Gus Sessions Wortham

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Gus Sessions Wortham (February 18, 1891 – September 1, 1976), was a businessman and civic leader in Houston, Texas.


He was born on February 18, 1891 in Mexia, Texas to John Lee Wortham and Fannie Sessions.[1] He moved with his father, John Lee Wortham, to Houston, Texas, and opened John L. Wortham and Son, an insurance agency. Eleven years later he founded the American General Insurance Company with Jesse H. Jones, James A. Elkins, and John W. Link.[2] American General was acquired by American International Group on August 29, 2001.[1]

Wortham served two terms as president of the Houston Chamber of Commerce, and he and his wife, Lyndall Finley Wortham, created the Wortham Foundation which supports cultural activities and development of parks in the Houston area. Named in honor of the Worthams are the Wortham Center, which is home of the Houston Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera, Gus Wortham Park, Gus Wortham memorial fountain, Wortham IMAX Theater at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Wortham World of Primates at the Houston Zoo, Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre at the University of Houston, and Wortham Tower in the American General Center.[3]

Wortham's daughter Diana Wortham is a philanthropist who contributed to Pack Place in Asheville, North Carolina, where the Diana Wortham Theatre is named for her.[4]

He died on September 1, 1976.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Gus Sessions Wortham". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 2010-11-04. Gus Sessions Wortham, businessman and civic leader, son of John Lee and Fannie (Sessions) Wortham, was born in Mexia, Texas, February 18, 1891. He attended Tarleton State University and the University of Texas at Austin, and served in World War I as an aerial gunnery instructor and commander of the 800th Aerial Squadron of the United States army. 
  2. ^ "History of American General Life Companies". American International Group. Retrieved 2010-11-04. Our founder, Gus S. Wortham, had operated a successful insurance agency in Houston in 1915 and had a vision for such a company. With the backing of his father and several prominent business associates, he launched the American General Insurance Company on May 8, 1926, one of the first multi-line insurance companies in the nation. 
  3. ^ Wortham family and business records, 1864-1997.
  4. ^ Boyle, John (2016-06-20). "Answer Man: Who is Diana Wortham? Eagles of French Broad?". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved 2016-06-20. 
  5. ^ "Multi-millionaire Dies At Age 85". United Press International. September 2, 1976. Retrieved 2010-11-04. A native of Mexia, Wortham left home in 1911 to punch cattle in the Texas ... 

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