Don Tardy

Don Tardy
Tyler, Texas

Don, an only child, was born in Roaring Springs, Texas, in 1946. His dad was 45 years old and his mother was 40 years old when he was born. What a surprise he was to his parents. Roaring Springs is a small town located 75 miles northeast of Lubbock, Texas. When Don was young, Christian revivals would be held at his family’s church every summer.  The revival meetings would be held every night for a week. At the end of each service the preacher would welcome attendees to come forward and accept Christ. Don had several friends who went forward the first night and accepted Christ into their life. The following night Don, about 12 years old, went forward and accepted Christ as his savior. This was the most important thing that happened in his life. Don vividly remembers walking to church with his Mom and Dad to attend the Wednesday night prayer meetings and both the Sunday morning and Sunday evening services while he was growing up in Roaring Springs.

There were nine people in Don’s high school graduating class. From high school, Don went to West Texas State University (WTSU) in Canyon, Texas, which is now called West Texas A&M. Back in the day, West Texas State was a Division-I powerhouse in football. Don played cornerback and lettered three years at WTSU. Don was the captain of the defensive team and called the defensive plays when he was a senior. He had multiple teammates at WTSU who ended up playing in the NFL; probably the most notable ones were Mercury Morris, who played on the undefeated Miami Dolphins team, and Duane Thomas, a Superbowl MVP for the Dallas Cowboys. Both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Falcons asked Don to try out, but Don declined their invitations. Don graduated from WTSU in 1968 with a degree in marketing.

After graduating, Don worked with Shell Oil Company in Dallas for five years as a marketing representative. Realizing he was not going to be president of Shell Oil Company, Don went back to Canyon, Texas, to get into the insurance and real estate business. After a few years in Canyon, Don moved to Hereford, Texas, and worked with another company in the real estate and insurance business. In 1980 Don started his own independent insurance agency and real estate brokerage business in Hereford. In 1996 Don sold his insurance agency to a public traded company. Don continued to work with the public company until 2000.

Don had dabbled in commercial real estate brokerage and investing while in Hereford, but he wanted to spend all his time doing commercial/investment real estate. Don determined that Hereford, Texas, was not the ideal place for that idea to thrive. While in Hereford, Don met the love of his life, Jan. Jan, who was raised in Hereford, asked Don not to make her die in Hereford. So, with motivation and support from Jan, they moved to Round Rock, Texas, in 2000. Don started investing more in real estate on his own and with partners and focused on his commercial real estate brokerage after the move to Round Rock.

One of Don’s most memorable deals was an Atlanta office building. He originally brokered the sale of the building to one of his clients and remained in the deal with a small percentage ownership. About a year after the original closing, Don brokered the sale of the building again using a very creative financing tool brought to the deal by the buyer. Because of the creative financing, the property sold for twice the original purchase price. Don remembers the day before the second closing—all involved in the deal were in the closing room in an Atlanta high-rise office building that was filled with multiple attorneys, representing the seller, buyer, title company, and lenders. The closing room had tables on two sides filled with racks holding all the loan and closing documents.

Don was introduced to the S.E.C. by Ted Blank. Don’s first S.E.C. meeting was in Las Vegas in December 2003. He was a made a Candidate in September 2011 and Counselor in March 2014. One of his first real estate deals with other S.E.C. members was an apartment complex that he purchased with partners. It worked out well for all involved.

In 2012, Don, Jan, and Jan’s two adult children, Colt Perrin and Bree Perrin, bought an RV and cabin resort in Tyler, Texas. This was to be a real estate play; however, it turned out to be a much larger challenge than originally thought. Originally, Don had a manager who lived at the park and managed it, but the job overwhelmed the manager because the park was in much worse condition than originally thought. Because of the challenges, including the physical condition of the property, the type of clientele, and the resulting financial challenges, the original manager did not last six months. Jan said they needed to move there and operate the park. In 2013 they converted the park to a Jellystone Park, where Yogi Bear and Boo Bear live. The park is in the Piney Woods of East Texas and is a destination park with 100 RV sites, 33 cabins, and many amenities, including a family pool, adult pool, Waterzone, pickle ball courts, basketball court, and many others. The resort employs around 35 people in the summer months. After the past eight years of rebuilding the park, Jan and Don are smiling again.

Don has two sons, Don Carl Jr., who is computer engineer and works for Microsoft from his home in Keller, Texas, and Christopher is the sales manager of a truck-trailer company in Amarillo, Texas. Don Carl Jr. and his wife have three children and live close enough for Don and Jan to visit regularly. It is a little harder to visit Chris, his wife, and their two children in Amarillo because of the distance between the two families. Don is investing in real estate with his two sons and wants both their portfolios to continue to grow.

Don was a member of Kiwanis International while in Hereford. He was also a Sunday School teacher when his sons were growing up. He used to be a private pilot and owned a plane with some partners, and he was also a Scuba diver. Today, Don enjoys golf (but he will not reveal his handicap). Don hosts an annual pheasant hunt with friends on his farms in the Hereford area and has done so since 1978. He did mention that Jan would not cook the pheasants, so Don’s pheasants go home with his guests.

Don said that he never plans to retire. He wants to continue investing, managing, and operating various kinds of real estate. More real estate deals and more travel time are his plans.

Don said that his life goals are to be a good husband, a good friend, a good father, and a good grandfather. I asked him if he felt he was successful in this endeavor, and he said, “Well, I guess it depends who you ask.”



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