Joseph Robert “Joe Bob” McCartt


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.

39 Replies to “Joseph Robert “Joe Bob” McCartt”

  1. Dee and I want to extend our sincere sympathy to Debra and family. My family has always had a special relationship to the McCartt family extending back to Oldham Circle.
    We had many great times linked to business dealings and fishing in Verdejo.
    Keith and Dee Locke

  2. Joe Bob will be missed by many. He shared his wisdom with me on more than one occasion, especially on real estate. But more importantly, he shared his infectious smile and attitude. My sincere condolences to Debra and the entire McCartt family.

  3. Joe Bob Was a visionary and a wonderful man that will be missed by so many. I feel Blessed to have known such a fine Gentleman.

  4. Our family moved to Amarillo the summer before the 1st grade. Joe Bob and I were in 1st grade at wolflin. He would invite all us kids to play at his house after school. Always included everyone in his circle. A great guy his entire life. Amarillo has lost an icon. RIP my friend.

  5. We are sending the greatest of good thoughts and a magnitude of peace, love and gargantuan serenity.
    We wish you quality time alone and together as a family with hilarious stories (there are lots!), laughter, truth, healing, forgiveness, dignity, grace and the opportunity to learn anew all the things we learned before.
    We love you,
    Nancy and David Beck

  6. Bill and I want to convey our sincere sympathy to Debra and family on such a tremendous loss. Our community mourns with you.

  7. I just now learned of Joe Bob passing away and my heart is shattered. Amarillo will be a much smaller city without this Giant of a Man, he truly loved the city and all of it’s people. We worked together on several real estate projects and he would always lift my spirits when we were together. I will be praying for Debra and all of the family as they go into this new year without the one and only Joe Bob. My heart hurts…….

  8. Joe Bob was a great friend. He was a pillar at St. Andrews. We were on vestry together and were ushers many times together. He will be missed by all. RIP My friend.

  9. My wife and I served on one of the breakfast teams at St. Andrews. Joe Bob was in charge of the griddle… and I mean really in charge. When he arrived early on those Sunday mornings, his first duty was to complain about the previous users failure to clean the griddle properly. Once taken care of, he then proceeded with cooking the sausage and bacon. I was usually anointed by Joe Bob as the first taster of his products, and I never complained. The wonderful memories of those times together will last forever.

  10. I knew OF Mr. McCartt, the legend, more than I knew of Mr. McCartt, the man. Every time his name was mentioned, it was always positive. The description of ‘humble’ comes to mind; he seemed to always take the high road, and do what was right in all decisions he made… And out of consideration for all parties involved (& otherwise,) he seemed to always err on the side of fairness and caution. And I only gleaned that much about him from listening to stories that centered on how he ran his business. Mr. McCartt was certainly a breed apart, a man of integrity. What a gift to the city and community of Amarillo that his exceptional visions and well-constructed buildings and designs remain with us. What a gift to have had the honor to have known of him.

    May the family consider hosting a locally-televised memorial service that features (1,) pre-recorded funny, inspiring, informative antidotes; and (2,) outlining his life’s accomplishments? In the case of Mr. McCartt, it would be fitting, and cathartic and healing for all.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you now.

  11. I will forever be grateful to know and work for Joe Bob. He was always so happy and I never saw him upset. I told him he had that “McCartt Charm” that at anytime he had a quick saying to make someone smile. He’d had many funny nicknames he’d call me and all I could do is laugh. He will forever be missed and I’m thankful to know him for our time together. Heaven gained a great one. He will be missed.
    Dominic and Brandi Zumbrun

  12. Joe Bob was the first person I met when I moved to Amarillo in 2004.

    He called me ( and just about everyone ) Hotshot. I called him Sweet Pea.

    He was always kind and gracious . He consoled me often and made a trip to Muleshoe to attend my Dad’s funeral.

    I always laughed when we were together.

    We decided a few months ago that we’d always be stuck with each other.

    I will miss my friend, his laughter, his optimism and his encouragement.

    May he rest in the light of Our Lord.

  13. Joe Bob was a brilliant businessman with a passion for Amarillo. Our revitalized downtown will always be a reminder of both. I personally remember Joe Bob as warm, friendly, funny and straightforward. I am heartbroken for his family, his colleagues, and for the City that will be forever in his debt. Prayers for all.

  14. I was so saddened to hear the news about Joe Bob. Ed and I truly valued our personal and working relationships with him. He will be missed. Love and prayers to Debra and family
    Melva D

  15. I remember well growing up on Oldham Circle with Joe Bob and building Christmas tree forts in the vacant lot behind his house

  16. What a wonderful tribute and what a wonderful life he lived.! Condolences and prayers for Joe Bob’s family.

    Debbie and Jim Meier.

