The Texas 100: Survey Results

Ross Perot (who else?) tops our annual survey of the wealthiest Texans.

September 1992By Comments

Henry Ross Perot
Dallas • Data Processing Systems • 62

$3.25 billion, UP $250 million from 1991. New information refines estimate.

Assets Subtract $10 million spend on his presidential bid—but he’ll earn it back in interest in less than a month. He made his first billion (give or take a few hundred million) by taking Electronic Data Systems, the company he founded, public in 1968; his second billion by selling out to General Motors for cash and stock in 1984; his third billion, following a nasty spat with GM, when he sold the stock back to the company. Now he invests in high-tech start-ups (Steve Job’s Next Computer) and real estate between Dallas and Fort Worth (the Alliance Airport project). Perot also spreads his billions among tax-free state and municipal bonds.

That’s Life Perot Systems, launched as and EDS competitor in 1988, recently clinched $1 billion in contracts: “Right now this is a good business, but you couldn’t ride it forever.” Abandoned independent presidential campaign in July. Personally returns phone calls. Thoughts on stories ranking the rich? “Just a shopping list for nuts.”

Perry Richardson Bass
Forth Worth • Investments • 77

Sid Richardson Bass
Forth Worth • Investments • 50

Edwards Perry Bass
Forth Worth • Investments • 46

Robert Muse Bass
Forth Worth • Investments • 44

Lee Marshall Bass
Forth Worth • Investments • 36

$6.6 billion, UP $300 million from 1991. Basses’ investments continue to rack up gains.

Assets A juggernaut of stock holdings, oil and gas, and real estate investments, started with the $8 million Perry’s wildcatter uncle, Sid Richardson, left Perry’s four sons in 1959. The $400 million the Basses invested in Disney in 1984 is now worth more than $3 billion. A favorite Bass project has been the rebuilding and revitalization of downtown Fort Worth.

That’s Life Perry shepherded the legacy until retiring in 1969, turning over a $50 million fortune to his sons: “I thought of business as trying to develop something to pass on to those boys.” Enter Richard Rainwater, a Stanford chum of Sid’s, who steered the Basses to billionairehood. Exit Rainwater in 1986; now brothers individually tend their own investments from family’s Fort Worth office tower. Sid describes self as “bright but not brilliant.” Ed bankrolled Biosphere II, a greenhouselike Planet Earth imitation plunked down in the Arizona desert. Robert sold New York’s Plaza hotel to Donald Trump. Lee holds family’s oil, ranching, and political reins; recently set Vale, Colorado, record by paying $6.25 million for mountain mansion. Perry travels, fishes, and hunts.

Robert Henry Dedman
Dallas • Private Clubs • 66

$860 million.

Assets Dedman’s ClubCorp International runs a leisure-time empire of more than 250 country clubs, worldwide resorts, and golf courses: “We’re like the General Motors of the club industry.”

That’s Life Started Dallas’ Brookhaven Country Club in 1957 while practicing law. Client H. L. Hunt said of him, “He’s the only person who, while playing tennis, will get your ears tired before your legs.” Built ClubCorp by purchasing mismanaged private clubs and drawing new members by adding facilities.

Harold Clark Simmons
Dallas • Financier • 61

$775 million, DOWN $85 million from 1991. The value of Valhi stock has plunged.

Assets Simmons controls Valhi, a holding company through which he owns stock in a variety of public companies; real estate rounds out his investments.

That’s Life Valhi stock—worth $1.7 billion in 1990—hasn’t recovered from Simmons’ failed 1991 Lockheed takeover attempt. Disgruntled stockholder in Maxxam, controlled by Charles Hurwitz; now suing company for financial mismanagement. Favorite movie is The Bad News Bears. Says worst habit is impulsive decisions.

Jerry J. Moore
Houston • Shopping Centers • 64

$750 million, DOWN $150 million from 1991. New information lowers estimate.

Assets With more than 20 million square feet of strip shopping centers around Texas, he has the pocket change to afford a world-class collection of more than six hundred vintage cars, including Jean Harlow’s 1931 Cadillac convertible.

That’s Life Works twelve-hour days operating the neglected centers he buys, then renovates. Takes off one week a year to attend car shows.

Charles Clarence Butt
San Antonio • H.E.B. Grocery • 54

$650 million

Assets Butt sits at the head of the table of family-owned H.E.B. Founded in Kerrville by his grandmother in 1905, the food giant is Texas’ largest grocery chain, with 240 stores dotting the state and more than $3 billion in sales. H.E.B. is aggressively expanding to battle new out-of-state rivals.

That’s Life Started as grocery carry-out boy at age eight. Wrested control of H.E.B. from elder brother in 1971; in 1976 broke with family’s Baptist tradition and began selling beer and wine. Sailing buff, thanks to Corpus Christi upbringing. A bachelor.

Robert Lee Moody
Galveston • Inheritance (Insurance) • 57

$600 million, UP $40 million from 1991. Moody’s life insurance company stocks are up.

Assets As the chairman of Moody National Bank, Robert presides over American National Insurance, the core of the Moody family fortune, founded in 1905 by his grandfather W. L. Moody, Jr. W. L. left most of his estate to a foundation; in 1979, Robert Moody gained control by buying the foundation’s 51 percent of Moody National Bank.

That’s Life A Red Sox fan since Boston boarding school education. Started own insurance company, National Western Life, in 1961 with income from family trust. “Bobby works twenty-four hours a day; he’s always thinking work,” says a friend. Built Galveston’s Transitional Learning Community for the brain-damaged after son suffered head injury in Jeep accident.

Roy Michael Huffington
Houston • Oil and Gas • 74

$600 million

Assets Cash from the 1990 sale of Huffco, an oil and gas exploration company Huffington founded in 1956, and bolstered with a huge Indonesian gas strike in 1972: “Selling was the toughest decision of my life; it’s worse than losing family members.”

That’s Life Became fascinated with geology in college: “Mother Earth turned from an immobile planet to one that was alive and breathing.” Now U.S. ambassador to Austria but still longs for oil field. Son Michael is a Republican running for Congress in California.

Margaret Hunt Hill
Dallas • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 76

Haroldson Lafayette “Hassie” Hunt III
Dallas • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 74

Caroline Rose Hunt
Dallas • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 69

$1.7 billion, DOWN $500 million from 1991. Troubled real estate investments combined with decreased oil and gas production lower estimate.

