Frans Gillebaard passed away July 26, 2013, in Bay Area Houston. He was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on Dec. 31, 1939.
He was preceded in death by his parents Maria and Auke Gillebaard, his sister Mimi Endstra and his brother Gus Gillebaard.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years Diane Jacqueline Steele Gillebaard, his brothers Hank Gillebaard and Bob Gillebaard, numerous nieces and nephews in the United States and The Netherlands, and his loving dog Lily.
After living under Nazi domination during World War II, Gillebaard emigrated to the United States with his family in 1952 and became a U.S. citizen in 1957. He was always proud of his Dutch heritage. Until 1980, he was involved in his family's international trade business, Holland Southwest, Inc.
In 1980, he started the development and operation of restaurants on the Kemah, TX, waterfront. His first Kemah venture was the Flying Dutchman Restaurant and Oyster Bar, followed by the Brass Parrot Restaurant and Kemah Cantina. His real estate and investment businesses were Amstel Holdings Inc., Fradigil Inc. and Kemah Commissary Inc. He retired in 1997 after selling his Kemah restaurant properties to Landry's.
He was an early and long-time supporter of Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership and served on its Executive Committee. He worked with the partnership to encourage all types of business in the Clear Lake area. He traveled to Washington, DC, for many years in support of manned space exploration, especially Johnson Space Center. In 2000, he was awarded the NASA Public Service Medal and in 2001 the Partnership's Chairman's Award.
He served on the Executive Committee of the Development Board of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Previously he served on the Board of Visitors of Texas A&M University at Galveston and D&A Council of University of Houston Clear Lake. Previous community participation include boards and advisory councils of Maxim Bank, Galveston County Economic Development Alliance, North Galveston County Chamber of Commerce, Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Bridgeport Communities In Schools-Bay Area Program, the Bay Area Turning Point shelter for abused women and children. He and his wife Diane were named to the shelter's Men and Women of Heart Hall of Fame. He was a member of Lakewood Yacht Club.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be sent to the Frans and Diane Gillebaard Scholarship at UTMB Development Office, 301 University Blvd., Galveston, Texas 77555-0148.
A Remembrance gathering will be held at 4 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at Lakewood Yacht Club, 2425 Nasa Parkway, Seabrook, TX 77586.