The Philanthropy of George & Gladys Abell

Our Story

The Foundation

In furtherance of the mandate in its charter to support any benevolent, charitable, or educational undertaking the Foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations, which are involved in such undertakings for the public welfare, including, but not limited to, education, health and human services, arts and cultural activities that benefit our community.

The Abell-Hanger Foundation has deep roots in Midland and the West Texas region. Midland was the site of Mr. Abell’s professional life and, together with Mrs. Abell, his personal life. Mr. Abell’s business success was primarily achieved as an oil and gas operator in the rural areas of West Texas. As a result of his involvement in this geographic region, he developed a deep sense of obligation to the people and rural communities of West Texas. The trustees have a strong commitment to continue the Abell’s philanthropic interests in Midland and West Texas.

The trustees have affirmed that commitment to West Texas by targeting a preponderance of the foundation’s annual grant budget to Midland and fifty-six counties in West Texas: Andrews, Bailey, Borden, Brewster, Crane, Cochran, Coke, Cottle, Crockett, Crosby, Culberson, Dawson, Dickens, Ector, El Paso (United Way only), Fisher, Floyd, Gaines, Garza, Glasscock, Hale, Hockley, Howard, Hudspeth, Irion, Jeff Davis, Kent, Kimble, Lamb, Loving, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Menard, Midland, Mitchell, Motley, Nolan, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Schleicher, Scurry, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Taylor, Terrell, Terry, Tom Green, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, Winkler and Yoakum. Here is our image representation of the West Texas counties.

Gladys Hanger Abell

Gladys Hanger Abell

Gladys Hanger Abell was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, the daughter of a pioneer Tarrant County family. She graduated from Paschal High School and attended Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Austin.

Throughout her lifetime, Mrs. Abell was an active champion of civic and cultural causes, contributing her time, talents, energy, and financial resources as one of West Texas' most philanthropic citizens. She served on the board of governors of Midland Memorial Hospital, board of trustees of Midland Presbyterian Homes, and the President's Club of the Museum of the Southwest. She took great pride in her service on the board of trustees of the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, Library, and Hall of Fame.

Her interests also included the Midland Odessa Symphony and Chorale, Midland Garden Club, Women's Auxiliary of Midland Memorial Hospital, Delta Delta Delta Midland Alumnae Chapter, and the Midland Women's Club of which she was a life member.

An avid American patriot, Mrs. Abell was a member of the Texas Chapter of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Midland.

Mrs. Abell died on Setember 24, 1988.

George Thomas Abell

George Thomas Abell

George Thomas Abell was born at Wakeeney, Kansas.  While attending Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University), he was a member of Gamma Omega, an honorary fraternity, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a social fraternity.  He graduated with degrees in civil and irrigation engineering and mechanical engineering. In 1927 he moved to Midland, Texas, where he trained himself as a geologist and entered the petroleum business as an independent oil operator.  In 1939, he married Gladys Hanger of Ft. Worth, the daughter of a pioneer Tarrant County family.

During his professional career, he was active in the Independent Petroleum Association of America, Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, and the Permian Basin Petroleum Association.  He was a charter member of the Permian Basin Petroleum Pioneers Association.

In addition to his professional endeavors, Mr. Abell was also active in many civic, community cultural, social, educational and historical activities. He was a member of the Board of Education of the Midland Independent School District.  He served as President of the Board during the construction of the present Midland High School auditorium.  As a result of these accomplishments, he was awarded a life membership in the Texas Congress of the Parent-Teacher Association.  He served as the Chairman of the first capital funds campaign for Midland Memorial Hospital and was a member of the hospital's Board of Trustees and Board of Governors.  A member of the Downtown Midland Rotary Club, he was recognized on numerous occasions for his contributions to the civic, cultural and educational betterment and growth of Midland.

George Abell devoted much time to the Boy Scouts of America, serving in various capacities in the Buffalo Trail Council.  He led the capital fund campaign which secured the 6,000 acre camp in the Davis mountains.  For his service to the Boy Scouts, he was awarded the highest recognition of the Boy Scouts, the Silver Beaver Award.

While serving as a director of the Midland Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Abell originated the idea for the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, Library and Hall of Fame.  He spent much of his time and effort collecting antique oil field equipment now displayed on the Museum's grounds.  Many of the oil paintings of historical events which are on display in the Museum were researched by George and commissioned by the Abell-Hanger Foundation.  He was the first president of the Museum's board of trustees and is a member of the Hall of Fame.

Mr. Abell died on August 13, 1979.