THE 2021 DON AND DONA
The first Don & Dona were chosen in 1956. During that year, the honor was a closely held secret, known only to a select few, and the couple chosen as Don and Dona wasn't actually revealed until the night of the Algodon Ball. The Algodon Club continues to honor this tradition to this day.
The Algodon Club is very excited to present our 2021 Don and Dona, Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Farris.
2021 DON AND DOÑA
Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Farris
Bobby was born to Robert G. and Betty Farris on August 14, 1956 in Harlingen. He grew up in Harlingen with his two younger brothers, Bill and Brad. As a young man during the summers in Harlingen, Bobby would work as a lifeguard at the Harlingen Country Club, grab some dinner, then work at the Rio Grande Oil Mill on their night shift, weighing trucks filled with cotton seed. Between those shifts, you could also find Bobby working the fields under the guidance and mentorship of Carl Lee Tanberg. It was under Mr. Tanberg’s ever so watchful eye, that Bobby learned the value of an honest day's work for an honest day's pay!
Bobby attended the Marine Military Academy, where he was on the Dean’s List. After graduation, Bobby attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Finance from the McComb’s School of Business. He later attended St. Edward’s University in Austin and in 1980, he received his Master’s of Business Administration in Finance. While there, he was a member of the Delta Mu Delta National Business Honor Society.
After graduating from St. Edward’s, Bobby returned to Harlingen to begin working at Valley Transit Company, which was founded by his grandfather in 1941. Bobby served as President of VTC from 1999 to 2015, overseeing intercity, airport shuttle, charter, and package express service. A life-long learner, Bobby holds a Texas Real Estate Broker License, is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), holds a US Coast Guard license as an Offshore Master Captain. His favorite pastime, besides spending time with family, is flying. Bobby is an accomplished pilot, holding multi-engine and instrument ratings, as well as a second-in-command rating in the B-25.
The Farris family has long been involved in Rio Grande Valley Banking. Robert G. Farris, Bobby’s father, helped organize Harlingen State Bank in 1974. After Harlingen State Bank sold to Texas State Bank in 1999, Bobby served as a TSB director until 2007, when the bank sold to BBVA. He also was elected to the Board of Texas Regional Bancshares in 2005. In 2010, Texas Regional Bank was formed, and Bobby was elected to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors. He also serves on the Board of Texas State Bancshares. Currently, Bobby is President of Texas Regional Bank’s Wealth Management Division.
Bobby is known throughout the Valley for his business acumen, community involvement, and philanthropy. His strong record of community and public service is evident by his associations with many numerous non-profit and philanthropic organizations. He has served as President or Chairman of the Board of the American Heart Association, the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation, Harlingen Waterworks, United Way of Harlingen, the Valley Baptist Foundation, and the Texas Bus Association. Additionally, Bobby has sat on the Salvation Army Board, Loaves and Fishes Foundation, the University of Texas Business Administration Foundation Board, and the University of Texas, Brownsville Development Board. He has served as Budget Chairman for Gladys Porter Zoo, on the Texas Bar Association Grievance Committee, as a Harlingen City Commissioner, and on the Valley International Airport Board of Directors.
Bobby married Robin Ewbank, originally from Tyler, Texas, in 1981 after meeting at the University of Texas at Austin. They will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year. Robin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981 with a Bachelors of Social Work with Honors, and was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority. Upon graduation, Robin worked at Harlingen State Bank, then later at InterFirst Bank (now Bank of America) as their Lobby Supervisor. Taking a break from the workforce to raise their children, she continued to support the community by serving on numerous boards and organizations. The Junior League of Harlingen, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society of the Rio Grande Valley, Lower Valley Cotillion, and the Lower Valley Panhellenic were some of the organizations she was associated with. She also served on the board of CASA of South Texas (Court Appointed Special Advocacy), the First United Methodist Church SPRC and Board of Trustees, and the Texas International Fishing Tournament (for 26 years). Later, after the children were older, Robin went to work at St. Alban’s Episcopal Day school as a preschool teacher and then later as their preschool music teacher. She then graduated up to working with high schoolers when she became the Public Affairs Officer at the Marine Military Academy. She then accepted the position as the College Guidance Counselor. She retired from MMA after 11 years to become “Shugie” to four adorable grandchildren.
Currently, Robin continues to contribute to the betterment of the Rio Grande Valley by serving on the Habitat for Humanity Rio Grande Valley Board of Directors, the Children’s Bereavement Center of the Rio Grande Valley, and is Vice Chairman of Sea Turtle Inc. on South Padre Island. She is also a member of P.E.O. Chapter T of Harlingen, and served most recently on the P.E.O. Texas State Board as Chairman of the Cottey College Scholarship Funds committee.
Bobby and Robin have two children, Robert Houston Farris, and his wife Christy, and HollyAnne Farris Jenkins and her husband, Daniel. Houston served as scepter bearer to Christian Rene Youker in 1990. HollyAnne was a Little Princess to Lisa Carstensen Cherrington in 1992. She was crowned Algodon Queen in 2006. The Farris Family has been involved with Algodon for many years, starting with Bobby’s father, Robert Farris, serving as President of the Algodon Board in 1966. Bobby and Robin also served on the Algodon Board from 1984 – 1987. They continually support the organization by attending the coronation and the First Bale Auction and Scholarship fundraiser.
Bobby and Robin are members of First United Methodist Church of Harlingen. They enjoy spending time together with their family traveling, hanging out on South Padre Island, looking at wildlife at the ranch, and spending as much time as they can with their four grandchildren, Holden Farris (9-yrs old), Caroline (8-yrs old), Catherine (6 ½-yrs old), and Collier (19 months) Jenkins.
They would like to thank everyone for this honor and will continue to support and promote the cotton industry for many years to come.