The Tyler County Dogwood Festival has announced Harold Estes of Lufkin, as "Mr. East Texas" 2016. The Mr. East Texas Award is presented each year to the East Texan that best exemplifies the spirit and quality of leadership which advances, shapes and gives direction to the growth and progress of East Texas. Festival Executive Buck Hudson stated that Mr. Estes was selected for his dedication to the growth and development of the East Texas timber industry and for his charitable support of local programs and organizations. Estes will be accepting the award Saturday, April 2, during the Dogwood Pageant.
Mr. Estes was born in the mountains of North Carolina in 1940. As the only boy in a family of four children, he was reared by a stay-at-home mom and a father who worked in construction, logging and farming. Most of his father's work was seasonal due to the harsh winters and Harold had to pitch in to help him with it. He was skidding logs down the mountain with a draft horse by the age of six, and learned how to use a chain saw and fall a tree soon after, so forestry seemed the natural choice as a profession. He dreamed of going to college, but did not have enough money even with scholarships. He was able to get a construction job in Greenland for two summers that afforded him the opportunity to go to college.
He chose to attend Mars Hill College, a small Baptist two-year school, tucked away in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. He transferred to the University of Georgia from Mars Hill in 1964 where he majored in Forestry, and later he attended a number of business classes at Georgia State University.
He met his future bride of 52 years while at Mars Hills. He had no plans of marriage, but she thought otherwise although it took her three years to finish her degree and close the marriage deal. With a sound education and a new wife, he was ready to pursue his dream of a logging business; but, one needs money for such dreams and the "hounds of poverty" were still chasing him. He took work as a forester and later as a salesman for Timberjack.
After holding a number of jobs with Timberjack, he was transferred to Lufkin as manager of their factory store. He bought the factory store and renamed it Texas Timberjack in 1984. Subsequently, he has been engaged in real estate development, scrap metal, various oil and gas activities, sawmill and wood treating, and other such business endeavors. He has also served on the board of directors for Overhill Farms, TreeCon Resources and Newton Bancshares.
He and his wife, Conni, have 2 sons and 3 grandchildren. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends. He loves to fish in the Kenai River in Alaska and travel with his oldest grandson. As most who know him knows, he also loves to make a deal.
Harold Estes realized his dream of owning a business in the timber industry here in the woods of East Texas, and for more than 30 years he has generously given back to the region through his support of many charities. With private funds and through The Estes Education and Charitable Foundation, Mr. Estes has supported educational scholarships in area schools, Harmony Hill Baptist Church, Mosaic Center, Museum of East Texas, Junior League, Ellen Trout Zoo, The Joseph House, Harold's House, Texas Forestry Museum, Angelina Arts Alliance, Lufkin Landscape Task Force, Marine Corps