An Epic Life
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An Epic Life
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As the book Willard Garvey: An Epic Life vividly shows, Willard Garvey lived at the center of 20th century history. Born in Dust Bowl country, as a teenager he rode the rails at the height of the Great Depression to work in Californias Grapes of Wrath orchards. He sailed on the Queen Mary to the European theater of World War II, where he was one of the first three American officers into Berlin following its fall, and attended the Potsdam Conference.
A visionary businessman who dreamed of Every man a homeowner, Garvey pioneered affordable home ownership in developing countries at a time when few if any knew or cared about the millions living in slums worldwide. Despite revolutions, coups, and Anti-American persecution, his World Homes provided thousands of families in countries from South America to Asia the opportunity of moving onto and up the economic ladder.
He hobnobbed with heads of state and captains of industry, counting 20th century titans J.B. Fuqua, Robert Galvin, and John Templeton as closest friends and confidantes. He started a short-lived fourth television network, and pushed for independent journalism in an era of tightly-controlled media. He even tried to start a new country.
Yet despite his far-flung operations, Garvey was never far from his hometown affairs. Organizing and hosting Saturday morning coffee-shop gatherings of ordinary concerned citizens, inveterate writer of Letters to the Editor, crusader against the overreach of government bureaucracy, Garvey ceaselessly fought for his fellow man to have the opportunities for success he had enjoyed and that he saw governments growing powers threatening.
It is perhaps his final biggest achievement that stands as Willard Garveys legacy. Beyond owner-operator of the worlds largest grain elevator, and largest private landowner in Nevada: builder of Kansass tallest buildingthe Epic Center. Its slanted copper roof pointed to the sky, it echoes the Kansas state motto that could well serve as his, too: Ad Astra per Aspera, To the stars, through difficulties.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Epic on the Plains
Chapter 2. Down on the Farm
Chapter 3. Training Ground
Chapter 4. Recipe for War
Chapter 5. Were in It. Lets Win It.
Chapter 6. A Lifetime Devotion
Chapter 7. Father and Son
Chapter 8. Our Fellow of Perpetual Motion
Chapter 9. Growing Up Garveys
Chapter 10. Wheat for Homes: Every Man a Capitalist
Chapter 11. The Doers and the Thinkers
Chapter 12. Dont Fence Me In
Chapter 13. Willards Wichita
Chapter 14. Final Challenges
About the Author
Willard Garvey is, yes, great fun to read! What a saga; Garvey defines the term larger than life. It is a wonderful story of a tireless pioneer and entrepreneur who carried the torch for free markets and freedom to innovate all around the worldovercoming obstacles which would have made any reasonable person turn tail and run like hell. In these confusing times, it is a tale that will both entertain and, better yet, inspire. Willard Garvey has renewed my spirits.
Tom Peters, bestselling author of Thriving on Chaos, Liberation Management, In Search of Excellence (with Robert Waterman, Jr.), The Circle of Innovation and other books
Willard Garvey was a long-time friend and supporter. As the wonderful book Willard Garvey shows, he was a man of action who could never sit still very long because he had so many projects that required his attention. As his friends and family will attest, men like Willard dont come along very often. I was honored to play a small part in his life.
Bob Dole, former Majority Leader, United States Senate
Willard Garvey liked to say that life is a project. His own life, however, was not simply a project, but an amazing series of diverse projects, each the realization of his penchant for viewing every problem, whether private or public, as a beckoning opportunity. Living his long life at a breakneck pace till almost the very end, he left a visible legacy that included changing the skyline of his beloved Wichita, building improved housing for people in slum-ridden cities around the world, and hugely expanding the business empire he inherited from his pioneering father. For Willard, government was an intrusive problem and private enterprise a reliable solution, and his initiative never slackened as he advanced an endless stream of ideas and devoted his wealth and energies to the realization of his dreams for improving human welfare. Readers will find Maura McEnaneys book Willard Garvey: An Epic Life to be a fascinating and well-rounded account of this remarkable mans life and accomplishments.
Robert Higgs, Senior Fellow in Political Economy, The Independent Institute; Founding Editor and Editor at Large, The Independent Review; author, Crisis and Leviathan and other books
Willard Garvey is an engaging and motivating story about a leader who made a real difference!
Steven S. Reinemund, Dean, Wake Forest University School of Business; Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo, Inc.
