H. B. Zachry was born on Sept. 27, 1901, in Uvalde, Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M in 1922 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. In 1924 he began his construction company in Laredo by building a single bridge. After the Great Depression, Mr. Zachry moved his company to San Antonio, where it became a worldwide conglomerate that now includes construction, oil and gas, cement manufacturing, ranching, gravel and sand mining, insurance, and real estate.
Known for his personal integrity, Mr. Zachry was one of the richest but most modest businessmen in Texas. Locally, his projects included the Hilton Palacio del Rio, Metropolitan Methodist Hospital, and the Interstate 35-Loop 410 interchange, which at the time was the largest single state highway project ever let.
Education of Texas students was always of utmost importance to Mr. Zachry. Thousands of students have attended Texas colleges because of Mr. Zachry's contributions for scholarships and academic support. Many of these students never knew who provided their support, and that was the way he wanted it. He specifically ordered college officials to never disclose the total amount of his contributions, but it is known to have been in the millions of dollars.
Mr. Zachry served on the Coordinating Board of Texas Colleges and Universities, the A&M Board of Regents, and the Alamo Heights ISD Board of Trustees. He also was chairman of the HemisFair '68 Board, which helped spur development of San Antonio's tourism industry.
H. B. Zachry died on Sept. 5, 1984. Because he did not seek the limelight, the full extent of his good works will probably never be known to the public.
Sources: San Antonio Light, San Antonio Express-News