Robert Edward Lee Tarrant
Graveside services for Robert L. Tarrant, 98, of Bullard were held at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 2 with a nephew, John Cole Jr. officiating.
Burial was in the Tarrant Cemetery on Tarrant Ranch.
Mr. Tarrant died Tuesday, March 1 at his son’s home on the ranch at Bullard.
He was born Dec. 20, 1906 and was named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. His birthplace was one mile north of Bullard. Shortly after his birth, his father moved back to the longtime Tarrant properties south of Bullard on the old Larissa Road. He lived on this property most of his life. He went through the sixth grade in Bullard and worked on his father’s farm until 1926 when he went to barber school in Little Rock, Ark.
After that he operated a barber shop on the east side of the square in Frankston.
He met Myrtle Levassar and they were married April 28, 1928 and in 1930 he moved back to his father’s farm.
Mr. Tarrant later had jobs with the Bishop Brick Co. and the Cameron Iron Works, an oil field supply company, in Houston.
In 1946, he purchased 410 acres of land which joined his father’s 560 acres and moved from Houston. He built a seven-room house on this property and lived there until his death.
In the 1940s, like everyone else farming in East Texas, he raised cotton, corn, watermelons, tomatoes and some cattle.
In the 1950s he built chicken houses and raised broilers. In the 1960s, coastal bermuda grass, livestock and hay became the main source of income.
In the 1970s, Mr. Tarrant built his herd of registered grey Brahman cattle into the largest Brahman herd owned by one individual in the United States, 600 head at the time. He developed the only herd of black Brahman cattle in the U.S. He exported cattle to Thailand, South Africa and Mexico.
He was dedicated to soil and water conservation practices and wildlife preservation.
He was preceded in death by his father, Hugh Tarrant, a lifelong resident of Bullard; his mother, Ellen Pearson Tarrant, originally from the Troup area; his wife of 73 years Myrtle Levassar Tarrant, originally from Frankston; all of his six brothers and sisters; and all but one of his 121 cousins.
He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Mary Anne Tarrant of Bullard; two grandsons and their wives, Jim Jr. and Cindy Tarrant and Ken and Brandy Tarrant, all of Bullard; five great grandchildren and including Frankston area relatives by kin or marriage and many friends in Tyler, Jacksonville and Frankston areas.
Pallbearers were Jim Tarrant, Jim Tarrant Jr., Ken Tarrant, Matt Tarrant, Ben Tarrant and Will Tarrant.