Stephen J. “Tio” Kleberg is a cowboy by nature and a rancher by nurture. “When most kids are in elementary school, they aspire to be firemen or doctors or policemen, but I always wanted to be a cowboy,” Tio, who represents the fifth generation to have lived and worked on King Ranch, said.
Born in Austin, Texas, he grew up on King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas, working summers with ranch operations. He graduated from Texas Military Institute and received a B. S. in Animal Science at Texas Tech University.
From 1969 to 1971, he served as a Lieutenant in the U. S. Army receiving a Distinguished Service Medal. Upon his father’s death in 1979, Tio managed all of King Ranch south Texas agriculture enterprises and later served as Vice President of King Ranch Agri-business, managing all agricultural enterprises in Texas, Arizona, and Florida, as well as the international operations in Brazil, until 1998.
Tio serves on the King Ranch Board of Directors and is past president of the American Quarter Horse Association. He currently serves as Chairman of the Caesar Kleberg Foundation for Wildlife Conservation and Vice-Chairman for TAMUK Foundation. Tio and his wife, Janell, have three married children, Christopher, Adrian (Sabom) and Robert Justus and six grandchildren.