Grace Dobson was the unwavering force behind Whataburger and countless civic improvements in Corpus Christi. She is best known for her total dedication to her two families: the Dobson family and her ‘Whataburger family’ that has grown to over 15,000 people in ten states.
“Grace Dobson is the reason that 650 Whataburger restaurants stand today,” Whataburger COO Preston Atkinson said in a press release. “She set the moral and ethical standard for each and every one of us at Whataburger and we strive to live up to her example. Grace represents the very best of Whataburger and always will.”
Born in Batesville, Ark., Mrs. Dobson first came to Corpus Christi in 1955 where her first meal was at Whataburger #3 on a date during her courtship with Mr. Dobson. The two married on March 11, 1955 and raised three children, Tom, Hugh and Lynne, in the same home that Grace lived in for the rest of her life.
A woman of perseverance and fortitude, Mrs. Dobson is widely credited with preserving her husband’s legacy after Harmon’s untimely death in 1967. Refusing to sell the business her husband began, Mrs. Dobson took the company reins, staking everything she had to continue her husband’s legacy. By 1969, Grace led as chairwoman of the board. Tom, her oldest son, began running Whataburger in 1993 as President and CEO, with Hugh and Lynne continuing to work in a variety of public relations capacities. For Grace, her children’s involvement in the family owned company was her greatest source of pride.
“Grace’s selfless acts of service to Corpus Christi are evident on every street corner in our community- from the Texas State Aquarium to our local United Way,” said Corpus Christi Mayor Henry Garrett. “She was a dear friend and one of our city’s finest treasures and we are a better town because of her.”
In accordance with Mrs. Dobson’s wishes, all Whataburger restaurants will remain open. Funeral arrangements are pending.