Assets Oil and gas inherited from their father, legendary oilman H. L. Hunt. Caroline plunged into the luxury hotel and real estate market, while Margaret largely stuck with managing Hassie’s and her oil and gas interests.

That’s Life Half of the prolific Hunt’s first brood; brothers Bunker and Herbert kissed fortune good-bye in eighties with attempt to corner silver market. Margaret built Garden of the Gods Club near Colorado Springs. Hassie, long plagued by mental problems, lives outside Dallas; spends time walking and following sports statistics. Caroline’s Rosewood Hotels manages lavish properties, also owns Dallas’ Mansion on Turtle Creek and Crescent Court. Plans to keep hand in hotel business “until I get kicked out, I guess.”

George Phydias Mitchell
Houston • Oil and Gas • 73

$520 million, DOWN $90 million from 1991. Shrinking exploration and production leads to office closings and pushes Mitchell Energy and Development stock down.

Assets Controlling interest in publicly help Mitchell Energy and Development, an independent gas producer and real estate developer in Houston and Galveston. Mitchell built North Houston’s 25,000 acre Woodlands.

That’s Life Following bookie’s tip, drilled in North Texas in 1952, hitting huge Boonsville gas field. Poured more than $60 million into renovating Galveston’s historic Strand district; attended this year’s annual Mardi Gras ball in Galveston with Columbus’ ships painted on his head.

Elizabeth Hall Reid
Denton • Hallmark Cards • 70

$450 million.

Assets Roughly two thirds (shared with out-of-state brother and sister) of Hallmark Cards, the $2.7 billion in sales greeting card giant founded by father, Joyce C. Hall, in 1910.

That’s Life Family lived simply on farm outside Kansas City, Kansas, despite wealth; Reid now lives on farm outside Denton. Saved needlepoint shop from bankruptcy; works there often. “That’s the sweetest lady going.” says a friend.

Anne Windfohr Marion
Fort Worth • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 53

$430 million

Assets Oil, cattle, and some 450,000 acres corralled by her great-grandfather Chisolm trail cowboy Burk Burnett. Marion took over the operations when her mother, Anne Tandy, died in 1980.

That’s Life Respected for business acumen and bird-hunting prowess. “It’s in her genes,” says a friend, referring to Burnett’s shooting of two men in self-defense. Fourth husband is Sotheby’s chairman, John Marion; keeps Manhattan apartment; neighbor is oil heir Gordon Getty.

Robert Drayton McLane, Jr.
Temple • Wal-Mart, Grocery Distribution • 56

$430 million, UP $60 million from 1991. Wal-Mart stock is climbing.

Assets Wal-Mart stock acquired in merger with family-owned grocery distribution firm, McLane Company, in 1990. McLane just shelled out some $115 million to buy Houston Astros: “I’m a wholesale grocer who’s trying to learn baseball.”

That’s Life Grandfather founded McLane Company in 1894. Drayton jettisoned plans to teach after attending wholesalers convention during senior year at Baylor University. With McClane at the helm, company reached more than $5 billion in sales.

Albert Billy Alkek
Houston • Oil and Gas • 82

$400 million, UP $50 million from 1991. Estimate includes additional assets.

Assets A blue-chip stock-and-bond portfolio (courtesy of healthy oil and gas interests) and numerous Texas ranches.

That’s Life Generous philanthropist; contributions have led to at least twelve eponymous buildings: “What can you do with money: Can’t wear but one suit.” Believes “doing good” brings good luck—and it has. Do-gooder Alkek built a school for Bandera County in exchange for South Texas ranchland; fifteen years later, he found oil on the land.

Fred Trammell Crow
Dallas • Real Estate • 78

$400 million, DOWN $100 million from 1991. The real estate market is struggling.

Assets A portfolio of office, residential, industrial, and retail space; the Trammell Crow Company’s owned and managed projects exceed 240 million square feet worldwide.

That’s Life Changed Dallas’ retail face with the Market Center. The Apparel Mart is now threatened by rent dispute that could cause tenant exodus. Over-building nationwide forced Crow to concentrate on property management instead of development. Says worst habit is procrastinating.

Billy Harris Hayden
Austin • CompuAdd • 45

$400 million, DOWN $60 million from 1991. Sluggish personal computer sales and new competitors take their toll.

Assets CompuAdd, a personal computer manufacturer recently reorganized by Hayden into three separate companies to speed up market response: “It was more fun when it was small.”

That’s Life Bought PCs from Michael Dell’s dorm-room computer store while Dell bought peripherals from Hayden’s Chevette trunk: “We became competitors, and that was the last time we talked. It was about 1984.” Workaholic; runs to relieve stress; teaches Sunday school.

Richard Edward Rainwater
Fort Worth • Financier • 48

$390 million, UP $50 million from 1991. Rainwater’s golden touch continues.

Assets Profits from years of successful dealmaking, including stock coups in Disney and Texaco; also oil and real estate.

That’s Life Scored biggest investment home run this year since leaving as the Basses’ adviser in 1986: Hospital Corporation of America. After leveraged buyout of HCA in 1989, it went public, turning his $16 million stake into about $200 million in stock: “The net experience is fun, and the tendency is to want to do more.”

Ruth Ray Hunt
Dallas • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 75

Ray Lee Hunt
Dallas • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 49

Ruth June Hunt
Dallas • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 47

$1.9 billion

Assets The legacy H. L. Hunt left his second family included the bulk of Hunt Oil and Hunt Realty. Out-of-state siblings Swanee Hunt and Helen Hendrix also share in this fortune.

That’s Life Ruth, already the mother of four of H. L.’s children, married him in 1957, two years after his first wife’s death. Backer of First Baptist pastor W. A. Criswell’s college in Dallas. Ray took over Hunt Oil at 31; hit Yemen “elephant” (oil-field slang for a huge field) in 1984; now refocusing on domestic drilling: “It has become a lot harder overseas.” June lives modestly; once hosted radio ministry show.

Fayez Shalaby Sarofim
Houston • Money Management • 63

$360 million, UP $20 million from 1991. Sarofim’s managed assets increase.

