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Emmett and Miriam McCoy

by SEAN BATURA

Legendary San Marcos businessman Emmett McCoy died at the Warm Springs Specialty Hospital in Luling early Saturday morning.

During his 88 years, McCoy was many things: an Eagle Scout, ROTC member, shipyard worker, World War II veteran, father of four, great grandfather of 18, philanthropist, and owner of a building supply business. At the time of McCoy’s retirement in 1997, the business founded by his father in 1927 as a roof contracting business had grown to more than 90 locations with sales exceeding $400 million.

“He was a classic Greatest Generation story,” said Brian McCoy, his son.

McCoy married Miriam Swanson 65 years ago and the two were together until his passing. In 1962, the couple bought property near Kyle along the Blanco River and spent weekends and vacations there for the next 10 years. The family relocated to San Marcos in 1972 and Emmett McCoy moved his company’s headquarters there the same year. Company spokesperson Sarah Lohn said McCoy moved the HQ primarily because it would be safer in an area less-affected by hurricanes.

Just before and after Hurricane Camille devastated Galveston in 1961, McCoy insisted that his prices remain stable while other companies engaged in price gouging, company officials say. McCoy’s sales topped the $1 million mark for the first time that year. He expanded the scope of his father’s building supply company, adding lumber sales in 1984.

“He basically said, ‘We’re not going to sell just roofing, we’re going to sell building supplies and hardware.’ He took his father’s one-location business and expanded to pretty much what McCoy’s is today. We’ve expanded since Emmett retired, but he was very much responsible in really deciding to expand the company,” Lohn said.

Three of the McCoy’s other sons — Brian, Mike and Dennis — joined the family business and helped it grow from 11 locations and $14 million in sales in 1975 to $100 million in sales by 1981 and $200 million by the late 1980s. A company plane accident claimed the life of Dennis McCoy in 1985.

McCoy’s Building Supply has 1,600 employees and 83 store locations spread across Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Mississippi, and two door manufacturing facilities located in New Braunfels and McAllen, Texas.

With the addition of Meagan Jones to the company in 2006 as field support director, later promoted to vice president, the business is into its fourth generation of family leadership. Jones is the daughter of Brian McCoy, who now serves as president and CEO.

Emmett and Miriam McCoy’s philanthropic efforts have included helping the City of San Marcos purchase the 250-acre Spring Lake Preserve, giving the largest-ever donation to Texas State University, and aiding in the construction of the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center and the San Marcos Animal Shelter.

“Emmett McCoy leaves a lasting legacy, and we are profoundly grateful for his life and service,” said San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero.

The McCoys’ $20 million donation to enhance Texas State’s business programs resulted in the university naming its business college after Emmett and Miriam McCoy in 2004. Emmett and Miriam McCoy Hall was dedicated in 2006 in their honor and the couple was awarded honorary degrees in 2007.

Texas State University President Denise Trauth praised McCoy for what she said was his integrity, honor and generosity.

“He led by example, and his leadership taught us lessons in dignity and humility,” Trauth said. “He was a dear and cherished friend of Texas State University, and it is a privilege to have known him. We will miss him very much.”

Read Emmett McCoy’s obituary here.

The McCoy Family will hold a private funeral service in the next week. A public memorial service will be held 1:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at the San Marcos Conference Center followed by a reception. The conference center is at 1001 East McCarty Lane. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials be made to the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center or the McCoy College of Business Foundation at Texas State University.

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One thought on “McCoy remembered as ‘a classic Greatest Generation story’

  1. A great man who will certainly be welcomed to Glory. Thank you McCoy family for all you do to help pets. PAWS humane society and Pet Prevent A Litter – PALS have also been recipients of your generosity. The dogs and cats of Hays County appreciate your ongoing efforts!

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