Robert McNair, owner of the Houston Texans professional football team and chairman of the Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation, died Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 at the age of 81.
McNair was survived by his wife Janice, sons, Cal and Cary, daughters, Ruth and Melissa, 15 grandchildren (10 granddaughters, five grandsons) and two great grandsons.
According to the Houston Texans’ website, he was responsible for bringing professional football back to Houston in 2002 when the league approved 29-0 a proposal to award a franchise to McNair and the city.
As part of his work with the Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation, he was responsible for helping thousands of Rutherford County School students “prepare for a postsecondary education in their desired career choice.”
“It is with very heavy hearts that we share that our founder, Robert McNair, passed away Friday, November 23, 2018. His love, generosity and commitment for Rutherford County was unsurpassed. He will be greatly missed,” the foundation said, on its website.
He also helped lead the McNair Scholars Program, which recruited physicians and research scientists in the fields of diabetes, cancer and neurosciences.
He also brought two Super Bowls — Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and Super Bowl LI in 2017 — to Houston during his time as owner of the Texans.
“We lost an incredible man today. Bob McNair had a positive impact on so many people’s lives,” said Texans’ President Jamey Rootes, according to the Texans’ website. He was a role model as a father, husband, philanthropist and businessman. He was the reason professional football returned to Houston and he stewarded our franchise with a laser focus on honesty, integrity and high character.”
Former President George H.W. Bush released a statement calling McNair “one of the kindest and most generous people anywhere.”
“Nobody cared — or helped people — more, and that’s just one of the reasons I will always be proud Bob was my good friend,” Bush said. “he was simply The Best. My most sincere condolences and family love go to Janice and her wonderful family.”
In business, McNair was best known as the founder of Cogen Technologies, which became the largest privately-owned cogeneration company in the world. Additionally, he owned Stonerside Stable, a 1,947-acre thoroughbred horse farm and racing stable in Kentucky.
McNair graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1958 and he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the university in 1999.