Assets Fayez Sarofim and Company, the “shop” Sarofim started in 1958 with a $100,000 loan from his father; the stock picker extraordinaire now manages some $27 billion assets.

That’s Life Egyptian-born; hit Houston in 1951 with Harvard MBA: “I was amazed by the wealth being created here and how unimaginatively it was managed by local banks.” Predicts a 6,000 to 10,000 Dow-Jones industrial average by the year 2000.

Robert Brittingham, Sr.
Dallas • Ceramic Tile • 78

$350 million.

Assets In 1990, sold Dal-Tile Group, a ceramic-tile maker he co-founded with brother Jack in the forties, for $650 million. He manages his investments through Dallas-based Dal-Briar.

That’s Life Brother Jack, a.k.a. Juan, made Mexico home to run Dal-Tile’s manufacturing operations. Robert could make jail home after being indicted this year on federal charges that he instructed Dal-Tile employees to dump hazardous waste illegally. Conviction on all seventeen felony counts could bring 85 years in prison and a $4.25 million fine. Brittingham denies charges; he’s “shocked” says his attorney. In 1991, Texas Water Commission fined Dal-Tile for polluting two southeast Dallas landfills with hazardous waste.

Edwin Lochridge Cox, Sr.
Dallas • Oil and Gas • 70

$300 million

Assets Cox Oil and Gas, an independent oil firm formed by Ed’s father, who left Arkansas to follow the oil booms from Oklahoma to Texas.

That’s Life Took over Cox Oil and Gas after World War II Navy stint; big strikes in Alabama and Texas made it one of nation’s largest independents. “Big Daddy was always at hand for advice, which I needed all the time.” Southern Methodist University’s business school is named for Ed. Crazy about black Labrador, Rocket: “He is my love.”

John Lee Cox
Midland • Oil and Gas • 67

$300 million.

Assets Oil and gas finds around the nation from more than forty years as an independent; Cox was dubbed the Spraberry King after strikes in West Texas’ vast Spraberry Trend.

That’s Life Bemoans oil slump but has no plans for foreign drilling: “I’m sixty-seven years old. Why beat your brains out on something like that?” Relaxes on 70,000-acre ranch but is “too chicken-hearted” to partake in branding and horn cutting. On Rice University board. Plays golf with Tex Moncrief in Palm Springs, California. Jerry Jones fan; says, “I go to Cowboys games when they’re winning.”

Margaret Cullen Marshall
Barksdale • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 71

Wilhelmina Cullen Robertson
Houston • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 69

$600 million.

Assets Quintana Petroleum, which controls oil and gas interests inherited from their father, wildcatter king Hugh Roy Cullen whose strategy was digging deeper in dry fields and prospecting the bends of creeks and rivers.

That’s Life Cullen regaled young daughters with oil-field tales; they saw his first well come in. Margaret raises Arabian horses on South Texas farm; collects ancient Middle Eastern artifacts. Wilhelmina heads the Cullen foundation; has given tens of millions of dollars to the University of Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

William Alvin “Tex” Moncrief, Jr.
Fort Worth • Oil and Gas • 72

$300 million.

Assets Moncrief Oil, with oil and gas interests in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Wyoming (see “The Son Also Rises”).

Robert Randall Onstead
Houston • Randall’s Food Markets • 61

$300 million, NEW.

Assets Onstead and two partners paid $85,000 in 1966 to buy a pair of tiny Minimax stores, they then resurrected as Randall’s. Today, despite being Houston’s market leader with 1991 sales of more than $1 billion, Randall’s Food Markets is still hungry (and battling new competitors); Randall’s is acquiring Dallas-based Cullum Companies, the parent of Tom Thumb and Simon David grocery stores.

That’s Life Ennis-born and raised; father was mail carrier. At nine, washed dishes in uncle’s cafe; spent money on a cow, then a horse. Military service interrupted North Texas State College education. Quit IBM supply manager job in Denton to join in-laws’ Houston grocery business: “They were more interested in the grandbabies than me.” Third Randall’s opened in 1968, setting tone for today’s upscale stores by offering lobster and fresh East Coast fish. Now caters to customers: valet parking, gourmet foods, and special service, though Onstead (whose family owns about 64 percent of Randall’s) refuses to sell beer or wine because of religious and personal convictions. Attends Houston pro sports; enjoys snow-skiing and ranch projects. “I like my ranch to look like my stores: clean, neat, pretty, and efficient too.”

Dennis Martin O’Connor
Refugio • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 85

Mary O’Connor Braman
Victoria • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 82

Tom O’Connor Jr.
Victoria • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 77

$875 million, UP $25 million from 1991. Victoria Bankshares stock is climbing.

Assets A South Texas ranching empire begun in 1836 by Irish immigrant Thomas O’Connor, the siblings’ great-grandfather, and bolstered by immense oil and gas reserves struck in 1934.

That’s Life All were raised on ranch. Brothers still oversee ranches, oil-drilling operations, and family-owned Victoria Bankshares. “Ranching is their way of life. Everything else is secondary,” says a friend.

Clarence Scharbauer, Jr.
Midland • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 67

$280 million

Assets A cattle and oil empire spanning five West Texas counties, inherited from grandfather and great-uncle who came to Texas in 1880’s.

That’s Life Dropped out of Texas A&M after father’s death in 1942 to run Scharbauer Cattle Company. Lifelong quarter horse fan; first Thoroughbred bought was Alysheba, a Kentucky Derby and all-time leading money winner. Trying to enter Texas horse racing industry with state in Lone Star Jockey Club, a group seeking license for Class 1 North Texas racetrack; also plans to move Oklahoma stallion operation to multimillion-dollar Valor Farm, now under construction near Pilot Point. Describes self as “a little bit country.”

James Richard Leininger
San Antonio • Kinetic Concepts • 48

$270 million, UP $90 million from 1991. Kinetic Concepts stock is soaring.

Assets Almost 68 percent of publicly held Kinetic Concepts, a manufacturer and distributor of specialized hospital beds and rental life-support equipment.

That’s Life As an emergency room doctor, was impressed by a new rotating bed that prevented injury complications; became a distributor, then formed Kinetic Concepts in 1975 to market the bed, quitting medicine in 1987: “It took eight years of struggling to get the business started. It was just a very humbling time.”