Willard Garvey is a business biography of the first order. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Maura McEnaney crafts an impeccably researched but fast-moving story driven by the dynamic life of a visionary entrepreneur. Quintessentially American, Willard Garvey was one of the truly great advocates of free enterprisein the USA and abroad.
Jonathan J. Bean, Professor of History, Southern Illinois University
Willard and Jean Garvey were a joy to be around, lots of laughs during the many Chief Executives Organization trips my wife Stevie and I traveled with them. As so well discussed in the fabulous book Willard Garvey, Willard was a clever, astute businessman who enjoyed the interaction with the various businesses and entities in which he was involved. His work ethic and integrity earned him a well-deserved reputation for fairness. He was a generous and caring man, and we were proud to be counted among his friends. Spending time with the Garveys was something we looked forward to at every opportunity. I feel especially complimented to have known them and I strongly encourage others to read this inspiring book.
Karl Eller, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Eller Companies; former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Circle K Corporation
As superbly presented in the book Willard Garvey, Willard was an innovator and a risk-taker, unafraid of failure or the lessons it could teach. As this compelling biography demonstrates, he was a man with the courage of his convictionsa trait our country so desperately needs at the present hour.
Charles G. Koch, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Koch Industries, Inc.
As is shown in the splendid book Willard Garvey, Willard Garvey was one of the most successful, and persuasive, entrepreneurs the Midwest has ever produced. Almost everything he touched was a winner, and he touched a lot of things. I considered Willard an advisor and confidant during my tenure as Secretary of Agriculture, and few people understood the big picture of U.S. agriculture as well as did he. Willard was a committed internationalist at a time when not many Americans understood that globalization was on its way, but he believed strongly that it was the private sector that should lead the way (on this and most everything else!), and not governments! Bureaucracy was something that Willard could barely tolerate. For him, bureaucrats (and their bosses, higher level government officials) were an impediment to economic growth and private sector successes. Governments, at all levels, moved much too slowly for him. He was one of the most incisive, decisive entrepreneurs this country has ever seen, and he simply could not wait for government to catch up. One chapter of this book relates to The Doers and the Thinkers. Willard was an excellent thinker, and few human beings could match him as a doer. The most amazing thing about him was that he knew a lot about most everything! One could count on a single hand the number of American agribusiness executives who were in his league, no matter how success might be defined. Indeed, he may have been the most energetic business executive I have ever known. And he had the smarts to accompany all that energy. Kansas has produced several agricultural icons over the past 100 years, and most of them (Bob Dole and Pat Roberts are excellent examples) are from government. Willard Garvey reached that same pinnacle via the private sector, as he understood the benefits of free and open trade long before most Americans even gave the matter any thought. He believed fervently in those benefits, and became a vigorous advocate for the major trade agreements of the 1980s and 1990s. I highly recommend to all Willard Garvey: An Epic Life.
Clayton K. Yeutter, former Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture; former President and Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Mercantile Exchange; former Counselor to President George H.W. Bush for Domestic Policy; former Chairman, Republican National Committee
Maura McEnaneys Willard Garvey: An Epic Life is an engaging biography of Wichita entrepreneur Willard Garvey. . . . The book is a celebration of Garvey and his dedication to the ideas of self-reliance, capitalism, and the free market. . . . McEnaney chronicles the life of Garvey from his youth in Depression-era Wichita through his World War II military service to his death in 2002. With his wife Jean at his side, Willard displayed a nearly inexhaustible energy and creativity, firing out ideas and plans often faster than those around him could handle. . . . Willard Garvey: An Epic Life is a useful, entertaining, and revealing window on a person and a family that has left its mark on Wichita, on Kansas, and on the nation. . . . This book fills an important niche in explaining how Wichita developed from the 1950s through the dawn of the twenty-first century.
Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains
Author Maura McEnaneys fascinating biography Willard Garvey illustrates how a larger-than-life American original manifested one of his favorite aphorisms, patriotism and government are two unrelated subjects. Born a veritable dust-devil from Kansas soil Garvey whirled through life with passion and purpose leaving a trail of high accomplishments and perplexed bureaucrats.
John W. Sommer, Knight Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina, Charlotte; former Dean, School of Social Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas
Willard Garvey is an inspiring biography of an iconic figure. Reading this wonderfully educational and insightful volume I recalled how Willard was a lot like Margaret Thatcher; neither one was for a moment idle, always hustling and bustling, and never stopping in their probing questions which challenged your every position. As with Margaret one always prepared hard for meetings with Willard and you knew instinctively where they stood. And just like Margaret he did not care at all what people, especially the media, thought about him as long as he knew in his heart (and mind) that what he was doing was right. Totally right. I just wonder what would have happened had Major Garvey met Oxford undergraduate Margaret Roberts (later Thatcher) when they were close neighbors in WWII. Oh, dear me, what a thought!
