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tv   An Epic Life  CSPAN  November 9, 2013 1:45pm-2:16pm EST

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this is about half an hour. >> i, everybody. thank you, harvey. thank you, gail. thank you for coming today.
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don't wave that figure to me. [laughter] it makes me of the will -- it is enthusiastic, and that is could. wanted to think harvey. he really was a reporter's dream he was always available when i came to talk to him, he had a great memory, except in the end he told me he liked the book. the want to thank pat hebron for helping to put this together. this is really the big show. here at the big show a happy to be here. the me tell you. special guests. what to think them. the independent institute. and of the effort to make to be with us today always ever
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supportive, always, supportive and tell me that i could do it, even when it seemed like added not want to run more. you know, it came to be. i am happy to share some of it with your day. but i also bring greetings from massachusetts robbery which is about 5 miles north of boston. as it turns out, the population is about 55,000. when i was writing this book i least kayten by ten office space from a local architect who was a one-term rotary president. he tell them before i came well as coming to speak to one of the oldest and suddenly friendliest in wichita, may be bigger committees is keeping short. these people are on their lunch break. but i did hear an awful lot and have led to your you guys tennant the way some of those gusty.
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but he did not know how to keep it short. i think some of you in toward that as well. he was a faithful person for more than 50 years to when this was as club. he joined rotary in 1950, and you can usually find in here without the element is. he was out of town he often made it a point to visit with other river clubs like we had today. and around different cities in the united states. he really loved rotary, and it came clear thrall of the speeches that he had. two books and speeches that i went through. he gave an awful lot. and in july of 2002 this group gave him the service without self award, something that meant a lot to he and his family members here today. a just want to get an idea of dealing with. how many of you thought you knew him? abcaeight. so that is a good crowd. i can to find out really that he was many things to many people.
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the book tried to capture some of his many facets of his epic life as willard had epic ideas, at the conditions, and epic achievements. it when friends asked me to tell them the story from back east in reference as we to tell them the story about the manner was writing about and did not know how to describe it quickly. i told them that he was a sophisticated forest gump character who witnessed and experienced key moments in american and world history. because he had such a war in the character and so involved with some a different facets of business and life and it to move him through history. in the book we learned about the pioneering spirit of his ancestors, the eggs of the great depression, and the dirty 30's era. the uncertainties of war on a family in this community and the communist scare of the mid
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20th century, among other things. so this book is not only a story of his life, but it is an american story seen through the eyes of an independent kansas' of manure. now, alert came from some pretty good stock. the oldest son in the second of four children born to ray and alex darby, farming the migraine elevator moguls who were in the kansas business hall of fame and a topeka. his parents have their own fascinating histories, and a catch up on some of that in the book. he started his life living for eight years which is about 290 miles north and west of here . his father launched a massive week and farming business. mostly at the urging they taught the children needed better schooling.
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he came here in 1928, stay here, raised his family here, and died here in 2002. he loved wichita because it was the furthest to get from both coasts. but it was his love for this community and the impact he had here and elsewhere that went well beyond that. he wore many hints. but he called himself a builder. if you look around town you can see that he did just that. he began with building the small brick homes that uc, returning veterans. he went on to bigger developments like commercial properties, one of the first shopping plazas and was a tall.
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it in the late 1980's he had a vision or maybe was crazy and was the only one crazy enough to build the epicenter, done tells tallest building with the hope that it will become a beacon for downtown revitalization. he lost the building and something like $5 million in the process, but he never regretted building more projects. in northern nevada where i first ran across and working in my first newspaper job are the college, that is another story, but he was a rancher who spoke of against the bureau of land management and build the state's largest private dam and reservoir pretty a valuable resource for is live in the process. it is really a beautiful place. he dabbled in the newspaper and television business and a host of other investments the cap is a tension along the way of putting something like a flower mill in trinidad.
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in exchange from trinidad. at the fears of communism became a global focus in the early 1960's. he lost a product called world home, an innovative oversees housing project in their world companies the five countries. what he wants to do their committee felt that if she made people capitalists you would help toward communism. he set out to -- the programs mano was to make every minute of every man a homer. a hundred boxes of documents it is just an amazing reserves of what he did. i only used a few examples.
