“I don’t remember meeting Glenn”, laughs Leta Andrew of her husband of 42 years. As Glenn Andrew tells it, “We’re two country kids.” Both heralding from McCamey, a small town in West Texas just five miles shy of “west of the Pecos”, their acquaintance began in the third grade.
At Glenn and Leta’s rehearsal dinner Glenn’s mother, also a current resident of Comanche Trace, shared a story neither one remembered. When Glenn was about 10, his mother called a family meeting. “I’m going back to work,” she announced.” The consensus of the family was she could go back to work full-time, only if she continued to cook homemade biscuits every morning. At school the next day Leta announced to the class that she made biscuits the previous night. When Glenn shared this news with his mother she said, “You better marry her because nobody else will cook you biscuits like your mother does.” Leta adds, “He listened to his mother.”
Not only did Glenn listen to his mother but he also watched his father answer the call to serve his community. Glenn’s dad was very active in McCamey. As Glenn shares, his father was the oldest Certified EMT in the state of Texas at one time. Having a great example to follow propelled Glenn to service in so many aspects of the community and for his industry. He is currently Vice-Chair of the board for Habitat for Humanity Kerr County. His goal over the past three years has been to provide a steady stream of income for the organization. He notes the Comanche Trace Golf Tournament is huge and adds that Comanche Trace related events have provided nearly $85,000 in donations this past year.
The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation is another organization Glenn has been involved with for over 15 years. They provide $2 million plus in scholarships to students attending Methodist affiliated colleges across the US. He also served on the External Advisory Committee of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department for 18 years for his and Leta’s alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin.
However, it wasn’t Leta’s plan to attend UT. One fateful call changed her direction. Out of the blue, in the early 1960’s, a representative of West Texas Utilities called Glenn’s father and offered a full scholarship if Glenn would study engineering at The University of Texas. Glenn’s father said, “He wants to be a pharmacist”.
“But I’ll pay for his education”, insisted the gentleman. Then the man added, “Do you know of anyone else that might want to go to UT?”
“Yes, Glenn’s girlfriend” says his dad. “She’d love to go to UT and she’s the graduating valedictorian.” Before it was over, Leta was going to UT as well, instead of Texas Tech as she had planned.
Glenn says, “It was an absolute blind blessing.” However, Leta’s dad was not as happy. Their first day on campus was August 1, 1966, the darkest day in The University of Texas history.
Glenn and Leta were to meet at noon at the South Mall on campus. Fortunately, both were released late from freshman orientation. Whitman (the UT Sniper) was already in the Tower, his shooting rampage underway. As Glenn recalls, there were citizens getting their deer rifles, helicopters shooting at him and an airplane full of police trying to take him out overhead. Leta remembers that students were hiding behind any permanent structure they could find. Glenn recalls the image of the sun glistening off the gun. “I snuck out the back, fortunately he never saw me.” They had no way of communicating and Glenn couldn’t find Leta. They finally reunited and knew they needed to call their parents. Hundreds were already in line to use the pay phones at the UT CO-OP. Leta told the operator she needed to make two calls. She reached Glenn’s parents and told them they were ok. But her mom and dad were at her sister’s in San Antonio and couldn’t be reached. Her parents learned of the incident by watching the news at noon.
By the time Glenn and Leta made it back to the dorm, a green 1963 Chevy was parked in a no parking zone with Leta’s 6’4” father sitting on the hood. “Pack your suitcase, we’re going home.” Glenn and Leta figured they would appease him by giving him a tour of the “site”; even showing him the bullet hole at Sheftall’s Jewelry store where the famous shot was captured on the cover of Life Magazine.
Leta stayed at UT and received her Bachelors degree in three years, majoring in math with a minor in computer science. At the time, UT didn’t offer a major in computer science. Leta was one of the first women to study the program. During her freshman year, Leta was a grader and then became a math tutor. Glenn beams of his wife, “No one tutored as a freshman.”
