|Birth: ||Jun. 6, 1897|
|Death: ||Nov. 21, 1977|
La Salle County
father: Clarence West
About Ida' husband Ben:
Ben Alexander arrived in La Salle County in the year 1925. He came to raise Santa Gertrudis cattle, a deep red- colored breed that originally started on the legendary King Ranch. Mr. Ben as he was affectionately known, was a kind warm hearted and generous man. His life was rich with history and travel. He was born on March 9, 1893 in Round Rock, Texas. In his early years he worked with his father for Lykes Brothers, Inc. in La Porte, Texas. It was here that he had a passion for learning the cattle and ranching business. In 1913 Lykes Bros. sent him to Cuba to work on several large ranches that they operated in that country. After his marriage to Miss Ida Busch in Havana Cuba, young Ben was drafted into the army and he was stationed at Camp Travis in San Antonio. Upon his honorable discharge from service to his country, he once again returned to his job with Lykes Bros., where he started buying cattle and horses for the company to ship to Cuba. His association with Lykes enabled him to save his funds and realize a dream of buying ranch land in South Texas. Mr. Alexander eventually accumulated over 9,000 acres and with hard work and sacrifice he became one of South Texas most successful and prosperous ranchers. He was a charter member of the Santa Gertrudis International group and a charter member and director of the South Texas Santa Gertrudis Breeders Association. Mr. Ben and his wife Ida were very generous with numerous contributions to area churches and organizations. The Alexander's donated the land for the American Legion Post and the adjacent rodeo grounds. In addition they donated funds to build a new library in Cotulla. Ben Alexander passed away on May 22, 1984 at the age of 91. His legacy of giving continued as he left a trust fund, which enabled the community to enlarge and improve the La Salle County Fair grounds. In addition Mr. Ben left funds to establish The A.B. Alexander Convention Center and The La Salle County Youth Rodeo Association's new arena. He also left a substantial amount of funds to the Salvation Army and to heart and cancer research. Mr. Ben's life is a fine example of a great Texan, who lived a life of cattle and ranching and then gave the fruits of his labor to help his fellow man.
A.B. "Ben" Alexander was one of the last examples of a vanishing breed of Texans -- rancher, philanthropist and self-made millionaire.
"Mr. Ben," as he was known, died in 1984 at the age of 91. His legacy is embodied in a $3 million gift to the Health Science Center, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio and the Salvation Army.
The generous trust donations from the A.B. Alexander Estate were announced by Walter A. Bielstein, trustee of two Alexander trusts.
Bielstein said he was pleased to carry out the wishes of his friend in compliance with the trust instrument and distribute $1 million each to the three organizations. Alexander specified the Salvation Army as a recipient and directed that other funds go to institutions working in the fields of heart and cancer research.
"Mr. Alexander asked me to select appropriate institutions to receive the endowments for heart and cancer research. The quality of work being done right here in San Antonio is equal to that of any in the nation, and I felt Mr. Alexander would be very proud to have his generous donations support the outstanding physicians and researchers right here at home," Bielstein said.
The A.B. Alexander Chair in Oncology has been established by The University of Texas System Board of Regents from funds contributed to the Health Science Center.
"We are grateful to Mr. Alexander and to Mr. Bielstein for making this generous donation possible," said John P. Howe III, MD, president of the Health Science Center.
"This endowed chair will serve as a lasting memorial to Mr. Alexander and provide important funds for our oncology program," Dr. Howe said.
"Mr. Ben" was born in Round Rock, north of Austin, and spent his later years on his ranch in Cotulla.
As a young man, he learned the shipping, cattle and ranching business with Lykes Brothers Inc., while he was in La Porte, where his father also worked. In 1913, he traveled to Cuba for Lykes and worked on the company's ranches. In 1918, while in Havana, he married Ida O. Busch from La Porte.
The Alexanders returned to the United States when Alexander was drafted into the Army in 1918. Following service at Camp Travis in San Antonio and at Fort Sam Houston, he returned to Cuba for several years.
