Name: Brock, Robert Lee, Sr.
Burial Date: 1998, 06/13
Age at Death: 73
Plot Location: 954 G
Notes: dh/Mary Louise(Heim)Hamilton/Carol(?)/ ? /Cyndee Dootson/ ? (?)
US Navy Air Corps
Robert L. Brock
Born: December 27, 1924, Pawnee Rock, Kansas; died: June 7, 1998 in Dallas, Texas.
Robert L. Brock was born December 27, 1924, in Pawnee Rock, Kansas, to Eddie R. and Vivian C. Brock. Before entering the University of Kansas, he served in the Naval Air Corps as an electronics technician. In spring 1950 Brock earned his bachelor’s degree and a year later earned his law degree both from the University of Kansas. Brock was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity where he met his best friend and future business partner Edwin Linquist. Brock was also a member of the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity and Phi Beta Kappa honor society.
The two fraternity brothers entered a business partnership with the goal of creating a profitable real estate venture. The first project of Brock and Linquist was a golf driving range on U.S. 24 in North Topeka. In 1948 Brock and Linquist invested $6,000 in the project that proved to be a slow and unstable pay off. In order to save their partnership, the young entrepreneurs began to lease portions of the property to bring in a steady flow of revenue. Then they built a small office building and three service stations to expand their company.
In 1956 the partners developed their own hotel company and purchased their first Holiday Inn franchise, which they built on the same site as their driving range in North Topeka. The hotel venture was such a large success that by 1976 Brock Hotel Corporation supervised more than 7,000 employees and owned or managed 75 Holiday Inns in 21 states. The Wall Street Journal said Brock was “the guru of the hotel industry.”
The partners found success with indoor pool and entertainment centers known as Holidomes. Expanding his entrepreneurial expertise, Brock created the ShowBiz Pizza Place restaurant and the Residence Inn, Park Inn, and Park Plaza hotels. In 1981 Brock’s first ShowBiz restaurant was opened in Kansas after reaching a settlement in a lawsuit with Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theatre; eight years later the two companies would merge under the name of Chuck E. Cheese Entertainment. In 1982 Brock moved his 600 Brock Hotel Corporation employees to Dallas, Texas.
Brock served as president of the Kansas Young Democrats from 1959 to 1960, chairman of the Second Congressional District Democrats from 1966 to 1973, and state party chairman from 1974 to 1975. He also served on the board of directors for Kansas Power & Light Company, Topeka Savings Foundation, Fidelity State Bank in Topeka, the Menninger Foundation, the Villages, and Topeka Flood Control Association.
In 1973 Brock was named Kansan of the Year by the Native Sons and Daughters. Four years later, he received the University of Kansas Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Citation, and the Fred Ellsworth Medallion in 1980 for his work as trustee of the University Endowment Association from 1978 to 1985. He was a member of the Hill Society of the Chancellor’s Club for his donation of $100,000 or more to K.U. and his support of the Williams Fund for Athletics, the school of business, the art museum, and alumni center.
Brock died June 7, 1998 in Dallas, Texas. He was buried in Sterling, Kansas.
Robert L. Brock graduated from Sterling High School in 1942. After being discharged from the Naval Air Corps in June of 1946, he completed his AB Degree and LLB Degree from the University of Kansas.
Brock served as President of the International Association of Holiday Inns and was President and Ehairman of the Board of Brock Hotel Corporation, a diversified lodging, food service and entertainment company. The Brock Hotel Corporation was the largest franchise-holder in the Holiday Inn System.
Brock served as Vice Chairman of the Kansas Commission on Executive Reorganization, as attorney for the Securities Commissioner of Kansas, as a member of the Small Business Administration Advisory Council, as a member of the Shawnee County Welfare Advisory Committee and the Topeka Human Relations commission, as Assistant Attorney for Topeka, as Executive Reserve Defense Resources Liaison Officer for the State of Kansas, and on the Advisory Council of the Kansas Center for Regional Progress.
His non-governmental community service includes work as Co-Chairman of the Boy’s Clubs of Topeka Building Fund Campaign, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Menninger Foundation, a member of the Borad of Direcotrs and Executive Committee of The Villages, Inc., and a member of the Executive Council of St. Francis Hospital in Topeka. He was also a member of the Board of Advisors of the University of Kansas School of Business, a Trustee of the KU Endowment Association and a member of the KU Chancellor’s Club.
Mr. Brock has served on the Boards of Directors of Kansas Power and Light Company, Fidelity Banks of topeka, and Topeka Savings Association.
In 1973, Brock was honored as Kansan of the Year for distinguished service to Kansas in a presentation made by Governor Docking at the annual banquet of the Kansas Native Sons and Daughters.
In 1980, Brock was a recipient of the Fred Ellsworth Medallion, the highest award given for unique and significant service to the University of Kansas by its Endowment Association and was named “1980 Kansan of Distinction in Business” by the Topeka Capital Journal.
Other honors received include: the Distinguished Service Citation from the University of Kansas at its Commencement Exercises in 1977; a honorary Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the Washburn University school of Law in 1979; Kansas Innkeeper of the Year by the Kansas Hotel and Motel Association and Top TEKE Alumnus by his national social fraternity in 1973.
Brock served as Democratic State Chairman, Chairman of the Second congressional District, and as Executive Director of the Carter Campaign in Kansas. He is a past president of the Young Democratic Clubs of Kansas and has been a delegate on to occasions to the Democratic National Convention.