Dean Jay Hartzell shared the news with the McCombs community that Charline McCombs, 91, passed away on Dec. 12, 2019. She was the wife of the school’s namesake, Red McCombs, and the couple were generous and longstanding benefactors to the business school and The University of Texas at Austin.
Together they contributed more than $100 million through the McCombs Foundation to UT Austin and other educational, charitable, and health organizations across the state. Next year is the 20th anniversary of the $50 million gift to the school of business that was named in his honor.
Hartzell offered his condolences on behalf of the school: “We are sorry to hear the news that Charline McCombs has passed away. I will be forever grateful for her incredible generosity to the Texas McCombs community and the legacy of philanthropy and caring that she and Red championed for our students, faculty, staff and alumni. Our hearts are with the McCombs family.”
Charline Hamblin was born Oct. 17, 1928, and raised in Corpus Christi. She and Red, who is 92, were together for seven decades. They met in the summer of 1947 when they were both in line enrolling for courses at Del Mar Junior College in Corpus Christi. She later attended Southwestern University.
Red recalled: “It took me two or three months to get her attention, but I got it. I’ve always said from the day I realized I was a salesman, I have only signed one lifetime contract, and that was with Charline.”
In August 1950, Red proposed to her in her grandmother’s driveway, and the couple married that November. The young car salesman told her (as described in his memoir): “I want you to be prepared because we are going for a ride! I don’t know what life holds for us, but it’s going to be great.” They drove to San Antonio on their wedding night and began their life together.
The couple had three daughters, Lynda Day, Marsha, and Connie, eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Charline was a noted philanthropist in her own right in their home in San Antonio, including her support of the Las Casas Foundation, which helped save and restore both the Majestic and Empire theaters.
As reported in local media, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who was close with Charline over the years when she and Red owned the team, said Thursday night at the AT&T Center before his team’s game against the Cavaliers: “It is a tremendous loss for our community and our state. This is a spectacular woman, iconic in her own right. A matriarch of a wonderful family who has been a loving and caring person for many decades. Red is iconic in his own right for everything he’s done and accomplished, but he’ll be the first one to tell you she called the shots. She was the boss, and she did it with love and with care, no matter who was involved.”