Family Mattters: Keeping the Home Fires Burning

While Tom Schrack Sr. is the leader of the family business, it is his wife Mary that serves as the stabilizing factor at home for FE&S' 2011 Hall of Fame Award winner.

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"She was not real happy about buying the company but it was one of the best things we ever did," he says. "Buying the company really stabilized our family. Mary held the family together. When Godfather's was really booming I was working 80 to 100 hours a week, she provided stability. I took off when I had to see the kids' games and such but she kept things going at home. Mary gets a word in here or there and keeps tabs on the business but she's more of the grandma."

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The couple has 17 grandchildren and one great-grandchild and Mary continues to form a bond with the next generation of Schracks. "The kids love her. They know she has a great head on her shoulders and they love to just come for a visit," Schrack says.

"Mom is the backbone," says Mary Parr. "She controls everything. Dad brought home the paycheck but mom worked it all out. She was supportive of dad and everything he had to do. She held all of us kids — and now the grandkids — together. She's a very strong lady."

Perhaps it is her role as a devoted wife, mother and grandmother that allows Mary to voice a well-thought out opinion about a business issue, when the time is right. "When we opened these other stores outside of Omaha, their mother said, no, they could not go there to run them," Schrack says. "She wanted the kids and the grandkids closer to home."

A key component of Schrack's legacy is his ability to put family first, even during the busiest of periods. "I don't ever remember mom complaining about him working so much or being gone so much," Tom Jr. says. "I remember when I was in grade school and high school he had to work a couple of jobs. But when we were playing sports, I could look up in the stands and see him at every game. I knew that was hard but every event we had he was there. Now as a parent you understand what you have to give of yourself to be that kind of a father. He set that kind of example."

Paul Parr agrees and adds, "Tom is constantly working and yet always seems to have a balance. He makes time for work and family. I don't know how he does it. I have been there for 25 years and I have learned so much from him by just watching. He has taught me so much about work and family."
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