John Blundell, former Director General, Institute of Economic Affairs, London, England; author of Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady and Remembering Margaret Thatcher
Until my reading the fascinating book Willard Garvey and even with my having known Willard for some 60 years, I was not aware of the full range of the numerous areas in which he was involved. He truly lived An Epic Life but in addition, he was great company and fun to be with.
Nation Meyer, former Senior Chairman of the Board, First National Bank of Hutchinson
Until the book Willard Garvey, I did not know of Willards fabulous successes in real estate, related businesses and foreign investments. I only knew him as a friend and politically in which he was very formidable. He had influence with the administrations of Presidents Nixon and Ford, more than I had, and he used his influence effectively and quite frequently. I knew him as a man who got things done when I was not able to do so. Obviously I knew him very personally and pleasantly, and I recommend the book enthusiastically.
Howard H. Callaway, former U.S. Congressman; former President, Callaway Gardens Resort, Inc.
My friend Willard Garvey was a major unsung hero of the cause of liberty, the conservative movement and limited government. As accurately revealed in the fabulous book Willard Garvey, Willard was a leader who mostly operated under the publics radar quietly helping to change American public policy and laying the foundation for todays conservative movement and Tea Parties. All who love liberty and freedom under Gods laws are deeply in his debt.
Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com; Chairman, American Target Advertising, Inc.; Founder and Publisher, Conservative Digest
Willard Garvey is an incredibly insightful biography of a true visionary and champion of private enterprise who not only talked the talk but walked the walk.
Harold Dick, President, Summit Group; long-time Director, Garvey Industries and Petroleum Inc.
Reading an Willard Garvey: An Epic Life is spiritually rewarding. This biography of Willard Garvey captures the determination, joys, drama and even contradictions in the life of a great entrepreneur. The Kansas state motto ad astra per aspera (to the stars through difficulties) summarizes his life and legacy. The book takes you to many lands, from troubled Latin America and the Californian woods, to Asia and the islands of the South Pacific. The vivid and realistic descriptions of those territories and cultures, which I also had the luck to enjoy, suffer and traverse, makes Willard Garvey a book that can be enjoyed by readers across the globe. The best of America was built by similar spirits, it is the dream of that America which makes me and other immigrants, feel privileged to be here.
Alejandro A. Chafuen, President, Atlas Economic Research Foundation; Founder and President, Hispanic American Center of Economic Research
Willard Garvey: An Epic Life is a marvelous tribute to an outstanding American! Dillard found in Willard a good and loyal friend of many years beginning in their early Young Presidents Organization days, both sharing the same conservative beliefs and values. He especially enjoyed the relaxing gatherings of fellow CEOers at the Garvey Nevada ranch and Jean and Willards visits to us for quail hunting in South Georgia.
Danne J. Munford, widow of Dillard Munford, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Munford Do-It-Yourself Stores
The splendid biography Willard Garvey is of considerable interest. I had the pleasure of working with Willard and his firm Petroleum, Inc., in a very successful deal in the Denver Basin in the 1950s. The revenue from this project enabled me to go to law school and become a member of the Colorado Bar. Willard and the Garvey family have done so much for so many people through so long a period of time and I am one of the beneficiaries.
Tom Jordan, President, The Jordan Companies
Willard Garvey is a wonderful book about a man who was a gentleman and dear friend. I cannot recommend it more highly for others to understand why this insightful biography of Willard is so important and well-deserved.
Fran D. Jabara, Founder and Principal, Jabara Ventures Group, Inc.
In Willard Garvey, Maura McEnaney has truly portrayed Willard as a man of the world, always at the forefront, participating, engaging, and taking on whatever life had to offer, at all levels of business, government, sports, arts, charities, philanthropyrooted in and guided by Christian principles. I was honored to be a daily witness to his life for over 40 years.
