Cynthia Woods Mitchell, the driving force behind many artistic and humanitarian causes in The Woodlands and Galveston, died at her home on December 27 at the age of 87. She was married for more than six decades to George P. Mitchell, founder of The Woodlands and Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., forerunner of The Woodlands Development Company.

“She was a force of nature,” said the Mitchell family in a prepared statement. “Our family will always remember the dynamic, colorful person that she was: intelligent, energetic, altruistic, totally original and hilariously funny. Her kindnesses are remembered by people she barely knew.”  The Mitchells have 10 children, 23 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Cynthia Woods Mitchell leaves her own legacy that includes providing the name for The Woodlands (in the photo, Mrs. Mitchell is cutting the ribbon at the Grand Opening of The Woodlands on October 19, 1974) and the creation of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands’ premier outdoor performing arts venue. “Without Cynthia’s vision for a performing arts center in The Woodlands and her love of the fine arts, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion would not have been a reality,” said Jerry MacDonald, president and CEO of The Pavilion. “She was passionate about providing a place for student artists to learn and have performance opportunities. The Pavilion will be a lasting legacy to her love of the fine arts.”

Mrs. Mitchell was a benefactor to the Houston Symphony, the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet, and co-chaired the Texas Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She supported the Houston Youth Symphony and Ballet, and the University of Houston’s Texas Music Festival, which features some of the best music students from across the country. A University of Houston graduate, Mrs. Mitchell helped found the school’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. She also had a love of restoration and served on the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Beginning in 1976, the Mitchells purchased and restored 17 nineteenth century buildings in Galveston’s historic downtown.

Services were held yesterday at Trinity Episcopal Church in Galveston, followed by a reception at the Tremont House.  A Houston Symphony concert celebrating the life of Cynthia Woods Mitchell is planned for April 29, 2010 at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.