Her first job out of college was a keypunch operator for an accounting firm. She interviewed with three state agencies including UT and they would not hire her because she was a woman. “This was way before equal opportunity,” she states. Leta later became a statistician for the Texas Education Agency.
Working in the engineering lab his freshman year at UT, Glenn took a liking to working with engineers, math and science. It took only one semester to leave behind his dream of becoming a pharmacist. Glenn received his Bachelor degree and Masters in electrical engineering. They stayed in Austin until 1975 while Glenn was working with Texas Instruments then Radian a small research firm where he learned how to read the opacity of smoke. Then a call from a friend led them to Dallas and Glenn to Collins Radio, which was just being purchased by Rockwell International. Leta interjects, “He gave up smoke signals for telephones.” At a recent get together on their street in Comanche Trace, Glenn and a neighbor began a discussion and found out both are Certified Smoke Readers. Glenn spent 24 years with Rockwell.
As busy as they were enjoying their now chosen professions and volunteer work, Glenn and Leta raised two children, Clay and Ambra. Glenn continued to answer the call to give back to his community in Allen, Texas. During the 24 years they lived there, the population grew from 1500 to 40,000. Glenn was right in the middle of that growth. He served on the City Council, the Planning and Zoning Board and the Allen School Board. He often told his children, “Don’t get in trouble because I’ll hear about it before you get home.” That’s an easy claim when you’ve hired most of the police force. Clay is now a minister in Hillsboro, Oregon and married to Jen. Kerrville residents Ambra and Brett Starr are expecting their first child next month.
Glenn and Leta love to travel. For the past 22 years they have enjoyed “Getting down the hill,” as Leta says, in Steamboat, Colorado. They picked up the sport at the age of 40. They also enjoy hiking in national parks. They’ve spent the night in 33 states. Glenn says driving through doesn’t count. They actually have to sleep there. They’ve made trips abroad and lived for short stints in England and Australia.
Their interests are commingled, even photography. Glenn purchased a camera when Clay was born and started tinkering with it then. But really got more involved closer to retirement when he needed something to do. As they began traveling, it fell into place and was second nature to take photos. Leta contributes by pointing out great subjects.
Ambra moved to Kerrville in 1999 giving Glenn and Leta the opportunity to revisit the area. When in college, their parents were good friends and would travel from McCamey to meet Glenn and Leta at the Kerrville State Park. “We had always known Kerrville since we were in college.” says Glenn. As they watched Comanche Trace develop, they played golf and soon became more interested in the community. Even one of Glenn’s secretaries at Rockwell sent him an email, “Check out Comanche Trace.”
At this point in their lives, Glenn and Leta were living in Florida and Glenn had retired for the second time. They were planning a move back to somewhere in Texas. The car was packed for their investigative journey of where to go in Texas and Glenn said; “I’m going to take a nap before we start driving.” He went to lie down and the phone rang. Glenn answered the call from the senior pastor of their church in Florida asking if he would handle the business operations for the church. Glenn responded, “Well we’re moving back to Texas.” Glenn told him he would take the job after three months. During that time they explored more of Comanche Trace. On their second visit, they made a reservation for the not yet constructed golf villas. “We put the money down and I went to work for the church back in Florida.” They planned to stay in Florida one more year and it turned into four.
Finally Leta said, “The furniture and I are going back to Texas, would you like to join us?” Glenn told the church in Florida, “I’m putting the house on the market, when it sells, I’m gone.” They returned to Comanche Trace and moved into the villa they had purchased. But after visiting one of the properties on that year’s Tour of Homes, Glenn announced he was buying that house. They spent one month in the villa, had buyers lined up to purchase, sold it and moved to their current abode.
At many turns in their lives they have received life-changing calls. Whether for profit, service or awaiting news of the birth of their grandchild, when it comes to giving back to the community, Glenn and Leta Andrew answer the call.