Leaving a Legacy: Celebrating the Life of James B. DeGeorge, Sr.

When Michele DeGeorge (née DiGiorgio) arrived in Houston from Italy in the 1880s, he could never have predicted the impact he and his descendants would have on his new home. Several generations later, the community he quite literally helped build is saying goodbye to Michele’s last surviving grandchild, James B. DeGeorge. Born in 1932 to parents Gasper M. DeGeorge, Sr. and Josephine Pinto DeGeorge, James attended school and even some college in Houston before attending the University of Texas at Austin. The call of duty interrupted his studies in 1951; James, a United States Marine Corps reservist, served at Camp Pendleton during the Korean War. He married several years later in 1955 and, two years after that, welcomed his first child into the world. James “Jimmy” Bernard DeGeorge Jr. was followed by Gregory “Greg” Allman DeGeorge in 1958 and Lance Clayton DeGeorge in 1970. “He was like a lot of dads,” said Greg. “He was very interested in my upbringing and how I did in sports.” James would often take the time to come to his sons’ games or, as a special treat, take them to a pro football game on the weekends. As they grew older, Greg said his father never pressured him or his brothers to pursue a career in real estate. “His attitude was ‘You can do whatever you want to do,’” Greg said. “I actually got more pressure from a couple of friends who told me I’d be crazy if I didn’t go into real estate because it’s in my blood.” To understand that, you need to look back into the history of the DeGeorge family. James’ grandfather, Michele DeGeorge, immigrated to the United States in 1882 with his wife Ursula and settled in Houston by 1884. There, he operated a grocery store and saloon, which he eventually expanded to three different locations. Michele invested the money he earned into real estate, eventually founding the DeGeorge Hotel in 1913 and the Auditorium Hotel (now the Lancaster Hotel) in 1926. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.