John J. Moores
Sugar Land • BMC Software • 47

$270 million, DOWN $140 million from 1991. Charitable donations and stock sales slim down Moore’s fortune.

Assets About 16 percent of publicly held BMC Software, founded by Moores in 1980 to market the specialized software he had designed to make IBM mainframe computers run more efficiently.

That’s Life Gave $51.4 million to alma mater, U of H, in 1991. Retired as BMC chairman in January; self-described “lousy salesman and manager—my double couldn’t get a job here today.” Collects homes (two in California, one in Colorado) and cars; plans to acquire one Corvette for every year dating back to 1954.

James Howard Marshall II
Houston • Oil and Gas • 87

$525 million, UP $75 million from 1991. Koch Industries’ growth increases the value of Marshall’s holdings.

Assets Some 16 percent of Kansas-based oil giant Koch Industries with $19 billion in sales. The fortune is shared with out-of-state son, E. Pierce Marshall.

That’s Life Oil career includes stints on government petroleum boards and executive positions at numerous oil majors. Baseball fan from youth; when asked about buying Astros, said, “These things are for wealthy people who can afford to play with them.”

Jack Eugene Brown
Midland • Oil and Gas • 67

Cyril Wagner
Midland • Oil and Gas • 58

$500 million

Assets Huge oil and gas finds in West Texas catapulted the duo into one of the world’s largest independent oil and gas producers. In the eighties the pair took on Wall Street, making takeover runs at Gulf, Phillips Petroleum, and Unocal; their LBO forays reaped stock profits of some $100 million.

That’s Life Both worked at Midland drilling firm; formed partnership in 1962 on a handshake. “Brown is the guy who knows a good deal when he sees it. Wagner knows how to sell it,” says an associate.

Louisa Stude Sarofim
Houston • Divorce • 50’s

$250 million

Assets Sarofim’s wealth is courtesy of Fayez Sarofim whom she divorced in 1989 after 26 years of marriage. Her estimated $250 million divorce settlement is Texas’ largest.

That’s Life Privileged childhood instilled love for arts and community service. After Smith College graduation, worked in Haiti as volunteer paramedical assistant and interpreter. Relaxes monthly at Santa Fe home: “It’s a nice place to get recomposed and balanced.”

Gerald Douglas Hines
Houston • Real Estate • 67

$240 million.

Assets Hines Interests, a real estate development company specializing in eye-catching skyscrapers designed by famous architects. His more than 420 projects include Houston’s Galleria and Transco Tower.

That’s Life Escaped real estate bust by “heeding my own warnings about the perils of overbuilding and excessive debt.” Now manages government-owned Moscow apartment project; units will have dishwashers, fax machines, laundry rooms—but are for Westerners only. Outdoorsman; went mountain climbing during four-hour layover at Wyoming airport.

Donald Joseph Carter
Coppell • Inheritance (Home Interiors and Gifts), Dallas Mavericks • 59

$230 million, UP $10 million from 1991. The value of the Dallas Mavericks rises.

Assets Home Interiors and Gifts, a marketer of home knickknacks founded by Carter’s mother, Mary Crowley, in 1957; real estate; and the Dallas Mavericks.

That’s Life At 24, joined HIG after Air Force stint. “Mary could inspire, and he’s a terrific businessman,” says a friend. Bought Mavs in 1980 for $12 million, having never attended a professional basketball game; complains publicly about Mavs’ disappointing record but could sell franchise for at least $70 million.

Reese McIntosh Rowling
Corpus Christi • Oil and Gas • 64

Robert Brian Rowling
Corpus Christi • Oil and Gas • 38

$455 million, UP $20 million from 1991. Texaco stock dividends keep rolling in.

Assets The $476.5 million sale of their gas reserves to Texaco in 1989 gave the father and son a valuable chunk of Texaco preferred stock. Cash from the sale has bought hotels in Corpus Christi, Houston, and Austin and has been pumped back into oil and gas exploration. The pair also own a pipeline company.

That’s Life During oil bust took advantage of cheaper drilling costs and decreased lease competition to find reserves later sold to Texaco. Trying to revitalize Corpus tourist industry by buying hotels and downtown real estate. Both detest limelight. “Unfortunately our society has made money the standard of success,” laments Robert.

Kenneth Stanley “Bud” Adams, Jr.
Houston • Houston Oilers, Oil and Gas • 69

$220 million, UP $20 million from 1991. The value of the Houston Oilers rises.

Assets California rice and melon farms, ranches, oil and gas, and car dealerships line up around Houston Oilers.

That’s Life Works from basement-level office complete with fountain and pond and an entire wall painted with big moments of Adams’ life. Once, when favored Oilers were losing a game, a disgusted Adams left early: “I thought we’d beat the crowds, plus the limo had a TV.”

Michael Saul Dell
Austin • Dell Computer Corporation • 27

$220 million, Down $45 million from 1991. Dell computer stock suffers from tumbling PC prices and increased competition.

Assets About 31 percent of Dell computer Corporation, an international PC manufacturer (see “Revenge of the Nerd”).

Arthur Temple, Jr.
Diboll • Inheritance (Timber) • 72

$220 million

Assets The 1973 merger of family-owned lumber giant Temple Industries with Time Inc. gave the Temples a huge stake in the magazine empire. Temple has since sold off most of his Time stock, but he still dabbles in the forest-products and financial-services industries through Temple-Inland, spun off from Time in 1983.

That’s Life Fought Time merger with Warner, criticizing movie industry’s penchant for violence and sex; resigned Time board seat when deal was inevitable. Lives quietly in Diboll but keeps homes elsewhere: “I visit around.”

Henry Bartell Zachry, Jr.
San Antonio • Inheritance (H. B. Zachry) • 59

$210 million, DOWN $15 million from 1991. Hotel values are depressed.

Assets Since 1965, Bartell has presided over H. B. Zachry construction company, founded by his father, H. B. “Pat” Zachry, in 1924; other interests included San Antonio’s Hilton Palacio del Rio, Airport Hilton, and Tower Life Insurance; oil and gas; and South Texas ranches.

That’s Life Zachry Senior oversaw construction of DFW Airport runways; was powerful political backer. Bartell is political power too, though behind the scenes. Lives on two-thousand-acre ranch outside San Antonio.

