Monday, September 12, 2005

In Memory of Tom McRae

GREAT RACE CO-FOUNDER DIES IN MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTSAN MARCOS, TX, May 26, 2005 – Tom McRae, Co-Founder of the Great Race and its Executive Director for twenty years, was killed in a motorcycle accident on a farm road in Lampasas, Texas, on Monday, May 23. Mr. McRae, age 65, was survived by his Wife, Sandi; Daughter, “Sam” McRae; Sam’s fiancé, Jesse Garza; Grandson, “Texas” Garza; “Sister” McRae and a brother “Mac” McRae and his wife Nell.Once described as a cross between P.T. Barnum and A. J. Foyt, Tom McRae died as very much like he lived, at full throttle. Most recently Owner and Emcee for Granbury Live, a rock-and-roll variety show and performance hall in Granbury Texas, Tom McRae loved the limelight. A talent for showmanship and an entrepreneurial spirit usually put him at the cutting edge of what eventually became successful businesses ventures including the Great Race, a designer jean label and a chain of Frozen Yogurt shops.In 1983, Mr. McRae co-founded the Great Race, the world’s richest and longest running old car race with Norm Miller, Chairman of Interstate Batteries. “Tom was the driving force,” said Mr. Miller. “From promotions, to marketing, sponsor sales to race rules and logistics, art director to copy-writer, he could do anything he had a mind to. Even produce a TV show. When he was done with all that, Tom was the daily emcee and sometimes street preacher – Tom did it all!”The first entrant to take a leap of faith and enter the race in 1983 was McRae’s best friend and old car enthusiast, Curtis Graf from Irving Texas. Mr. Graf expressed the feelings of so many Great Race veterans and friends. “Tom was a beloved friend and I’m going to miss him... That old guy did everything large. He played large, worked large and lived large,” continued Graf. “His passing leaves a large hole in my heart and everybody’s heart that knew him.”The Great Race is now an annual summer time tradition, which has traversed the North American Continent, logging over six million miles and stopping in eight hundred different communities.In 2002, McRae sold the Great Race to Rally Partners, Inc., a group of Great Race veterans headed by Corky Coker, President of Coker Tires. "Tom was one of the most energetic, creative guys I have known. If he was excited about something, he wanted you to be excited about it too. That was true with his faith, his work, his life,” said Coker. “Whatever Tom did, he did it the best and all out! You either loved him or not. I loved him."Wayne Stanfield, Chief Operating Officer for Rally Partners, Inc., remembered McRae as a man who loved “things that burned gas, the wind in his face, the sound of a winding engine, and he loved his wife.” “I will always remember following Tom down a road in California. He was riding his Harley and I was trying to catch him because I had his exhaust pipe, which had fallen off 15 miles earlier. When I finally caught him, he said, ‘man this thing sounds great!”


Blogger Kerry B said...

He was a great man who is still daily missed by friends and family. But we all can take comfort in knowing that when we hear thunder, it is just Tom welding or building something in heaven. Love to all.

5:48 AM  

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