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now, to some in this room he was an employer, but metal is an easy man to work for. right? he was a strict father. a commanding grandfather. most certainly is a devoted husband to would check in with his beautiful wife every day of 530 on as well from work to see if she needed anything firm to pick up on the way of. some vehemently disagreed with his anti-government views and what the other way when they saw him coming. he knew him well. [laughter] don't waive those fingers again. others saw him as a profit-sharing businessman who criticize government yet welcomed federal money to programs that would support projects. what live with say in response to that, we operate under the program. we don't set it.
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his bitter readers may have cringe when they saw his toxic letters to the airbus socialist public schools. he chose to support a launch to private schools, one in collegiate with the ball let family, and that is the independent school. was -- a beautiful new football field. it is a beautiful thing. it's nice to see it going so well, but he was never too busy for which stop. he added that campaigns to stop bond issues for public projects and fought any and all the taxes , most news stories about his efforts began with the word billionaire willard curve is opposing or proposing. to others he epitomized the spirit of kansas, a true
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entrepreneur who could spit out ideas rapid-fire. but a fish farm that the grain elevators or a tv program to teach people how to train dogs or even let's start our own country, our own country. bob white, executive said to me, and yet it doesn't already is that the time he has to put the rejection. another story as cfo bob page told police he had to introduce himself to a group of people in these said my job each month is to pick 30 or 31 ideas that carvey is, but then get rid of 29 of them. [laughter] said this guy was like -- but he wanted his best ideas to come back to year in which a top, make it a model city to be admired and imitated by communities elsewhere as the best place to work, raise a family can enjoy life.
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so the left or hated him, there was a lure. it tried to provide a sampling of in the book. many people knew that he was an avid swimmer, a great contributor to the ymca program and helped start the wichita swim club. he was actually a championships or whose up competitively while in london during world war ii and every day into his 80's. we were going to say back to the forest gump analogy instead of run, forest, jen, it would be swim, willard, swim. in no, water and he, he was an exhaustive traveler with influential friends included night to the investments and sir john templeton and prominent cities here in town including
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the beaches, the cubs, he likes to talk about people he knew in the places he had been cut including the exclusive bohemian club in california. he left iraq with the people that he met. and from the stories i have heard he was a done right as it is trevor. and definitely a worse pilot. at the above the title why stop at red because apparently red lights and willard did not really agree. [laughter] i am sure will hear some stories after this, but he was a fantastic cancer. he once landed himself in the pool after one to the geezer read steps close to the edge. he would hope, chains into a new
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tuxedo bow to the other guests of the purchase of the he was the only mentality texas. i was that sure that store was really true. one person tells you a story and you don't really know the reason they stood up and said, was at that party. she was the home the night he came through the front steps to change the types. but there was a lot to remember. that fast-talking fellow in the back it does is peaches and latest in the public as the nsc is bigger question and then going on and on and on and on and all is about the same thing. in he would sleep done in his chair. [laughter] here is a sample of a sound bite from one of his talks to this very wichita club. ..
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>> he was of voice in the
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wilderness and it took the rest of several that long to catch up. and ordered to write the story of a man i did domino here i found a romance that was very different from the dusty desert with all the members of the family but it was a romance i came to kansas again to talk with some of you and some have passed on. baron architects, a prolific historians to cruz and jean who left as a few months ago. i was so happy to get their voices down. also with each trip i came
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to fall in love with the warm wind that blows incessantly on a heart -- -- a heart -- a hot summer night and the sites of the rail elevator built by garvey. we found a collection of letters that willard had to say to the trunk from will door-to-door from his high school days and be found than in his home it was an amazing resource with the young band pushed into adult for but a window into his parents' pain and longing with the city coping to deal with young men. and i have a reading on that. by august 1942 withered was
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promoted to a first lieutenant. you will go through ranks like these like eagle scouts he said congratulating him i thank you have the temperament and the ability to be a fine officer and soldier. there were not easy words to right although he knew they were true it was easier to right about the businesses of the house as he was building of all or the 24 plaques just east of hydraulics tree with so much material diverted to the war he could feel the pitch of the business is the labor problem is getting quite critical. the have carpenters but only three or four laborers and water lines our hard to get. and is getting more difficult of the time to get competent held since the war takes those young men either
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too old or too young but as they drew nearer wray swallowed hard. you mentioned once you ought to make a will i am sending a couple of forms. if you wish to send of how we can put it in the safety deposit box. he signed off with best wishes sincerely, pop. there are so many beautiful examples of that and demotions very slowly the wave radar fee could do it. the army was a place where willard got his first taste of bureaucracy and it affected him for most of his life. [laughter] ion glad that you laugh at that. i had his letters back to his mother and he was content here be the administrator and right he was unhappy said he wrote to