Harvey Roberts “Bum” Bright
Dallas • Oil and Gas, Real Estate • 71

$200 million, DOWN $70 million from 1991. New information and dropping land values lower estimate.

Assets Forties’ oil-patch profits were poured into land, trucking, banking, and Dallas Cowboys. Eighties’ bank failures left scaled-back empire of cash from Cowboys’ sale, oil and gas, and real estate.

That’s Life Still haunted by banking-Resolution Trust Corporation named him lead defendant in $160 million savings and loan suit. Bright calls it a witch-hunt. Fears going broke: “I wake every morning wondering what I’m going to do to make money.” Lets 180 pound Great Dane sleep in bed.

William Seldon Davis
Fort Worth • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 56

$200 million

Assets Cashed in his third of family-run Kendavis Industries for $100 million in 1976 lawsuit against his two brothers. The now-defunct Kendavis, an oil-service empire of nearly eighty private companies, was founded in 1929 by father, Kenneth “Stinky” Davis, Sr.

That’s Life Low profile; asked A&M to remove him from alumni mailing list. Major backer of Fort Worth’s Omni Theater and Tarantula Railroad. Refuses to discuss anything personal: “I don’t want to be a curiosity.”

Dominique de Menil
Houston • Inheritance (Schlumberger Ltd.) • 84

$200 million

Assets A share of the family fortune stemming from Schlumberger Ltd., a worldwide oil-services company, whose success was based on an innovative oil-prospecting device (it measured the electrical resistance of various minerals) invented by her father.

That’s Life Paris-born and raised. Fled Nazis; settled in Houston in 1941, changing city’s art and cultural face: “here, adventure is more accepted than in France.” Built the Menil Collection museum to house her world-renowned 15,000-piece art collection. (See “Whose Art Is It, Anyway?”)

Harold Viterbo Goodman
Houston • Air Conditioning • 66

$200 million, NEW

Assets Founded Goodman Manufacturing in 1975 to make flexible ductwork and other parts for the air conditioning industry. In 1982 he bought the assets of a bankrupt Ohio company, including the Janitrol brand name of air conditioning and heat-pump equipment, and relocated to Houston.

That’s Life Houston native. Started selling window units in 1954, branching into distributorships, then contracting. By 1960, claimed to be largest residential and apartment contractor in the U.S. Today Goodman Manufacturing is one of the nations’s top five residential air conditioning manufacturers. “He’s the maverick in his industry, a real aggressive pricer,” says and associate. Houston factory is not air-conditioned; company claims size makes it impossible to cool.

Jerral Wayne Jones
Dallas • Dallas Cowboys • 49

$20 million, UP $20 million from 1991. Estimate includes additional assets.

Assets Oil and gas in Canada, California, and the Southwest; real estate; poultry processing; and the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Stadium package, bought in 1989 for some $140 million.

That’s Life Raised in Arkansas. Moved to Dallas after buying Cowboys. Recently gave self an F minus for his sloppy firing of Tom Landry, an event that incensed fans and brought death threats. Wife’s reaction to the criticism? “Just ignore it; they’ll probably be loving you in a couple of years.” With Cowboys winning again, she might be right. Hunts, fishes to relax.

George Kozmetsky
Austin • Teledyne • 74

$200 million, DOWN $10 million from 1991. Teledyne stock falls.

Assets Stock in a variety of public companies, including Teledyne, a billion-dollar high-tech defense contractor he co-founded in 1960 with $250,000.

That’s Life Led UT’s business school to prominence during sixteen-year deanship; once taught entrepreneurial course on summer Baltic Sea cruises. Now runs IC² Institute think tank. Subject of song by Austin disc jockey set to the Beverly Hillbillies theme, but deejay says, “I don’t think George has much of a sense of humor.”

Grace William Dobson
Corpus Christi • Whataburger • 66

$190 million

Assets Whataburger hamburger chain founded by now-deceased husband Harmon. Chain has broken new ground with larger Whataburger truck-stop cafes.

That’s Life Widowed in her twenties; rescued from the life of an Arkansas secretary by Harmon, who died in a plane crash in 1967. Fast-food experts run Whataburger; she tends flower garden.

Donald Adrian Adam
Bryan • Cable TV • 57

$180 million, UP $20 million from 1991. Adam’s banking empire expands.

Assets The Adam corporation, a $3 billion company that includes banks, thrifts, real estate development, and insurance.

That’s Life Stints as Army captain, then corporate employee-benefits consultant, led to founding of cable TV company in 1969: “If I was going to work eighteen hours a day, I wanted to see the results.” Eyes were opened by $250 million sale of his 28-system cable company in 1988.

Thomas Milton Benson
San Antonio • New Orleans Saints, Car Dealerships • 65

$180 million

Assets San Antonio and New Orleans car dealerships ranging from Geos to Mercedes, banks, a Hill Country ranch, and New Orleans Saints.

That’s Life Raised in French Quarter; 1985 Saints purchase saved team from out-of-state move, making Benson local hero. Says a friend: “You see him going down the street in New Orleans at ninety miles per hour and the police waving at him.”

Jamie Abercrombie Robinson
Houston • Inheritance (Cameron Iron Works) • 35

George Anderson Robinson
Houston • Inheritance (Cameron Iron Works) • 33

$360 million

Assets The brothers owned about 40 percent of Cameron Iron Works, courtesy of trusts set up in 1967 by their grandfather and company founder J. S. Abercrombie. In 1989 the Houston oil toolmaker was acquired by Cooper Industries.

That’s Life Sons of Josephine Abercrombie, Houston’s well-known horsebreeder and former boxing promoter. Boys also play hard; Jamie used to collect antique combat planes; George drives race cars. Brothers own Robinson Interests, a venture capital and investment firm.

Richard Wesley Snyder
Dallas • Air Conditioning • 54

$180 million

Assets SnyderGeneral—a worldwide commercial, institutional, and industrial heating and air conditioning manufacturer—formed in 1982, when Snyder bought the air conditioning division he was managing for the Singer Company.

That’s Life Childhood home was not air-conditioned until Snyder’s allergies forced parents to install window unit in his bedroom: “It can be unbearable in Indiana. My parents sometimes came in and slept on the twin beds, and my brother and I ended up on air mattresses on the floor.” Surprised competitors this summer by halting sales of large commercial AC units containing environmentally damaging chlorofluorocarbons three years before the U.S. Clean Air Act deadline: “We urge our competitors to clean up their ow house, without waiting for the White House.”

