Bybee, Charles L. (1900–1972)

By: Diana J. Kleiner

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: January 29, 2016

Charles L. Bybee, banker and philanthropist, was born in Willis, Texas, on July 7, 1900, the son of Charles T. and Ianthe (Lewis) Bybee. The family moved in 1913 to Houston, where Bybee attended Heights High School and Rice University; he subsequently attended the University of Texas and specialized in engineering and business administration. As a young man Bybee worked as a researcher and clerk for his uncle, Judge John M. Lewis. He graduated from the American Institute of Banking and began work as a runner for Houston Bank and Trust in the summer of 1917. In 1921 he took a full-time position as a teller, from which he rose through every major post in the firm to become vice president in 1947. He was made president in 1958 and became board chairman in 1964. He was chairman of the Houston Clearing House Association and first chairman of the board of the Westmont National Bank, founded in 1964. Bybee served as vice president and treasurer of the Houston Symphony Society. He was a founder and president in 1953 of the Houston Heart Association, director of the Texas and American Heart associations, treasurer of National Jewish Hospital in Denver, and a trustee of Methodist Hospital of Houston. In addition, he worked with the United Fund, the Community Chest, Houston Baptist College, and the First Methodist Church. With his wife, Faith (Poorman), whom he married in 1924, Bybee restored Texas homes and buildings at Round Top, Warrenton, Washington-on-the-Brazos, and Frelsburg. He also owned land in Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston, Washington, and Fayette counties. The couple campaigned to preserve Houston's Old Market Square and was active in the Institute of International Education. Bybee and his wife had no children, but raised Faith's nephew, Joseph Newton Westerlage, Jr. Bybee retired in 1971 and died at his summer home at Round Top on April 7, 1972.

Joseph L. Clark, Texas Gulf Coast: Its History and Development (4 vols., New York: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1955). Houston Metropolitan Research Center Files, Houston Public Library. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Time Periods:
  • Great Depression
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana J. Kleiner, “Bybee, Charles L.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994
January 29, 2016

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