Robert Ramsey “Rob” Harper died January 30 at his home in Carrollton from a pulmonary embolism resulting from a fractured leg suffered while on a family ski trip to Vail, Colorado in early January. He was only 52 years old. Rob had a lifelong career in real estate development and made a significant impact on Dallas real estate. He most recently managed real estate interests for the Lamar Hunt family, Unity Hunt, Inc.
Rob was also an incredible family man, who enjoyed a beautiful marriage and adored his two children. The Dallas Morning News spoke to his father, Bob Harper of Richardson, who says Rob had a “visionary insight to real estate development”:
“So many people follow the herd, or have a herd instinct,” his father said. “He had a very keen sense of entrepreneurship.”
According to the Dallas Morning News report, Rob graduated from SMU with two undergraduate degrees and a love for sports, particularly soccer. At Richardson’s J.J. Pearce High School he was selected a Southern U.S. All Star youth select soccer player, and was co-captain of the team. He played on the varsity soccer team at SMU and later coached young athletes. He began his career in real estate fresh from college, working with his father at the Willard Baker Development Co.,
“where he was instrumental in planning communities including High Pointe in Cedar Hill and Twin Creeks in Allen.
Harper had an independent vision that he used to find opportunity, said his father, a former sales and marketing director for Dallas homebuilder Fox & Jacobs.
After Willard Baker, Harper partnered with Ray Washburn in developing single-family home subdivisions and the Coyote Ridge Golf Club and (a) master-planned community in Carrollton.
“Based on the success of Coyote Ridge, he was asked by the Hunt family to … manage their real estate development and real estate assets,” Bob Harper said.
Those projects included a private residence dorm near the Texas A&M campus, and Fairmont Heritage Place, El Corazon de Santa Fe.
I had the good fortune of spending time with Rob both in Dallas and in Santa Fe, and he was one of the most fascinating real estate minds I have ever met. He had great insight into real estate cycles and trends and was a true visionary. His tragic death at such a young age is a huge loss for the Dallas real estate community.
Rob is survived by his wife, Caryn Rose Harper of Carrollton, two sons, Will Harper of Dallas, and Daniel Harper, his sister Patricia Van Voorhees of Dallas, and his mother, Betty Harper and father, Bob, both of Richardson.
Our hearts go out to his family and friends, as we grieve the loss of one of Dallas’ most brilliant real estate entrepreneurs and futurists.