“A man with dreams needs a woman with vision. Her perspective, faith and support will change his reality. If she doesn’t challenge you, then she’s no good for you. Men who want to stay ordinary will tell you not to have expectations of them. Men who want to be great will expect you to push them, pray with them and invest in them.” – Unknown
HOUSTON – Typical married couples live a lifetime either building or attempting to build a successful empire for themselves and their offspring. Though some fall short of completing the task, ordinary human behavior has the tendency to motivate people to pursue a sense of security for those closest to them, who they will one day leave behind.
On the contrary, Roy Douglas and Shirley Ann Malonson, whom are both legends in their own right, have selflessly dedicated their entire marriage to caring for the greater good of humanity.
The Dynamic Duo
Prior to being united in holy matrimony by Pastor Bill Lawson in 1982, both Roy Douglas and Shirley Ann had already began leaving remarkable and historical footprints in the sand.
Shirley Ann was the only child birthed to Mrs. Leola A. and Mr. Kye D. Williams. After the passing of her parents, she was raised in Lilly White community by her grandmother, Mrs. Willie Frances Johnson.
She is a product of the Houston Independent School District, where she graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1955 and also furthered her education at Texas Southern University.
One of her first “semblances” as a legend came following integration; at that time, she became a “Door Opener” to help create job opportunities for Blacks in Corporate America. In the 60’s she was strategically selected as 1 of 3 first Black people hired in the Data Processing/Computer Department at First City National Bank, the largest bank in Downtown Houston.
By the time she retired as Assistant Vice President/Consumer Loan Officer, Shirley Ann had become a proud symbol of success to local Blacks around Houston. Pastor F. N. Williams recently affirmed this fact in a video tribute to the duo.
“First City National Bank was the first to hire a Black woman as an officer in the bank. Mrs. Malonson was the first Black woman and she rose to official status. So much so, they made her attractive – they put a red carpet on the window and put her in the window – where the public could see her as they passed down the streets – main streets and there she was, sitting at her desk. And as a result of that many of us deposited our monies, our means, our church monies at that bank. She is a first, and we certainly applaud her for that…Paving the way for other Blacks to be involved in banking…Carry on Mrs. Malonson you are still doing a good job!”
-Pastor F.N. Williams, Sr. Antioch MBC
Roy Douglas stems from a family of 11 and was raised in the Acreage Homes community by his father John Curley Malonson. Despite being stricken with polio at six-months of age and walking with braces to help correct partial paralysis; his vision to succeed remained undeterred. Encouraged by his father and equipped with his own measure of volition, Roy Douglas initiated an entrepreneurial journey as early as age seven.
From his savings of shining shoes, recycling bottles and later apprenticing as a wood-worker; he purchased his first home at the age of 16. Before graduating from George Washington Carver High School in 1968, he had become a master trimmer and sole owner of Roy’s Woodworking Company, the forerunner to the much-accomplished Malonson Construction Company. He later attended the University of St. Thomas. By the year, 1980, he was named to a short list of America’s best remodelers and builders, the only African-American to be included at that time.
Building an Empire
Following, Roy Douglas took all of his earnings over the years and invested in land, buying two acres adjacent to a third acre he had his eye on. Negotiations with the owner, Shirley Ann developed into a friendship, marriage and eventually a dynamic business partnership and a phenomenal community-engagement relationship. After marrying in 1982, the couple established RS Ranch in Acreage Homes on 23 acres of land. Several years later, after Shirley Ann’s retirement and the recurrence of Post-Polio Syndrome health issues emerged for Roy Douglas; the couple decided to transition from the construction industry to devoting more time to community service engagement and the inception of several new business ventures.
Thus, the Malonson’s established Shirley Ann’s Black Art & Kollectibles Showroom, the largest Black Art & Kollectibles Showroom in Texas and one of the largest in the nation in 1992. In 1996, the Malonson’s founded African-American News & Issues, the largest African-American newspaper in Texas with a Black perspective, addressing current and historical realities. Two years later, the Dynamic Duo set out on a mission to ensure pizza was delivered throughout the African-American community. Consequently, they purchased two Domino’s Pizza restaurants and later controlled a total of ten in Houston. Once their objective was met, they sold the restaurants.
In 2004, the couple purchased a 251-acres ranch from the legendary race car driver A.J. Foyt Jr. in Waller County, becoming one of two African-American Whitetail Deer Breeders in the nation. In 2013 Shirley Ann’s Flower Shop was incepted. The following year RS Deer & Cattle Ranch was birthed in Waller County.
As community organizer’s, the Malonson’s founded the Acres Home Citizen Chamber of Commerce, focusing on business, community development and education; the Acres Home Community Development Corp, focusing on housing; the Acres Home Coalition for School Improvement, the first charter school in Texas and the Acres Home Center for Business & Economic Development.
The Malonson’s became the driving force behind Aldine ISD Montessori/Magnet Programs, Lone Star Community College System Victory Center and closed the deal on the Acres Home Multi-Service Center, Acres Home Repair program and the Acres Home Police Station. Through their encouragement, the Acreage Homes community was able to get neighborhood-based policing. The Malonson’s have also helped preserve the legacy of the National Black United Front.
They were also instrumental and helped found the Vietnamese Community Center. Mr. Joseph Do, Director of the Vietnamese Community Center shared the influence Malonson has had on him in their efforts.
He stated, “He is my mentor, he teach me everything, you know, good, bad, and ugly things.”
Additionally, the Malonson’s helped found the Acres Home War on Drugs, the first community War on Drugs in the nation. This initiative garnered the attention of then-President George H.W. Bush, who patterned the nation’s War on Drugs effort after the one started in Acreage Homes.
Former President Bush also quoted Roy Douglas’ stating, “We have to have personal accountability.”
Considering the above, it is no secret why over 400 people rallied together to help celebrate this Dynamic Duo on February 22. The Acres Home Chamber for Business & Economic Development, chaired by Mr. Warren Fitzgerald Muhammad, held its 30th Annual Awards Banquet, honoring the Malonson’s for dedicating over 35-years of impeccable service to the Acreage Homes community and onward.