Shortly after returning to the United States in the 1920s, the Alexanders purchased land near Cotulla in LaSalle County. Until the mid- '40s, Alexander worked for the Federal Intermediate Credit Bank of Houston as a livestock loan inspector, while continuing ranching in LaSalle County. Alexander continued to acquire small parcels of land as finances permitted. At the time of his death, he owned and operated more than 9,000 acres.
Alexander was a charter member of the Santa Gertrudis International group and also a charter member and director of the South Texas Santa Gertrudis Breeders Association.
He was a supporter and life member of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition and a member of Texas and Southwestern Cattleraisers Association.
"Mr. Ben" and his wife were known for their many contributions to their community of Cotulla. They contributed funds to area churches, donated the land for the American Legion post and donated land and funds to build the Alexander Memorial Library. Alexander was a longtime director of Stockmens National Bank there.
Mrs. Alexander, an accomplished pianist and piano teacher, died in 1977. But the legacy of the Alexanders is alive in Texas and being carried out on the frontiers of science and medicine. http://www.uthscsa.edu/mission/fall94/thank.htm
"Mr. Ben was born on March 9, 1893, in Round Rock, Texas. He attended school in La Porte until the age of fourteen when he attended Peacock Military School in San Antonio until his graduation from high school. He returned home to La Porte where he met and began dating Miss Ida O. Busch.
In late 1912 or early 1913, Mr. Ben went to work for the same company his father worked for: Lykes Brothers, Inc. where he learned the shipping, cattle and ranching business. In 1913 he traveled to Cuba for Lykes and worked on the company's ranches. After only a few years he was running the Camaqueyn Ranch.
On June 4, 1918 Mr. Ben married Miss Ida in Havana, Cuba. The Alexanders returned to the United States when Mr. Ben was drafted into the Army on August 30, 1918. He was stationed at Camp Travis in San Antonio until he was honorably discharged in the summer of 1919, returning to Cuba for four more years.
Back in La Porte, Mr. Ben started buying cattle and horses for Lykes Bros. to ship to Cuba and other parts of the world. His dream to own his own land came true in 1925 when he bought land in La Salle County. He raised Santa Gertrudis cattle, a deep, red-colored breed that originally started on the historic King Ranch near Kingsville, Texas.
In 1940 the United States Department of Agriculture recognized the Santa Gertrudis as a purebred. Today there are thousands of Santa Gertrudis herds, each having to pass strict requirements in order to keep the breed pure. In Volume I of the Santa Gertrudis Herd Book are the first 283 herds recorded. Mr. Ben's herd was #78, making him one of the first ranchers to raise Santa Gertrudis cattle.
Mrs. Ida was a very accomplished pianist who taught piano lessons most of her life. She loved classical music and the opera, and the library has added some special music books to honor her memory and her love of music.
Mr. Ben became a member of the Methodist Church in 1959. He and Mrs. Ida were very generous in giving money to the churches in the community, and became known for their many other contributions in Cotulla. The Alexanders donated land for the American Legion Post and rodeo arena, and later, funds to build a new library in 1973.
Mrs. Ida Alexander passed away November 21, 1977, and Mr. Ben followed on May 22, 1984 at the age of 91. They left a legacy to our community in the form of a trust fund, and the Alexanders' tremendous support continued through the years under the guidance of a close friend, Walter Bielstein of San Antonio. The La Salle County Fair Association received land and money for improvements and the construction of buildings at the fair grounds. The City of Cotulla received funds to create the A.B. Alexander Convention Center, and the La Salle County Youth Rodeo Association received funds to help build one of the finest rodeo arenas in South Texas." http://www.cotulla.lib.tx.us/history/
Emma Kathryn Baker Busch (1864 - 1948)
Andrew Ben Alexander (1893 - 1984)
Cotulla West Cemetery
La Salle County
Created by: Jon Blake
Record added: Dec 01, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 81322418