Mayer Billy “Duke” Rudman
Dallas • Oil and Gas • 82

$175 million

Assets Cash from selling his oil and gas properties in 1981 to Petro-Lewis for at least $130 million and from a new supply of reserves discovered in the eighties.

That’s Life Drilled 29 dry holes before first strike in 1932; now evaluates some 1,100 prospects a year but invests only in the few that look best: “I do it for the thrill of it.” Anti-smoking crusader; health and exercise fanatic. Plans to live to 120; mother died in 1989 at 101.

Christopher Bancroft
Denton • Inheritance (Dow Jones and Company) • 41

$165 million, UP $15 million from 1991. Dow Jones stock rises.

Assets Dow Jones and Company stock inheritance from great-grandfather Clarence Barron, the creator of Barron’s, who bought Dow Jones and Company (a minority owner of Texas Monthly) 1902.

That’s Life Low profile; asks friends not to discuss his wealth: “I was taught that people who flaunt their money are really insecure.” Dabbles in real estate and restaurants; remarried last year.

Marjorie Simmons Gray
Houston • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • Mid-70’s

Gay Alspaugh Roane
Houston • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • Mid-40’s

$320 million

Assets In 1983, Marjorie and daughter Gay cashed in stake in Koch Industries left them by Marjorie’s father, Oklahoma oilman L. B. Simmons.

That’s Life Marjorie does yoga; keeps home in Garden of the Gods section of Colorado Springs. Tired of numerous shopping stops to buy kids’ clothes, Gay started her own chain; now into banking, hotels, and restaurants. Fiercely guard privacy; live within blocks of one another.

Charles Edwin Hurwitz
Houston • Financier • 52

$160 million, DOWN $90 million from 1991. The value of Maxxam shares plunges.

Assets Federated Development, which controls Maxxam, Inc., a public company that operates the forest-products, aluminum, and real estate businesses, Hurwitz acquired during the eighties’ LBO frenzy.

That’s Life Angered environmentalists by doubling harvest of old-growth California redwoods after buying Pacific Lumber in 1985. Company is being sued by Maxxam investor Harold Simmons for financial mismanagement. After months of kicking bankrupt Continental Airlines’ tires, now leads investor group to purchase controlling interest for $350 million.

Billy Joe “Red” McCombs
San Antonio • San Antonio Spurs, Car Dealerships • 64

$160 million

Assets An automotive empire of some thirty car dealerships, begun in 1953; ranchland; various real estate interests; and the San Antonio Spurs.

That’s Life Big force in getting San Antonio’s Alamodome built but was shut out last spring when National Football League owners nixed his attempt to bring expansion team to San Antonio. Hopes to take equity out of Spurs by selling majority interest, but only if “someone wants to leave us in management operations.” (See “Business • Red McCombs” [September 1999], and “Texas Monthly Talks: Red McCombs”.) [October 2005]

Pauline Gill Sullivan
Dallas • Divorce • 70’s

$160 million

Assets Sullivan’s 1975 divorce from former governor Bill Clements gave her half of his interest in Sedco, an oil-drilling firm he co-founded during their 35-year marriage. Her estimated $15 million settlement grew to more than $100 million when Schlumberger bought Sedco in 1984.

That’s Life Met Clements while Phi Beta Phi English major at UT. Remarried but keeps low profile. “She’s shy and quiet,” says an associate. Bankrolls a Dallas Museum of Art acquisitions fund.

Lamar Hunt
Dallas • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 60

$155 million, UP $20 million form 1991. Kansas City Chiefs’ value increases.

Assets Another son of H. L. Hunt, Lamar prefers the playing field to the oil field, hitting gushers with Chiefs, 11 percent of Chicago Bulls, and two Kansas City amusement parks.

That’s Life Member of Hunt’s first family; mostly sidestepped brothers’ silver disaster. Sports enthusiast from childhood; at 27, rejected father’s business advice and helped found American Football League. Flies coach class to games. “Lamar is parsimonious but not cheap,” says an associate.

Mary Kay Ash
Dallas • Mary Kay Cosmetics • 74

Richard Raymond Rogers
Dallas • Mary Kay Cosmetics • 49

$300 million.

Assets Mary Kay Cosmetics, launched by Ash in 1963 with $5,000 and now the world’s largest direct seller of skin-care products.

That’s Life Mary Kay changed color scheme of America’s roads by awarding $60 million in pink cars to top salespeople. Paints for fun; favorite subject is a little girl: “I can’t do the front, so I have the girls going backwards.” Richard is company chairman; cohosts Mark Kay Cosmetics’ annual awards show with mother. (See “Salesman of the Century” [December 1999].)

Henry Constable Beck, Jr.
Dallas • Inheritance (HCB Contractors) • 74

$150 million.

Assets HCB, a construction company passed down from Beck’s father, who founded it in Houston in 1912.

That’s Life HCB built Cotton Bowl and State Fair of Texas buildings; hard times have pushed it into no-profile projects like golf parks, but company still builds office buildings. Beck entertains associates with goose hunts on Maryland estate.

Gordon Arbuthnot Cain
Houston • Chemicals • 80

$150 million

Assets Rewards reaped from LBOs of chemical companies in the late eighties, including $100 million netted on Cain Chemical sale to Occidental Petroleum in 1987.

That’s Life Bounced between entrepreneurial attempts and corporrate chemical world for thirty years before first LBO at age 68: “Any personnel man would say I was not stable.” Recently bought two struggling airlines, hoping to repeat chemical company successes.

Oveta Culp Hobby
Houston • Broadcasting • 87

William Pettus Hobby, Jr.
Houston • Broadcasting • 60

$450 million, DOWN $75 million from 1991. Media property values are tumbling.

Assets The Hobby’s H&C Communications is one of the nation’s oldest media empires, with five major-market TV stations and one radio station. The family sold the Houston Post, H&C’s flagship, in 1983 for $130 million. Oveta’s out-of-state daughter, Jessica Hobby Catto, shares in the fortune.

