Edward Glenn Biggs, 1932 – 2015

“What kind of banker are you?” a rancher asked Glenn Biggs when he arrived at First National Bank of San Antonio in 1970.

Biggs replied, “Well, a bank is like a heart that circulates money throughout the -”

“I’ll tell you what kind of banker you are,” interrupted the rancher. “You’re just like the one who renewed my loan for years, but when times got tough and I couldn’t pay, he called my note!”

“What did you do?” Biggs wondered.

“I begged and begged and he finally said, ‘I’ll make you a deal. You didn’t
know this, but I have a glass eye. If you tell me which one it is, I’ll extend your note.’

“When I picked the correct eye, he asked, ‘How did you know?’ I said, ‘Sir,
I perceived an ounce of compassion in that glass eye.’”

Each time Mr. Biggs told that story, it was better than the last. His jovial
yet commanding presence hung you on every word.

Edward Glenn Biggs died on May 26, in the year of his Lord two thousand fifteen. He was 82.

I first met Glenn when he interviewed me for a job at Texas Heritage Bank
where he served as chairman. We met at Denny’s. He obviously wasn’t concerned about impressing me.

But I left breakfast impressed by him and would be almost daily for the next six years. And not just by his contact list which included Fortune 500 CEOs, university presidents and U.S. senators, but also by the way he treated the cleaning crew and the receptionist.

“Once we boarded a flight from Dallas to San Antonio,” an associate recalled. “Glenn walked down the aisle high fiving dozens of people who knew and respected him. I slipped to the lavatory. When I returned, Glenn was embracing a flight attendant who was going through a tough time.

“That’s the kind of guy he was. You felt like his best friend because you
were. His heart was that big.”

Readers may remember Biggs as San Antonio’s CPS Energy board chair or as CEO of an effort to bring high speed rail to Texas in the early 90s. How nice would that be now when I-35 is a parking lot and airport security is a zoo.

“Glenn walked among leaders in the community,” a friend of forty years remembered. “They knew him and he knew them, but I but I don’t know anyone who didn’t like him. Usually standouts get crossways with some people, but that never happened with Glenn.”

Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher thwarted the high speed rail project, for example, but Biggs still called him friend.

That didn’t mean the six-four, 250-pound frame stood without principle. Once he came into the break room looking for a soda. As he closed the fridge I said, “Mr. Biggs, there was a Pepsi in there.”

He declined. The chairman of Pepsico had berated him and other Texas bankers in the mid-80s for causing the nation’s financial woes, Glenn explained.

“I haven’t had a Pepsi product since.”

As you might imagine, Mr. Biggs was quite quotable. “She’s stronger than
a Mexican plate lunch,” he might say about a determined woman.

Or this one, particularly poignant at the moment: “I hope you live forever,
and I’m the last one to say good-bye.”

Good-bye, Mr. Biggs. Your best friends miss you tremendously.

Kevin Thompson can be reached at kevin@kwt.info.


1 Response to “Edward Glenn Biggs, 1932 – 2015”

  1. 1 Susan Allen December 31, 2015 at 15:27

    Just wonderful

    Susan (Susie) Allen
    Texas Heritage Bank
    1208 S. Main
    Boerne, Texas 78006
    Direct Line 830-815-1054
    Bank 830-249-3955
    Fax 830-249-3988

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