasion.
Father became president of the 100 Club of Houston after serving on the board. His goal was to double membership. I am not sure how close he came doubling the membership but he significantly increased the number of members. He always carried a stack of signed membership applications for the hundred club with him. He always asked everyone he came into contact with. Are a member of the 100 Club of Houston? If not he signed you up on the spot.
There were many other charities and Houston events he worked with during his lifetime. He chaired The Bill Williams Capon Dinner and handled the food and beverage concessions at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. He never turned down a request to help, nor missed the opportunity to help others when he could. His friends donated a scholarship for over $100,000 to the Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation in his memory. He lead a blessed life and touched people in a way that they remember more than 20 years after his death. The world lost little of it’s brightness when he passed away.