That’s Life At 26, Oveta wed 53-year-old William Hobby, Sr., then the Post’s president; she became chairman in 1965, soon after Will’s death. President Bush recently refused a retroactive promotion to brigadier general to honor Oveta’s World War II efforts as first director of Women’s Army Corps. Bill, Oveta’s son, worked as Post police reporter; covered story on man who blew self up in schoolyard: “He wasn’t there, except in tiny pieces.” Stepped down as lieutenant governor in 1991 after eighteen-year stint. H&C Communications has announced an agreement in principle to sell its TV stations to Young Broadcasting of New York. (See “Public Service • Bill Hobby” [September 1997].)

Belton Kleberg “B” Johnson
San Antonio • Inheritance (King Ranch) • 62

$150 million, DOWN $50 million from 1991. Depreciating hotel values and new information lower estimate.

Assets San Antonio’s Fairmount and Hyatt hotels, the 65,000-acre Chaparrosa ranch, and other investments.

That’s Life Great-grandson of King Ranch founder Richard King. Left fold in 1976 after being denied ranch boss position, cashing in his 12 percent of King Ranch for $70 million. Only son’s death last summer left no one to run the immense Chaparrosa operations (two daughters are not interested). Contract now pending on Chaparrosa; Johnson plans to buy smaller ranch after sale: “It would be kind of silly not to have something other than your back yard.”

Dolph Briscoe, Jr.
Uvalde • Inheritance (Ranching) • 69

$140 million.

Assets Ranching and cattle operations on more than 400,000 acres of South Texas ranchland, including some 190,000 acres inherited from father in 1954, together with banking and oil interests.

That’s Life Survived many ranching boom-and-bust cycles; recalls rancher father losing all his cattle and land in the thirties: “They were hard times. We ate beans and cornbread.” Spent high school summers working cattle on father’s ranch in Mexico. Refused to leave Mexico to begin freshman year at UT; father “came and got me, had already registered me, and dumped me at the dormitory with the instructions that I was going to stay.” Governor of Texas from 1973 to 1979. Vacations annually in Hawaii.

James Aubrey Cardwell
El Paso • Truck Stops • 60

$140 million, NEW.

Assets In 1954 gas station attendant Cardwell jump-started his career using a $2,500 loan from his employer to buy him out; by mid-sixties, he owned three truck stops; in 1975 he founded Petro Stopping Centers, today a nationwide chain of truck stops.

That’s Life Born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Raised by schoolteacher mother; worked on grandparents’ farm. Two-year stint at Poplar Bluff business school; lured to El Paso by Army officer’s candidate school. Pioneered huge self-service truck stops with more amenities than many fine hotels: table phones, showers, movie theaters, and a menu complete with soap opera saga. “They are the Hilton, the Cadillac, the benchmark of the industry.” says an analyst. Snow-skiing fan, only after son’s urging: “I said, ‘I don’t want to pay money to get cold.’ ”

Floyd Alvin Cailloux
Kerrville • Industrial Manufacturing • 79

$130 million, DOWN $10 million from 1991. Keystone International stock is slumping.

Assets The patience to hold Keystone stock, which has split some fourteen times since Cailloux acquired it in 1968 on merging his SEMCO, a maker of conveying systems, with Keystone International, an industrial machinery conglomerate.

That’s Life Retired as Keystone chairman in 1978. Member of Shriners’ Royal Order of Jesters. “He’s a millionaire you’d think didn’t have a dime,” says a colleague.

William Stamps Farish III
Houston • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 53

$130 million.

Assets A piece of Humble pie-Humble Oil and Refining, that is, co-founded by his grandfather and sold to Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) in the fifties.

That’s Life Father died in Army Air Corps show when Farish was four. George Bush hunts quail with Farish on his 10,000-acre Beeville ranch; entertains Queen Elizabeth II on 3,000-acre Kentucky Thoroughbred horse farm. Didn’t graduate from college: “I wish I had, but it hasn’t made any difference.”

Nancy Blackburn Hamon
Dallas • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 72

$130 million.

Assets “I didn’t know anything about oil but a good salad dressing,” says Hamon of the oil and gas reserves inherited in 1985 from husband Jake, a six-decade independent oil and gas producer.

That’s Life Danced in Hollywood movies in the forties; in 1949 married Jake, seventeen years her senior. Took one hundred friends on Sea Goddess cruise. Jake gave Dallas Zoo first gorilla; Nancy now funds gorilla habitat and research: “Jake just like gorillas.”

Sybil Buckingham Harrington
Amarillo • Inheritance (Oil and Gas) • 70’s

$130 million.

Assets Interest in hundreds of oil and gas wells from Panhandle to Kansas’ Hugoton fields inherited from husband, Don Harrington, an independent who died in 1974.

That’s Life Home displays photo reproductions of Impressionist collection Harrington gave to the Phoenix Art Museum. The Amarillo-Panhandle Humane Society once created the Tutu Harrington Fund, named after her poodle. Annually bankrolls a New York Metropolitan Opera production.

Thomas O. Hicks
Dallas • Financier • 46

$130 million NEW.

Assets Hicks is the principal partner of Hicks, Muse, and Company, an investment firm specializing in LBOs. In the past two years, Hicks Muse acquired seven companies valued at more than $1.8 billion. The firm’s 1991 investment of $30 million for 80 percent of Morningstar Group, an ailing dairy, sweetened to a 56 percent stake worth some $85 million when the company went public this spring.

That’s Life Raised in Port Arthur; played tight end on high school football team. Undergrad finance and marketing degree from UT; MBA from University of Southern California. Worked for Morgan Guaranty Trust in New York before heading venture capital arm of First National Bank of Dallas. Co-founded Hicks and Haas (famous for 1986 Dr Pepper-7 Up buyout) with Robert B. Haas in 1983; the firm was one of the eighties’ leading LBO companies, completing transactions valued at more than $5 billion. Split with Haas in 1989: “I wanted to captain my own ship.” Skis Aspen, Colorado, annually with sons.

Jubal Richard Parten
Madisonville • Oil and Gas • 96

$130 million

Assets Oil and gas properties throughout the United States collected in more than three decades as an independent.

That’s Life In 1960, at 64, sold Woodley Petroleum, a drilling company founded in 1919 with his in-laws, and took the cash, leaping back into the oil patch: “I’m just a solid, hard-workin’ oilman.” Former chairman of UT Board of Regents; used to give Bevos to UT. Slowed by age? “No, he goes and looks at his oil wells and his cattle ranches,” says a friend. Appeared on 48 hours segment on a day in the life of a small Texas town.

