Charles Tandy

      On the morning of November 2, 1978 Ted and I had an appointment to work with Charles in working out a proposal to present to American. When we arrived at his office we were told that Mr. Tandy was in his office and asked if we could wait. We were aware that Mrs. Tandy was not well physically so we were a bit surprised that she was there. After a short wait Mrs. Tandy and her nurse came out of Charles’s office and we went in. After greeting Charles and asking him about his wife’s health and her prognosis we were ready to start working on our project to get American into downtown Fort Worth. Charles interrupted and said before we get started I want to tell you what my wife and I were talking about. He told us that she had a vision of planting 5,000 cherry trees along the Trinity River from the Henderson Street Bridge to the W. 7th Street Bridge and he laughingly said maybe it was 10,000 but whatever it is I want to do it. He remarked that she possibly would not live too much longer and he wanted to do everything he could to make her happy during her remaining life. His concern about doing the project was not fiscal, but functional. He bluntly asked me if the City would agree to water and tend to the trees if he would have them planted. I responded by saying that nothing could be done on the river without the cooperation and approval of what was then called the Tarrant County Water Control and Improvement District #1. I assured him that I would talk to them and the City about his dream and that it sounded like a great idea.

 

      We could look out the window of his great two story office in the Northwest corner of the Tandy building and see the Trinity and imagine what it would look like with thousands of cherry trees blooming on the river banks. He urged me to hurry and get the answer as he wanted to get it done so Mrs. Tandy could enjoy it. He observed quite seriously that he wasn’t interested in having monuments built to honor him after he was gone, but wanted to do things now to build our city. And above all he wanted to do things that would help Mrs. Tandy enjoy the remaining time of her life.

 

                                               After we finished our discussion Ted and I agreed to come back on Friday to meet                                                    with Charles again. When we walked into his office the next morning he greeted us by saying, “By the way I talked to my wife last night about the cherry trees and she told me that she thought 1200 trees would be sufficient. Of course it is not unusual for me to get excited about something and want to overdo it so the number we want is 1200.” I assured him that I would contact TCWID and see what needed to be done to get started. Ted and I were scheduled the next day to do some socializing with American executives who would be implementing the move and Charles was to be involved. On Saturday morning before noon I Ted called me and told me that Charles was dead.

 

      Several years ago I told Ruth Carter Stevenson this story and she told me that she was in the Tandy home that morning when they found Charles dead. She said it would have been a great project for Fort Worth and wished it had happened. At his funeral Ted and I talked and discussed what to do about the project, but couldn’t think of a workable approach to the family to discuss it. So without the dreamer around the dream sort of faded into the background. And ironically Mrs. Tandy lived another 14 months before her death on New Years Day 1980.

Morris Matson's Recollections