Tom Willard was born in the Paradise Valley of Montana, in the tiny town of Pray. With a start like that, we should have known to expect great things! He and his three brothers grew up working in their parents’ gas station and movie theater. Tom then moved on to a job working summers in Yellowstone Park.
Tom graduated with a degree in business from the University of Montana and joined the Army as an officer during the Vietnam War. He commanded a competition rifle and pistol team, and later assumed command of the Army Air Defense Command Honor Guard.
After serving his county, Tom entered the field of commercial real estate development, eventually co-founding The Foundation for Affordable Housing (FFAH) with his wife Deborrah in 1991. Tom’s initial focus was on creating senior housing, and he also served as President of several other branches of FFAH, sharing his expertise with the extended FFAH family of nonprofits. Under his leadership, the Foundation created hundreds of housing developments that housed many thousands of families across the United States.
This December, Tom announced he is stepping away from the day-to-day leadership of the Foundation to serve as President Emeritus for the organization. This will mean less work time for him and, hopefully, more play time. His wife Deborrah continues to lead the Foundation along with his son Darrin.
Tom intends to spend his days traveling, learning new things, and enjoying the company of his family. Fortunately, his spectacular grandchildren Nathan, Emerson, and Georgia live in Bend, as do Darrin, his daughter-in-law Paige, and his daughter Alexandra.
Congratulations, Tom, on an incredible career dedicated to providing affordable housing to those who most need it. Enjoy your well-earned play time with family and friends.