J. Harvey Childers, Retired Executive Vice President, Garvey Industries, Inc.
Willard Garvey does a great job of capturing the spirit of the man. I started reading the book this afternoon and could not step away until I had finished it. It was very moving for me as I had experienced many of the projects it covered. It is apparent that his belief system was human independence and privatization, Everyman a Homeowner, and this was deep seeded in family experience and wartime observation. I am so fortunate to have worked for a true entrepreneur with global aspirations, an education beyond compare. I have never met anyone, anywhere, more principled and with more innovative ideas. Willard Garvey was demanding, but he was fair, and his employees and associates were always reminded of his policy of less government is better. Obviously, we could use that in our current political scene. I highly recommend this book for anyone.
Bob M. White, former President and Chief Executive Officer, White International (formerly Garvey International, Inc.)
Willard Garvey includes great stories and I especially enjoyed the early family history including the incredible entrepreneur Ray Garvey, Willard Garveys father. Willard himself was a man of many passions: family, business, community, and country. Like Teddy Roosevelts man in the arena, Willard could be and sometimes was, knocked around or even occasionally down, but no one could keep him there. One of his final projects was the remodeling of the old Holiday Inn where the sniper murders of 1976 had occurred. He turned this defunct hotel into the most successful downtown apartment projects completed by his son Jim and grandson Michael. I also recall the very first project I worked with Willard concerning the elimination of the city governments trash service. I wrote an article for Reason a couple of decades ago describing that transformation. I am delighted to have known him and happy to call him my friend.
Karl Peterjohn, Member, Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners; former Executive Director, Kansas Taxpayers Network
The superb book Willard Garvey vividly shows that Willard was a man of many hats involvements. He was a man who made a difference in the world, and he was a family man to both his family and his employees.
Gary L. Bengochea, President, Nevada First Corporation
As shown in the wonderful biography Willard Garvey, Willard charged through life the way he drove his lovable old cars. Fast, faster, and zoom.
Jay C. Nichols III, former Chief Executive Officer, Nichols Industries
Willard Garvey is a book well written, stimulating and very interesting. I wish to congratulate Maura McEnaney and all the Garvey family for such an accomplishment. Written with amenity and dexterity, the book includes an endnotes section with many references that assure the reader that the research has been serious and that what they read has a solid base. For myself, I worked in Hogares Peruanos (Peruvian Homes) with Willard, and I admired his leadership and dynamism. I met with him personally during working activities, and also had the pleasure to meet his family in Wichita, from all of which I have fond memories. Now, after reading his biography I have learned so many other things of his epic life that I admire him and the whole family, even much more. A book like this is not only a well-deserved homage to Willard, but also a very stimulating reading for other people, particularly the young who are going to shape the world through their doings.
Rodolfo Salinas, former President, Hogares Peruanos, Lima, Peru
Willard Garvey is a well-researched and well-written biography of a truly unique man. Maura McEnaney offers details that even close friends did not know about this multifaceted, energetic, and irrepressibly enthusiastic entrepreneur.
Martin K. Eby, Jr., former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, The Eby Corporation
As the marvelous book Willard Garvey reveals, Willard was a man of extraordinary courage, conviction, and independence with respect to his lifes passions and goals, which he doggedly pursued with or without the backing of others. Inspired by and based on his conviction that a legally-educated workforce was vital to the economic growth of Kansas, and with the loving support of his wife Jean, Friends University has provided a masters level legal education program to business professionals since 2004. It has been my pleasure and honor to chair the manifestation and continuation of this dream."
Dixie F. Madden, Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Chair in Law and Director of the Garvey Institute of Law and Master of Business Law Program, Friends University
Anyone who either knew Willard or wants to know him, as well as everyone else, should read Willard Garvey. Author Maura McEnaney absolutely nails him in this great book. It touches on his excitability, sensitiveness, irascibility, creativity, initiative, good will, and continuing evolvement. The world is a far better place because of Willard Garvey."
Richard A. DeVore, Founding Partner, DeVore Enterprises
Maura McEnaney has more than 30 years of experience as an award-winning business writer and editor. She is a former journalist at Bloomberg News, the Akron Beacon Journal and other regional daily and weekly newspapers and trade publications.
Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Denver Post, Boston Globe, New York Daily News and BusinessWeek online, among others. Maura was a staff writer on the Akron Beacon Journals A Question of Color, a year-long project examining race relations in Akron, which won the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Meritorious Public Service in 1994.
Several months after graduating from Syracuse University, Maura met Willard Garvey in Paradise Valley, Nevada. She has been a close friend of his family for more than two decades. Maura now works in the financial services industry and lives in Medford, Massachusetts with her husband Ken Krause.
Kim Cloidt, Director of Marketing & Communications