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his parents with this discouragement over the army bureaucracy in brussels this year he developed the animosity for government spending program were to see someone who will cut out 90 percent of the department's those parasites are self generating. he said in his 20s. after the war he came back to wichita and married gp call that his best partnership ever in the romance is well documented around tel. she was fixed upon the blind date yet she saw him in is uniform he was a major in cape up the stairs there she said my heart skipped a beat he was the most fantastic dancer and they started to talk marriage on the second day. in willard found the perfect partner in her. friends and family say she
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was charmed for his belligerence and patience to use period but understood the inner workings of the companies said was involved with a host of projects and reflected his enthusiasm and it was jean who often made willard more tolerable. [laughter] and to jean founded athletic man who idolized his parents in value siblings believed the american production and liberty in also reliable parker after day of roughing up people in the office embarking about challenges or the cost of building materials or his organizational procedures you would call jean every evening at 530 every evening if he needed to pick up anything on the way home they would have dinner
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together every night. it was a beautiful partnership. picture he made a lot of money but not always motivated by profit. his ability to overlook the bottom line with a small detail that would make his father a of siblings and greek and relearn about pat with a world holmes he calls a single best idea. this oversees housing project he took great pride to help people have affordable housing in places like peru and chile mother is up plaque dedicated to willard garvey in gene got to see it in the gate for a reception. the fellow architect a delightful man at age 90 he said he built because he had to build. he had to build he may have
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been international businessman but wichita's where he chose to make the difference. despite pursuits in faraway places such as the south pacific and while the nevada veto did his most influential work all along the river where you are is all that counts for pre-cannot solve problems in the vicinity they were not if you solve the problems where you are if each person solve the neighbor solve the problem that all problems disappear. is what you try to do. known for his anti-government stance he said some may ask that we would feel to look down from city hall at the epicenter accursi semiconductor down the on city hall from the sidewalk. [laughter] and that is good but he also offered solutions.
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here is a guy was dissatisfied came up with an alternative and he did not want of a bond issue for the new jail because he thought it was too expensive and urged voters to turn it down because he said he could do a different design for much less. do you hear much business people do that in their community today? another one of his longstanding ideas that people may agree with today. >> [inaudible]
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>> so he would back up his argument with statistics and figures and it would turn your head around i watch the debates at the jail and he was throwing out numbers this amount of money and i had to watch it and put it on real slow before it could hear when he was saying in from that speech in 1969 from the quest you entered here he never give up his fight against the government. in 1999 jean and willard wit to the museum in washington d.c. and could not resist the chance to do is get of their own when offered a chance to play the reporter in front of the white house
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backdrop. >> ♪ ♪ [inaudible] >> good evening img garvey where you at the white house today? >> [inaudible]
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[laughter] [laughter] >> they even end, let him off. [laughter] that was fun to find. up intel one year before he died he launched the of presidents college school of law it was an idea to give business people a better understanding of the law. restarted that then ran into for initial trouble after he passed 80 emerged now the core of the institute of law. we ran into dixie earlier this year is so excited with
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this program. that is another thing willard put his mark on and the football field is looking beautiful he never stopped building even up to his last. so it wasn't just what he was saying but that he took the time to say anything at all. seven term republican mayor withstood his share of fire in person and print as evidenced in this last letter to the editor. light does wichita mayor not accountable for city hall could firm again and again at city hall is a cheat willard wrote 2001 in protest over a new tax district? bob told me we did not agree on political values but yet years after his death he
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believes both he and wichita have lost something significant. he had resources he could take it easier path noting that curvy purpose the chose to focus on the minutia of local government they called miller's voice hello dave preston decided attacks pledged to the always spoke of the mistrust of government. he was a good citizen and that is something we need to take away. in wichita garvey is on buildings, facilities and educational facilities and programs. willard garvey took the motto to heart whether you agree disagree i think there is a lesson in there all for us. think you for the opportunity to speak and for the interest in the block. [applause]
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>> any questions? >> you did an excellent job. [applause] >> what was the best story you did not print? >> i the guy left to the good ones in their. i have to tell you. but that is a good question. anyone else?


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