Christians are in the business of remembering. We do this both in days of despair and in days of celebration. Today we remember, reflect, and rejoice Tom Frost’s extraordinary life.

Tom was a devoted husband, a family man. He was disciplined. He led a church-centered life. He was a relationship builder with a strong commitment to others. He was brilliant, and he had a huge heart.

Don Frost honors his father during a speech before announcing the winner of the 'Lifetime Achievement' award.
Don Frost honors his father during a speech before announcing the winner of the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award in September 2017. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

He and my mom recently celebrated their 67th anniversary. Mom, the devotion you and Dad have for each other has amazed us our entire lives. You surprised all of us when Dad first went into the hospital and he couldn’t communicate, but you found a way. You told us you used a secret code every night before you went to bed – you would squeeze his hand: “I love you … do you love me?” And he would respond and squeeze back, “Yes, I love you.” And then you would squeeze: “How much?” Then you both would squeeze your hands together tightly. Even the doctors agreed that he was communicating.

Pat Frost (center) is escorted by Helen Loring Dear (center left) and Thomas Frost III (right) towards Rev. Dr. Patrick Gahan outside of the church following the ceremony.
Porter Loring Mortuaries President Helen Loring Dear (left) and Thomas Frost III (right) escort Pat Frost (center) toward Rev. Patrick Gahan following the memorial ceremony for Tom Frost. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Mom, you were so generous in sharing him with everyone in San Antonio, and it was your strong devotion to him that was the foundation for his success. Over the last month you have channeled Dad’s strength, and all of us are inspired by you. Stay strong, we all love you so much.

Tom Frost’s discipline was instilled in him by his parents, especially by his adoring mother Ilse, who always had the highest expectations. This discipline produced a perfect report card. Dad was valedictorian of all of his graduating classes at the San Antonio Academy, TMI, and Washington and Lee University. And no one excelled as he did on the report card of life.

He played golf and tennis until he was 90, even in the summer heat. He would tell me, “There’s less humidity at 4 p.m. than at 8 in the morning.” While he strived for perfection in all areas of his life and mainly achieved it, his golf and tennis game etiquette frequently “needed improvement.” He censored his language for the family, but many of his friends remember outbursts that shouldn’t be repeated in a place of worship.

His demand for perfection spilled over to everyone and challenged us all to be our best. Sometimes he could be hard on himself and would become a little grumpy, so Mom would lovingly refer to him as “Billy goat gruff.”

Some of you probably know this Tom pretty well.

He was at home in this church. Dad’s faith was the center of his strength. His walk with Christ grew during the tough times in the 1980s.

While the church certainly saved Tom Frost, like it has saved many people, Tom Frost saved this church.

The crowd overflows outside the front door of the church before the ceremony.
Attendees enter Christ Episcopal Church for Tom Frost’s memorial service. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Dad confessed his sins, shared his joys, asked for heavenly strength, and received the body and blood of his Savior on those kneelers.

Before that very cross, he was baptized, confirmed, and married. His children, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have enjoyed many of the same sacraments with him in front of it. We know he rests easier being celebrated here today before that same cross that meant so much to him.

Tom Frost had a brilliant and open mind. When the world struggled to agree on an issue, he always elevated the conversation and sought to be fair and respectful to all. He was our moral compass. He was amazing. Even at his age he was able to accept our changing world and appreciate our differences. We should all take a page from his playbook and recognize his lessons.

Tom Frost elevated the standards of character, integrity, caring, excellence, discipline and commitment to such a high level that it will be difficult for any of us to match the standard he set.

He was a relationship builder, and he never stopped nurturing them. Life is less about the summary of your achievements and more about the collection of moments. He believed these special moments happened through relationships with one another. Most of us collect objects; Dad collected relationships.

Frost Bank Chairman Emeritus Tom Frost Jr. shakes hands with Frost Bank Board Chair and CEO Phil Green.
Frost Bank Chairman Emeritus Tom C. Frost IV (right) shakes hands with Frost Bank Board Chair and CEO Phil Green during the groundbreaking of the Frost Tower in March. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

He had the ability to build these relationships at the most intimate level, and we all experienced a special moment with him. Dad was loved and respected by so many, because he loved and respected so many. His family cherished each visit, and during family gatherings he made everyone feel so special. Dad was happiest with family surrounding him.

He left his fingerprints on many organizations. The bank has certainly carried on his legacy. He was so proud of both the bank’s growth and the city’s growth, as he taught his bankers we are only as strong as our market and the customers we serve. Every employee projects his values and strengthens the culture of our organization in their daily work by serving others. We are grateful and in awe of the way the bank employees have followed his lead, worked together, and achieved such success.

He was a tough nut with a marshmallow center. He loved animals. He loved to read, and he loved the jumble and the daily comics.

He lived a humble, simple life.

When he travelled for business, he took the “company plane,” Southwest Airlines. And at the Spurs games he frequented, he bypassed the Saddles and Spurs club to get his favorite Whataburger and a Shiner Bock. His weekend uniform was khakis, red wings, and an ancient open road hat covered in turkey feathers.

He loved beer. He had a beer can collection that snaked its way around the upper reaches of the living room at the ranch. Friends would bring him beer from all over the world. But his collection had rules: beer was to be consumed by him, right there at the ranch.

He knew the names of all the neighborhood dogs and would visit with them along his walking route. He would engage in a full canine conversation by narrating both sides, the dog’s thoughts and his.

He savored his weekends at the ranch. He could escape from his daily responsibilities and relish in his childhood memories there. His longhorn steer Ferdinand was like a family pet. He would come running to the sound of Dad’s ranch truck. Mom was always scared that Ferdinand would hurt Dad with his huge horns when he got out to feed him. We all remember the day Ferdinand died: Dad cried.

Just like Ferdinand, Tom was larger than life with a heart just as big.

On behalf of our entire family we want to thank you all for the generous outpouring of your prayers, love, and support. Each of you have honored us by being here today. Every visit, letter, phone call, email, or text has lifted us up to carry on and has given us peace and comfort.

Tom, Dad, Granddaddy, we love you so much and we miss you – your steadfast guidance, your moral compass, and your gift of life. You have given us a clear blueprint on how to live an abundant, joyful life. Your family will continue to live our lives with the values you modeled for us.

Character Endures.

God Bless You.

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Don Frost

Don Frost is the president of Frost Bank.