Bill Lenox lived life beautifully. He loved people, fine food, beautiful art, and being an entrepreneur. But most of all Bill, like his oldest son, Jason Lenox, loved people. He had a heart bigger than his beloved Texas, and that heart gave out last month. It’s a tremendous loss not only for his family, but for the entire community.
Bill, owner of Bob’s Steak and Chop House, was one of those larger-than-life characters.
“Bill was passionate and followed no rules — he made his own,” Steve Lenox, Bill’s youngest brother, said. “Whether people embraced those rules or not, Bill’s warm smile, humor, and sincere charm were a deflection from any differences.”
Lenox was an extraordinary entrepreneur. He began his business life in Dallas, launching Circle T Western Wear with his wife Marilyn. Circle T was one of the largest and most successful manufacturers of women’s western clothing for 30 years. If you went to Cattle Barons, you were wearing something from Circle T.
Bill’s love of great food led to his next venture. In 1994, he was such a frequent patron of Bob’s Steak and Chop House that the owner, Bob Sambol, thought he’d make a great partner. Lenox took that business to another level, eventually forming a partnership with Omni Hotels and Resorts. The brand has become wildly popular, expanding into to five more states and over 14 individual locations so far.
“Bill represented the best in a partner with his true passion for the Bob’s brand. His commitment to its success always took precedence over short term gains,” Mike Deitemeyer, President of Omni Hotels and Resorts, said. “However, it was Bill’s passion for life, family and friends that contributed to my own evolution and for that I will be forever grateful.”
The Western influence returned in 1989 when Lenox invested in Anteks Home Furnishings, which was at the forefront of the western-chic style in the home furnishing industry. Anteks set the pace in refined rustic interiors, creating custom products. When Jason took the reins in 2015, Anteks expanded into full-scale interior design services and a line of accessories.
Bill was also a well-known philanthropist and patron of the arts.
“Bill was the absolute best there was,” Chris Byrne, Board Member of the Dallas Contemporary Museum, said. “His generosity was legendary towards institutions as well as important independent projects — I could always count on Bill for counsel and guidance, and I will miss his openness and unpretentious approach.”
Perhaps we should all be so fortunate: Bill was doing what he loved, enjoying fine food with family, in his last hours.
“Reflecting on my father’s life, and death, has forced me to look at him from many different angles,” Jason said. “While listening to stories and reading the many condolences, the common thread was his immense humanity. He loved people, and people loved him. While probably best known for his business acumen, I want people to know that he was funny, he loved his family, and his friends were very important to him.”
Donations can be made in Bill’s memory to The William W. Lenox Memorial Foundation. Donations by check can be made payable to The Dallas Foundation and mailed to 3963 Maple Avenue, Suite 390, Dallas, TX 75219. Contact Lesley Martinelli at 214.741.9898 with questions.