Museum of the Big Bend to honor Korbells at annual Heritage Dinner

The Museum of the Big Bend will honor Bonnie and John Korbell at its annual Heritage Dinner on Saturday, April 20.

MOBB is located on the campus of Sul Ross State University in Alpine. The Heritage Award honors those whose contributions help to tell the story of the Big Bend for generations to come.

“The Museum of the Big Bend is so important as it’s the only showcase for the history, culture and art of West Texas,” said Bonnie in a news release.

The couple’s philanthropy to MOBB is abundant. In addition to being lifetime members, they donated to the capital campaign for the new Emmett and Miriam McCoy Building, which opened last June. They also purchased a 101 Ranch brand glass panel in support of the National Endowment for the Humanities Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant for work in the museum’s historic building.

“I am excited about the recent expansion of the museum and how it dramatically improved the museum’s outreach and mission,” said John.

In 2018, they hosted the 32nd Annual Trappings of Texas Ranch Roundup party at the 101 between Alpine and Marfa and have always encouraged their friends and family to visit and support the museum.

The Korbells have been in ranching most of their adult lives. They have owned and operated the LaMota Ranch in Zavala County since the mid-70s. The South Texas ranch was initially operated in a partnership with Bill Donnell and his son, Billito, of Alpine.

Bonnie’s parents, Jack and Ruth McLean Bowman, purchased the 101 Ranch in 1958. It was later divided between Bonnie and her sisters, Ruth Russell, Beth Harper and Margaret McMahon.

“Our ranches are the center of our lives as a family, and we aspire to be responsible stewards of the land and its wildlife,” said John. The family also supports the Borderlands Research Institute at SRSU.

The Korbells are also deeply involved in the San Antonio community.

Bonnie has served many charitable organizations, including the Charity Ball, St. Luke’s Hospital, UT Health Science Center, Baylor School of Medicine and the McNay Art Museum. As an active member of the Capital Campaign for the Witte Museum, she was instrumental in gathering support for the new “Texas Wild” wing. She was recognized for her service by The Children’s Shelter and Girls, Inc. and was an honoree for the 2018 Cowgirls Live Forever Scholarship Program for her values involving Texas ranching, conservation and future generations.

John currently manages family interests in ranching, real estate, oil and gas and investments. He retired as a managing director at Morgan Stanley, having been frequently recognized as one of the Top 100 Financial Advisors in America by Barron’s magazine. Over the years, he served on and chaired many nonprofit boards in the San Antonio community, including Trinity University and the Southwest Research Foundation.

They have three children — Katherine Brown, Caroline Carrington and John (Jay) Korbell Jr., and five grandchildren.

For tickets to the Heritage Dinner, visit

For more information, email [email protected].