Dallas commercial real estate pioneer John Eulich died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, Sept. 3, at the age of 86. He got his start in the women’s clothing business out of college but switched over to real estate in 1959 and became a prolific developer. A born entrepreneur, he also was behind the launch of more than 20 successful companies.
Visitation will be Thursday, Sept. 8, from 6-8 p.m. at Sparkman Hillcrest. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Here is Eulich’s full obituary. Also see Jon Altschuler’s write-up on Eulich’s “five-letter fax.”
John Eulich died peacefully on September 3, 2016 at the age of 86. Eulich was a loving husband, father and grandfather as well as an entrepreneur and pioneer in commercial real estate. He was born October 6, 1929 in Kansas City, Missouri where he lived with his mother, Margaret Sally Keach and older brother, Eric Vosteen Eulich. He lost his father at the early age of 7 and spent his youth at odd jobs making extra money and honing his skills as a salesman. He especially loved his summers as a life guard at the Mission Hills Country Club and working on his Boy Scout badges. The Eagle Scout award was one of the highest honors of his life.
In 1947, Eulich left Shawnee Mission to attend the University of Kansas where he met his life-long sweetheart, Virginia (Ginny) Walsh Eulich. While in college, he received a B.S. in Marketing and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He also owned and published the KU humor magazine. Eulich had a great sense of humor and accumulated a large repertoire of jokes over his lifetime. He was a good storyteller and loved sharing “stories” with his friends.
After college, Eulich and his young bride, Ginny, moved to Dallas where he accepted a sales job with Nelly Don Dresses, a woman’s clothing manufacturer headquartered in Kansas City. He was assigned their worst sales territory from West Texas to the Oklahoma Panhandle. He traveled five months of the year, getting to know every merchant in every town, while Ginny stayed home with their four daughters. Eulich’s sharp selling skills made his territory number one within three years.
At the age of 30, Eulich built his first warehouse as an investment so that he could comfortably retire. He leased the first building right away to Kelly Springfield Tire and fell in love with the real estate business. In 1959, he gave up selling dresses and started The Vantage Companies. He began to build warehouses and later, retail and office buildings. His first buildings were in the Trinity Design District and Stemmons Freeway area. Storey and John Stemmons, Dallas’ legendary businessmen, helped him get started with ground leases requiring no down payment.
Over the next 25 years, Eulich became a leader and innovator in the development of industrial and business parks, suburban office buildings and community shopping centers. By 1984, he had built a real estate empire accounting for over $7 billion in real estate development nationwide and 80,000,000 sq ft of space nationwide. He was honored as Developer of the Year in 1984 by the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP), and then as Distinguished Developer by the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He also bought the Rodeway Inns of America and then formed a Motor Hotel Management Company which grew to be the largest company of its type in the country. Eulich’s entrepreneurial career, spanning some 50 years, saw the formation of more than 20 highly successful companies in a variety of business areas.
In 1992, having survived the real estate recession, Eulich started an investment company, The Belmont Group. Eulich assembled a group of tenured professionals to help the family office diversify their investments. It was during this time that Eulich began designing what would be his final development, the Belmont Place at 2999 Turtle Creek Boulevard. Most proud of this magnificent facility, he worked tirelessly on it for more than a decade. Eulich was in his office at Belmont until his final days, never wanting to miss the next deal.
He and wife Ginny loved to travel, particularly loving England and Scotland. They enjoyed many trips worldwide with friends from Young Presidents Organization (YPO), World Presidents Organization (WPO), among others.
Eulich is survived by his loving wife, Ginny and four daughters: Gloria Eulich Martindale, Debra Jane Bell, Sara Kay Willis and Linda Elaine Eulich. He was loved by his nine grandchildren and was affectionately called “Hot Dad.” The family sends a special thanks to John Hughes for over 35 years of care and support. We are also grateful to Darrin Williams.
A visitation will be held Thursday September 8, 2016 from 6-8 pm at Sparkman Hillcrest. A memorial service will be at Highland Park Presbyterian Church at 3:00 pm on Friday, September 9, 2016. Reception to follow.
Memorials may be made to Highland Park Presbyterian Church, 3821 University Blvd., Dallas, TX 75205, Boy Scouts of America, National Council, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, Texas 75015-2079 or UT Southwestern Medical Center, Office of Development, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas TX, 75390-9009.