  17. I grew up with Joe Bob and as an adult I have worked with him on projects including the Paramount and recently, Netplex. Through all of those years I remember him best for his response on one short day. I had been at the ranch during branding and during my stay I had let two calves out that resulted in a chase that ended in a dead, new cutting horse and his father, Gene’s broken leg. I also allowed my horse to get caught in the middle of a bull and the cowboy’s rope, tripping my horse and sending both of us to the ground. They called Joe Bob to fetch me and send me home. He came flying in on that underpowered Beech Musketeer, landing on the dirt road that led to the ranch house. I was pretty humiliated, licking my wounds and I expected some harsh lecture or at least some strong ribbing. However, his only comment was to ask his dad if he liked his new haircut.

    That was Joe Bob, ALWAYS looking at the bright and positive side. I will truly miss you.

  18. Always a cheerful and optimistic greeting ! You would think he never had a bad day. So not ready to hear the news. He will be so missed!
    Now need to turn our prayers & support to Debra and the family.
    Until the next reunion Joe Bob !

  19. Quite a guy!! I knew him when was at the top and the bottom!! He was always the same, Always welcomed me with a smile and always ask about my life and what was going on with me. I’m very sorry to hear this news. RIP my friend John Cleavinger

  20. I knew Joe Bob only by reputation. I know his death is a sad loss for so many. Debra, my sweet friend, I’m thinking of you and sending my love.

    Kathy Jones

  21. In this hi-tech world Joe Bob rarely answered a text but loved to pick up the phone and call. Those are some of my favorite conversations. He always took the time to check up on everything and everyone. He was a great mentor to me and a pleasure to work with. Joe Bob you left quite a mark on this community that you loved so much. I’ll miss you buddy!

  22. Joe Bob and his family were the first ones in our neighborhood to have a TV. I vividly remember going to his house and watching the test pattern until something came on. What great memories and what a great guy. He will be missed.

  23. I was so shocked and saddened to hear about Joe Bob’s death. He, of course, was my first cousin and I have so many memories from our childhood – most of them with Nanny and Papa at the Palisades. When I think about Joe Bob every picture in my mind has that grin of his. Love that grin. To all the family – May the Lord stand with you and help you through this sad sad time. I am so very sorry. Thank you for the wonderful obituary.

  24. Every time I saw you calling I knew you had something cooking. Sometimes I hesitated to answer because I didn’t know what you might be getting me into. I don’t think I ever saw you angry or in a bad mood, even when people were attacking you for doing the right thing. Thank you for being my friend and for not getting mad at me when I told Duke Electric to send you the $20,000 wiring bill for the Paramount sign. I think you wound up sending it back to me. I guess they got paid because that’s been 14 years ago. Every time I look up and see that sign I’m going to think of you. Also, congratulations for marrying up. Debra was the best deal you ever made. I love you my friend!

  25. Joe Bob will be missed. He leaves a big pair of shoes to fill for the community. It’s an immeasurable loss for the family. Tears. Deepest condolences.

  26. Jo Bob, all I can see is your smile and hear your laugh. You were such an amazing person, and touched the Voran family in more ways than you could ever know. We will forever be grateful for the love you showed to Berkeley along with the other youth of St. Andrew’s, and I know she will always remember the pilgrimage to South Dakota for which you were sponsor. And we still all laugh about the hard time you gave her about getting grounded from her cell phone. We love you, and will see you again someday.

  27. We learned of your passing with great sadness, JoeBob. Our hearts go out to your family. We will remember our times with you with true fondness. You were selfless and full of life. Your light will never dim.

  28. Joe Bob was an incredible man, I am so glad that I knew him and that he was a part of my life! Thank you for all that you did for Amarillo and our community. Thank you for being so kind to me always! I will never for you and your wisdom!!

  29. Kelly and I are heartbroken for the whole McCartt family. Amarillo will miss this great man for sure. I enjoyed every meeting and phone call I had with you and will miss your extremely positive attitude. “Take Care Buddy” just as you always ended our calls. If Heaven isn’t already perfect enough, it just got more perfect with you! We will miss you dearly! With prayers and love, Billy and Kelly Slaughter

  30. The news yesterday was a shock to me. I was blessed to work with Joe Bob on several of his projects in Center City. He was always positive and full of ideas. His guidance and push to improve Amarillo will be missed.
    Prayers, hugs, and love to the McCartt family.

  31. Joe Bob I can’t believe I was just hearing and seeing all your new exciting plans. I am so thankful for all the times I got to spend talking with you and Debra. I treasure all the stories you told Bo and I last visit. Your loss is a loss for Amarillo you truly had love and a vision for all of us to benefit from. Thank you for all that you’ve done to beautify Amarillo and make it beautiful. There no doubt in my mind you’re with the Lord. Thank you for always making me feel important and always giving your best advice. Your witty humor and stories will be missed. Go rest high on that Mountain. ❤️

  32. Joe Bob, you will be greatly missed. Pat and I so loved getting to know you and Debra when we were at WT. You will always be loved.

  33. Dearest ones, what a beautifully-written tribute. I just listened to one of his voice mails. So fun and loving. Thank you for sharing JB with our community and all of us individually.
    I’m so sorry we cannot be together at this time.
    With so much love, dj

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