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Bill Ware, 63, died Thursday, March 22, 2012. Bill was a lifelong partner with his father and brother in managing the Amarillo National Bank.
He was very proud of the bank, but more proud of its involvement in civic and local philanthropies. He was an active trustee of the Ware Foundation, which was involved in the expansion of Kids Inc., BSA Hospital, the Harrington Cancer Center and numerous other projects.
Bill was the leader of the bank’s marketing efforts that included the hot air balloon and the 1990s ad campaign featuring humorous out-of-town bankers. (Bill even broke the family rule and appeared in one TV commercial.)
In 1987 Bill and his brother established the first branch bank in the state of Texas when they bought the Borger Bank. Bill was instrumental in the design of the Downtown Drive-Up Plaza which was the largest drive-up bank in the United States and in the construction of the Plaza Two office building.
In 1999 Texas Monthly magazine named Bill along with his dad and brother as “Texas Bankers of the Century.”
Bill and his brother Richard, revived the century-old partnership of Ware Brothers and used it as an early Downtown Amarillo development firm owning the Paramount building and other buildings. Bill designed and built the Heart Park.
He was often the strongest supporter of the Amarillo professional baseball team including naming rights on the ballpark. He was very proud of always sponsoring “the Famous Chicken.”
Bill was always active in state and local politics, supporting a wide range of candidates. Many campaigns used his “campaign truck.” Bill was passionate about civic beautification and restrictions on billboards. He designed and raised funds (which he matched) to build the “Amarillo” signs at the east and west I-40 entrances to Amarillo.
Bill was named outstanding tennis player of the year by the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame in 1966. He was instrumental in the construction of many tennis facilities, including the Amarillo National Tennis Center. In high school he was ranked No. 2 in the state in doubles and had a tennis scholarship to SMU, where he graduated with a BBA in 1971.
Bill was active on the board of Boys Ranch, the Amarillo Business Foundation, the Tri-State Fair, as well as Maxor National Corporation, to name a few.
He is survived by his wife, Paige, and four children: B. D. Ware, Lizzie Mason and husband, Brian, Savannah Singleton and husband, Brian, Tol Ware and wife, Sloane. He is also survived by his father, Tol, brother, Richard and 7 grandchildren. The family suggests donations to local charities.