Joseph Robert “Joe Bob” McCartt, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, steadfast and loyal friend, pillar of the Amarillo community, and eternal optimist, passed away Monday, December 28, 2020 from COVID-related complications. He was a true gift and our hearts are broken. We are devastated that he left us so early, but we are forever inspired by the legacy he leaves.
A proud Amarillo native, Joe Bob was born on July 2, 1947 to Helen Whittenburg McCartt and Eugene J. McCartt. He attended Wolflin Elementary, Austin Junior High, and graduated from Amarillo High School in 1964. He attended both Amarillo College and West Texas State University before graduating with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Mississippi in 1971. He quickly returned to Amarillo and began a lifelong career in commercial real estate.
Joe Bob loved Amarillo, and real estate was his passion. He was inspired by putting “The Deal” together and was passionate about revitalizing downtown Amarillo. He contributed to the redesign and renovation of Amarillo’s Center City. More than three decades ago Joe Bob re-thought the use of the historic Paramount Building as office space. He encouraged NewcrestImage to purchase the Fisk Building for use as a hotel, and the Downtown Courtyard Marriott became a reality and top performer.
Joe Bob led the local group that purchased the Chase Tower in 2006. Joe Bob was a key principal in the development of West Texas A&M University’s Amarillo Center. He was also instrumental in the redevelopment of the Woolworth building and Levine’s building. Other successes include the Amarillo Building, Wellington Square Shopping Center, Embassy Suites Amarillo, Hyatt Place & AC Marriott in Bricktown of Oklahoma City, 3501 MedCenter, and several other commercial business district developments in Amarillo.
Friends and business associates will remember Joe Bob’s clever statements and many of the rules by which he lived, also known as Joe Bobisms: “We already have all we need;” “He’s tougher than the back end of a shooting gallery”, and “A quick no is almost as good as a yes.”
Joe Bob instilled his love for the outdoors in his sons. Whether they were hunting in the Texas Panhandle, fishing in Rockport or Vermejo, skiing in Angel Fire and Steamboat, rafting the Santa Elena Canyon, or kayaking the Llano River, Joe Bob simply enjoyed the time together. His appreciation for history also transferred to J. and Collin. The three traveled to Normandy, France and while much of their time was spent paying tribute to the events that occurred there during WWII, there were also lots of laughs when traveling through the French countryside. With every missed turn, Joe Bob would smile, wave, and say, “sorry we are not from around here”…as if that wasn’t obvious. Life was fun with Joe Bob, and full of adventure!
A lifelong member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Joe Bob had a very strong and steadfast faith. He served as Senior Warden of St. Andrew’s and was instrumental in the campaign to rebuild the church. Joe Bob lived a life of gladness and grace. He is survived by wife Debra, married in 2004, sons J. McCartt, and his wife Marty, of Austin and Collin McCartt, and his wife Sharesa of Amarillo; daughters of wife Marion McCartt, Abby Nickles Salter, husband Jason, and Courtney Nickles Moran, husband Patrick; Debra’s children Melissa Ballou Kates, husband Ged, Morgan Ballou, wife Emily, and Brandon Ballou; and Joe Bob’s grandchildren who loved their GrandBob dearly: Susie McCartt, Elle McCartt, Will McCartt, Max McCartt, Alice Salter, Greyson Salter, Clara Salter, Harper Moran, Drew Kates, Brett Kates, Clay Kates, Beau Ballou, Ellison Ballou and Kiley Meier. He is also survived by his brother, Gene McCartt and his wife Carol of Houston, their respective children and grandchildren, and many other special relatives and friends.
Joe Bob had the biggest heart and deepest faith; he made everyone feel special. We all mourn, but our family and friends in Heaven are singing for his arrival. Joe Bob lived his life “close to the cross” and encouraged us all to do the same.
As much as we would all love to gather and celebrate a life so well lived, due to COVID-19, we are sadly only able to have a family graveside service. We know so many would love to come together to remember Joe Bob and the impact he has had on us all. We thank you for the outpouring of love and support you have shown us during this difficult time.
The family would like to express their gratitude for the extraordinary kindness and care shown by the doctors and staff at Northwest Texas Healthcare System, specifically Blaine and Nicci and the many other physicians who took great care of Joe Bob during his lifetime. Special thanks to our dear friend, Dr. Sloan Teeple, who was a great source of information and comfort to our family these past couple of weeks.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Joe Bob McCartt Children & Youth Formation Fund at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.