Pickens, Perot Remembered As Larger-Than Life Business Leaders

In a matter of just a few months, Dallas has lost two of its most colorful business legends: H. Ross Perot at age 89 in July, T. Boone Pickens at 91 in September.

Remember “Ross for Boss?”

D Magazine has described the two-time third-party presidential candidate as “a man whose wealth, talent, and drive arguably left a larger mark on North Texas than any other.”

Pickens, the self-made oil tycoon, could draw high praise, too.

“He was larger than life, and his impact on the oil and gas industry is only part of his legacy,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said on smu.edu. “His no-holds-barred business acumen was what made him famous, but we’ll remember him for his humor, too. He will be missed.”

Pickens launched independent oil giant Mesa Petroleum, BP Capital, and his Pickens Plan, a $100 million grass-roots campaign to counter U.S. dependence on OPEC oil.

“T. Boone Pickens became a household name across the country because he was bold, imaginative,
and daring.” -George W. Bush

Longtime residents remember Perot for Electronic Data Systems, the Plano company he founded and later sold. He went on to establish Perot Systems.

Both men left philanthropic legacies.

Look for the Perot name on a science museum in downtown Dallas and the North Texas Food Bank’s newest facility in Plano.

Pickens made large contributions to Oklahoma State University, SMU, and other causes. His T. Boone Pickens Foundation focuses on health and medical research, treatment and services; entrepreneurship; at-risk children; education; athletics; support for U.S. military members, and conservation and wildlife management.

Former President George W. Bush issued words of remembrance for each man.

“Ross Perot epitomized the entrepreneurial spirit and the American creed,” Bush said. “He gave selflessly of his time and resources to help others in our community, across our country, and around the world. He loved the U.S. military and supported our service members and veterans. Most importantly, he loved his dear wife, children, and grandchildren.”

Bush recalled Pickens as a man who loved the “outdoors, his country, and his friends and family.

“T. Boone Pickens became a household name across the country because he was bold, imaginative, and daring,” Bush said. “He was successful – and more importantly, he generously shared his success with institutions and communities across Texas and Oklahoma.”

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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