Author Event - Maura McEnaney
Meet Medford's own Maura McEnaney as she talks about her new book, "Willard Garvey: An Epic Life"!
As the book vividly shows, Willard Garvey lived at the center of 20th century history. Born in Dust Bowl country, as a teenager he rode the rails at the height of the Great Depression to work in California’s Grapes of Wrath orchards. He sailed on the Queen Mary to the European theater of World War II, where he was one of the first three American officers into Berlin following its fall, and attended the Potsdam Conference.
A visionary businessman who dreamed of “Every man a homeowner,” Garvey pioneered affordable home ownership in developing countries at a time when few if any knew or cared about the millions living in slums worldwide. Despite revolutions, coups, and Anti-American persecution, his World Homes provided thousands of families in countries from South America to Asia the opportunity of moving onto and up the economic ladder.
He hobnobbed with heads of state and captains of industry, counting 20th century titans J.B. Fuqua, Robert Galvin, and John Templeton as closest friends and confidantes. He started a short-lived fourth television network, and pushed for independent journalism in an era of tightly-controlled media. He even tried to start a new country.
Yet despite his far-flung operations, Garvey was never far from his hometown affairs. Organizing and hosting Saturday morning coffee-shop gatherings of ordinary concerned citizens, inveterate writer of Letters to the Editor, crusader against the overreach of government bureaucracy, Garvey ceaselessly fought for his fellow man to have the opportunities for success he had enjoyed and that he saw government’s growing powers threatening.
It is perhaps his final “biggest” achievement that stands as Willard Garvey’s legacy. Beyond owner-operator of the “world’s largest” grain elevator, and “largest private landowner in Nevada”: builder of Kansas’s tallest building—the Epic Center. Its slanted copper roof pointed to the sky, it echoes the Kansas state motto that could well serve as his, too: Ad Astra per Aspera, “To the stars, through difficulties.
“A wonderful story of a tireless pioneer and entrepreneur who carried the torch for free markets and freedom to innovate all around the world…”—Tom Peters, bestselling author of "Thriving on Chaos".
“Men like Willard don’t come along very often. I was honored to play a small part in his life.” __Robert J. Dole, former Majority Leader, United States Senate
“As this compelling biography demonstrates, [Willard Garvey] was a man with the courage of his convictions—a trait our country so desperately needs at the present hour.”—Charles G. Koch, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Koch Industries, Inc.
“Maura McEnaney absolutely ‘nails’ [Willard] in this great book… his excitability, sensitiveness, irascibility, creativity, initiative, good will, and continuing evolvement. The world is a far better place because of Willard Garvey.”—Richard A. DeVore, Founding Partner, DeVore Enterprises
About Maura McEnaney:
Maura has more than 30 years of experience as an award-winning business writer and editor. She is a former journalist at Bloomberg News, the Akron Beacon Journal and other regional daily and weekly newspapers and trade publications. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Denver Post, Boston Globe, New York Daily News and BusinessWeek online, among others. Maura was a staff writer on the Akron Beacon Journal’s “A Question of Color,” a year-long project examining race relations in Akron, which won the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Meritorious Public Service in 1994.
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