Glenn McGehee, former Island mayor, dies at 88

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Glenn Lawrie McGehee — a businessman, rancher and conservationist who served as mayor of South Padre Island from 1978-1982 — has died. He was 88 years old.

McGehee was perhaps most well known as the man who established the first grocery store and liquor store on the Island. Eventually, he also opened a post office and a clothing shop. Born in Abilene in 1930, McGehee moved to the Rio Grande Valley in 1955, after attending Texas Tech University and serving briefly in the Air Force.

He, his wife, Julia Frances Houston, and their three children moved to the Island together. McGehee would go on to name his business ventures after his children, as well as employ them in the stores. “My dad was the founder … and opened up the first grocery store, post office and clothing shop, Ocean Palms I,” said McGehee’s son, Shon McGehee during an interview with the PRESS Wednesday.

He spoke of how his father named one store after his sister, Kelly. “Ocean Palms became Kelly K’s Corner,” Shon said.

Shon also spoke of how his father was dedicated to employing local Port Isabel youths to work in his stores, including hiring Tarpon football players to help keep an eye out during busy Spring Breaks. “Dad employed all the football players in Port Isabel,” Shon said. “He was a main supporter for employment in Port Isabel,” he continued of his father’s hiring of locals.

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1 comment

    • Frank Moreno on September 8, 2020 at 4:49 pm
    • Reply

    Glenn, this man is da greatest man in my life time!!!!!!!! Never , will another Glenn b born !
    I not only had da honor to meet this great man , I live in his old house in SPI!!!!!

    5905 Gulf Blvd

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