Charline McCombs, a San Antonio philanthropist and former Spurs owner, has died. She was 91 years old.
“It’s a tremendous loss for our community and our state,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who made the announcement Thursday afternoon. “This was a spectacular woman.”
Charlie met her husband, businessman B.J. “Red” McCombs, at Southwestern University in Georgetown and the two married in 1950. Over the years, the couple donated more than $1 million to Southwestern and higher education across the state, according to their alma mater.
Red McCombs is the founder of the Red McCombs Automotive Group and co-founder of Clear Channel Communications, now iHeartMedia. In 1973, he and Charline joined with other local businessmen and moved the Spurs from Dallas to San Antonio. They purchased the team a year later, owning it for nearly two decades.
“The thing that was special about her was that she had grace, she had class, to the nth degree,” Popovich said. “That’s not an exaggeration, it’s an understatement. … She knew that one of the joys of her life was to make sure that those who had less were given opportunities.”
Since its founding in 1981, the McCombs Foundation and the McCombs family have contributed more than $125 million to civic causes in San Antonio and across Texas. Local beneficiaries include the YMCA of San Antonio, the San Antonio Food Bank, Haven for Hope, Girls Inc., Saint Mary’s Hall, the University of Incarnate Word, and many more.
In 1998, the historic Empire Theater on North St. Mary’s Street was renamed the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in honor of the $1 million gift that the McCombses gave to the Las Casas Foundation to complete restoration of the theater.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg expressed condolences on social media Thursday evening. “Charline McCombs’ legacy will be defined by her immeasurable generosity and kindness,” he said. “Any San Antonio resident will attest to the fact that she helped shape our city’s culture of compassion and philanthropy. … Charline will be sorely missed.”
Charline is survived by her husband, three daughters, eight grandchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren.