Henry E. Catto, Jr.

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Henry Edward Catto, Jr.

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Husband of Jessica Hobby Catto

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Henry E. Catto, Jr.


Henry Edward Catto, Jr. (December 6, 1930 – December 18, 2011) was an American businessman and public servant.

A native of San Antonio, Texas and son of a prominent insurance man, he was educated at T.M.I.—The Episcopal School of Texas, graduating in 1948, and at Williams College, graduating in 1952. In the early 1960s, Catto twice ran for the Texas Legislature, losing both times. In his 1960 attempt, he lost to notorious San Antonio gambler V. E. “Red” Berry.

Catto held several positions within the United States government. He was the Deputy Representative to the Organization of American States from 1969-1971, Ambassador to El Salvador from 1971 to 1973, the Chief of Protocol of the United States from 1974 to 1976, the Ambassador to the United Nations Office at Geneva from 1976 to 1977, and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs from 1981 to 1983. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush appointed him as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom and he exploited his Lone Star roots for all they were worth. When he presented his credentials to the Queen he greeted the sovereign with a cheery "How ya doin'?" After taking up his position he flew the Texas flag above Winfield House, his official residence and planted a wooden cut-out of a Hereford steer (in protest, he said, at the EU ban on American beef) on the lawn outside. He held the position until 1991, when he became the director of the United States Information Agency.

From 1955 to 2000, he was a partner in the insurance brokerage firm Catto & Catto in San Antonio. From 1983-1989, he was vice chairman and president of a broadcast group at H&C Communications, operator of network television stations (Houston, Des Moines, Tucson, Nashville, Orlando-Daytona Beach, San Antonio). In 1999, he was elected chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States, and in 2007, its Chairman Emeritus. He was a contributing editor of the American Journalism Review. At the time of his death, he was vice chairman of the Aspen Institute, where he and his wife, Jessica Hobby Catto, had established the Catto Fellowship for a Sustainable Future. He and his wife also supported the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.

Catto was a member of the Board of the National Public Radio Foundation, having served on the NPR Board from 1995–2001. He was also a member of the Smithsonian National Board, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Advisory Council of America Abroad Media. He was Diplomat-in-Residence at the University of Texas at San Antonio, held honorary LLD degrees from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and St. Mary's University in San Antonio, and was a member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in London. He authored Ambassadors at Sea: The High and Low Adventures of a Diplomat (University of Texas Press, 1998).

Ambassador Catto was married to the late Jessica Hobby, daughter of William P. Hobby and Oveta Culp Hobby. Jessica Hobby Catto was a noted conservationist and journalist who wrote a blog for the Huffington Post on conservation, the media, and political issues right up until her death in 2009. Together the Catto's had four children. Henry Catto died at his home in San Antonio, Texas on December 18, 2011.

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Henry E. Catto, Jr.'s Timeline

Age 81