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Friday, May 6, 2016

Buddy Venters

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Buddy R. Venters, age 75, passed away early March 27, 2006, at home with his family by his side. Venters was President Emeritus of Del Mar College and served as the institution's seventh president from 1987 until his retirement in 1995.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m., Thursday, March 30, at St. John's United Methodist Church, located at 5300 S. Alameda.

Over a 40-year span, Venters moved up the ranks from office assistant, assistant business manager, business manager, controller and vice president of finance and business affairs to vice president of the college, executive vice president of business and finance and president.

In 1995, Del Mar College honored then-President Venters with the rededication of the B. R. Venters Business Building upon his retirement from the College.

"In 1995, Del Mar College will celebrate 60 years of providing affordable quality education for the citizens of the Coastal Bend. I've had the pleasure of being affiliated with the College for 40 of those years," he said during the ceremony. "Several factors point to this being a good time for the institution and a good time for me personally to make this move," he commented about his retirement.

"My affiliation with Del Mar College has been the central force in my professional life," Venters added during the dedication ceremony. "I enjoyed playing a part in developing one of the most respected community colleges in the state."

The 1995 President of the College Board of Regents Ralph Diaz added his tribute. "President Venters has served Del Mar College with distinction for four decades," Diaz said. "It will be difficult to replace Mr. Venters' knowledge of the inner workings of this outstanding institution or his ability to represent Del Mar College with the Higher Education Coordinating Board or the Texas Legislature."

Venters once credited Del Mar College with providing him an education, a career and a wife. He met and married Cynda Glenn Parker while attending the College.

The Holcomb, Missouri native began his college-level studies at Del Mar College in 1954 after serving four years in the U.S. Air Force. Venters worked in the College's Business Office as an office assistant typing checks while attending DMC through the G. I. Bill. He continued that work while attending Texas A&I University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a masters degree, after completing his Associate in Arts degree from Del Mar College.

Venters graduated from Holcomb High School as the salutatorian in 1947. While attending Del Mar College between 1954 and 1956, he was selected for the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society for community colleges. Among his credits, Venters was honored as the first Outstanding Alumnus from the Epsilon Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.

An advocate for higher education with members of the Texas Legislature and other education agencies, Venters was active on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board advisory committee on funding for community colleges. He served several officer roles, including chairman of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers.

Locally, the community-minded Venters served in several officer positions for the Del Mar Kiwanis Club, including on the local Board of Directors and as Lieutenant Governor of the Texas/Oklahoma District. In 1978-79, he was honored as the Distinguished Lieutenant Governor for the Kiwanis organization.

In 1995, Venters received the National Conference of Christians and Jews Humanitarian Award as an individual who made significant contributions to the betterment of life, enhanced intergroup understanding and made the community a better place to live and work. His civic leadership included service to the Gulf Coast Council of the Boy Scouts of America, as a board member of the Communities in Schools program and on the advisory committee of the Buccaneer Commission.

He also served on the finance committee and as chairman of the administrative board of Asbury United Methodist Church in the early 1980s. Recently, he was active in St. John's United Methodist Church, where he served several leadership positions.

In 1990, Venters joined the Corpus Christi Mustangs organization "rustling friends for Corpus Christi.

"Once when the Mustangs traveled to Austin to cook barbecue for local legislators, Buddy was wearing blue jeans and a denim work shirt with red fringe while he chopped onions on the food preparation crew. We got word that then-Senator Carlos Truan wanted to introduce the president of Del Mar College on the floor of the Senate in five minutes," relates Claudia Jackson, assistant to the president for community relations.

"We took off running. I left Buddy at the door of the Senate and went upstairs to the gallery to watch the introductions. After several minutes, Senator Truan motioned to me that Buddy wasn't on the Senate floor. I raced back downstairs to learn guests weren't allowed in the Senate without a coat and tie," she reflects. "Upstairs I borrowed a sport jacket from then-Mayor Emeritus Luther Jones. During the introduction, Mr. Venters whispered to the Senator that if community colleges received the state funding they needed, the presidents could afford a business suit. Following the introductions, we returned the jacket only to have Mayor Jones joke that there had been a $20 bill in the pocket when it was borrowed."

Jackson notes, "Whether Mr. Venters was interacting with Texas legislators or Del Mar College staff, he always maintained a wonderful sense of humor and down-to-earth demeanor."

During his years in the DMC Business Office, Venters kept the staff small to conserve money. Staff recalled that one day he rushed into the office wearing one black shoe and one brown one. The next day, the secretaries in the building followed his lead on the new "dress code" for the College.

"Mr. Venters always wanted a set of weather warning flags for his desk. Then staff would know when they walked in when they could expect 'fair winds and calm seas' and when a tornado was brewing in the office," another staff member reminisced.

Upon his retirement in 1995, Venters speculated the role of Del Mar College would continue to evolve. "Del Mar College will have a good relationship with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi," he predicted, understanding that the missions of the two institutions complement each other.

His letter of resignation addressed to the DMC faculty and staff closed with this message. "I will always remember and cherish the relationships I have with the dedicated individuals who meet the educational needs of the community. I wish for each of you health, happiness and professional satisfaction as you continue in the Del Mar College tradition."

Venters is survived by his wife Cynda Glenn Parker Venters, son Brett R. Venters (Kellye), daughter Cindy Venters Kittles (Chris), brother Robin Venters (Linda) of Kennett; one sister, Mona Sutton Aldridge (James) and three grandchildren--Mandi Venters Baker (Dustin), Randy Venters and Caylee Kittles; nieces, Leandra Ashburn and family, Belinda Hill and family and Cindy Woodburnand family; nephews, Michael Sutton and family and Kelly Sutton and family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Genevieve Venters.

Tributes may be made to the B.R. Venters Endowment with the Del Mar College Foundation, Inc., 101 Baldwin Blvd., Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, TX 78404-3897 (phone: 698-1317) or St. John's United Methodist Church, 5300 S. Alameda, Corpus Christi, TX 78412 (phone: 991-4342).