Lonnie Alfred “Bo” Pilgrim
Pittsburg • Chicken • 64

$130 million, DOWN $10 million from 1991. Pilgrim’s Pride stock is slumping.

Assets Almost 80 percent of publicly held Pilgrim’s Pride, a $790 million chicken producer grown from a feedstore Bo co-founded in 1945 with brother Aubrey (now diseased).

That’s Life At eleven, was pushed into working as a farmhand when father died. Still works twelve-hour days; gives motivational speeches. Locals dubbed new multimillion-dollar mansion outside Pittsburg “Cluckingham Palace.” The 20,000-square-foot eighteenth-century French Renaissance-style house and gardens occupy 25 acres of a 52-acre site: “If I’m not working in the office, I’m working in the yard.”

Nelda Childers Stark
Orange • Inheritance (oil and timber) • 83

$130 million.

Assets A hefty portfolio, real estate, oil and gas, and Orange Savings and Loan have kept Stark busy since her husband, H. J. “Lutcher” Stark, died in 1965, splitting his timber and oil empire between her and a foundation.

That’s Life Worked as administrator at Orange’s Stark-endowed hospital; married Stark in 1944 after his second wife, Nelda’s sister Ruby, died. Put bodyguards on payroll years ago after experiencing botched kidnapping attempt; tends fortune from fortresslike building.

Oscar Sherman Wyatt, Jr.
Houston • Coastal Corporation • 68

$130 million.

Assets Stock in $9 billion Coastal Corporation, a gas-pipeline company founded by Wyatt with $800 in 1955, when he realized no pipeline system existed to collect or transport the excess gas burned off by oil producers.

That’s Life Raised poor in Beaumont; put self through A&M working on rice farms. Learned gas business after graduation. Divides time between South Texas and Colorado ranches and Riviera mansion, where jet-setting fourth wife, the former Lynn Sakowitz, hosts lavish parties for royalty and rock stars. Loves western movies and books. Ideal vacation is “no phone calls in the mountains.”

Lester Arnold Levy
Dallas • NCH Corporation • 69

Milton Philip Levy
Dallas • NCH Corporation • 67

Irvin Louis Levy
Dallas • NCH Corporation • 63

$380 million, DOWN $40 million from 1991. NCH Corporation stock is sinking.

Assets Family-owned NCH Corporation, an international firm that sells solvents, welding supplies, and plumbing parts.

That’s Life While schoolboys, brothers were thrust into running NCH when Milton Senior, NCH founder, died of heart attack in 1946. “We work as one,” says Irvin. Lester founded Dallas’ Winston School for learning-disabled children, Milton backs Dallas’ Special Care School for mentally impaired children, and Irvin chairs Dallas Museum of Art board. All play tennis.

Electra Waggoner Biggs
Vernon • Inheritance (ranching, oil and gas) • 79

Albert Buckman “Bucky” Wharton III
Vernon • Inheritance (ranching, oil and gas) • 44

$240 million, RETURNEES.

Assets A 535,000-acre ranching, farming, and oil kingdom inherited from Electra’s grandfather, W. T. “Pappy” Waggoner (see “Money Becomes Electra”.

Dan J. Harrison III
Houston • Inheritance (oil and gas) • 40’s

Bruce Finch Harrison
Houston • Inheritance (oil and gas) • 40’s

$240 million, NEW.

Assets The brothers’ grandfather Dan J. Harrison began his oil career in 1903, eventually founding an oil, gas, and ranching empire that stretched across the state. In 1990 the boys cashed in part of their inheritance by selling one of the family’s gems, the 43,000-acre oil-rich West Texas ranch located between Rocksprings and Sonora, to Meridian Oil for an estimated $70 million. The brothers oversee their oil and gas properties and ranches through Harrison Interests.

That’s Life Grandfather Dan played football for UT in early 1900’s; UT Regent from 1940 to 1944. Former county and district attorney in Liberty County. Joint operator with J. S. Abercrombie in Brazoria County’s Old Ocean Field; also held interests in the Batson oil field. Boys’ father, Dan Junior, died in the eighties. Dan III attended Trinity University but didn’t graduate. Bruce had a three-year stint at Southwestern. Both enjoy deer hunting. “They hang out with the Basses and those of that ilk,” says an associate.

Mary Ralph Lowe
Houston • Inheritance (oil and gas) • 45

$120 million, NEW.

Assets Mary Ralph’s father, Missouri-born Ralph Lowe, arrived in Wink at age 25 but quickly ditched his machinist job to chase wells. He found oil in the Deep Rock Ellenburger Field, the Permian Basin, and New Mexico. Mary Ralph now runs her inherited oil and gas interests through Maralo, Inc., and also oversees numerous ranches.

That’s Life Midland-born; Ralph’s only heir, was taught business from childhood, never played with dolls, looked at oil maps and studied geology with father until wee hours. Lessons didn’t start too soon; Ralph died when Mary Ralph was Texas Christian University student. Also inherited father’s flamboyant streak. He trucked white sand from Oklahoma to build Mary Ralph a beach around their Davis Mountain ranch swimming pool—Mary Ralph delivered 492 chickens to a food bank in her Jaguar.

Sam Wyly
Dallas • Investments • 57

$120 million, NEW.

Assets A scorecard is needed to follow Wyly’s dealmaking; he specializes in co-founding companies (at least six since 1963), merging them with others, then selling out. Through family partnerships he now holds large stock positions in Michaels stores and Sterling Software, founded by Wyly in 1981.

That’s Life Louisiana-raised; father was small-town newspaper publisher. Displays bronze bulldog in Dallas office as fond reminder of Louisiana Tech days. Sold computers for IBM and Honeywell. At 28, founded University Computing at SMU with one mainframe. Wyly got free rent, electricity, and cheap student labor; SMU got to use computer. Pursuit of other ventures nearly bankrupted company and led to his departure in 1979. In 1980, forced bidding war for Earth Resources, an oil and mining company he and brother Charles helped found; investors doubled money in five months. Sold family-owned Bonanza restaurants franchise to Metromedia for $78 million in 1989. Keeps Malibu, California, home.

Related Content