PARKER — Around Dallas, there are two pieces of iconic real estate that everybody should (and does) know about: Southfork Ranch and Ebby Halliday.
It makes sense, then, that J.R.’s place was selected to house the “Duchess of Dallas” and her family of associates Tuesday for a breakfast celebrating her 102nd birthday.
“This is a great tribute to Ebby because Ebby is the icon, obviously, for our business,” said Mary Frances Burleson, president and CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies. “She’s set off a great pace for a lot of us, given a lot of us opportunities, and so what’s better than that?”
After filing through the pancake buffet lines set up outside the Oil Baron’s Ballroom, guests assembled to sing “Happy Birthday” to Halliday, who waved her hands and conducted the ensemble like a grand maestro from her throne-like seat at the front of the room.
“Thank you for coming,” Halliday told her guests, all smiles upon the song’s conclusion, “and take a horseshoe when you leave.”
Among the guests was Sylvia Sotelo-Kidd, who manages the Ebby Halliday Realtors office in Rockwall.
“To be able to be with a legacy — a legend — and an organization that just has the highest standards, and just to be surrounded by terrific people is just unbelievable,” Sotelo-Kidd said. “She has created a company and a corporation that we’re all so proud of being a part of, and every time I say I belong to Ebby Halliday, the doors just open wide.”
The parting favors were symbolic of good fortune, of course. But thanks to a life-long knack for making even complete strangers feel as if they’ve known her forever, neither Halliday nor the sprawling company that bears her name have ever needed to rely on something as transient as luck.
Which is just one of the many reasons why, as Burleson said, “She really is the queen for us.”