To The Editor,

In the early 1990’s I received a phone call about a property on I-35E from someone I had never met. The person had a strong accent and I knew he was not from Maypearl. We set an appointment to meet on the I-35E service road, just south of FM 387 and the Love’s Convenience Store. It was an unusually cold day with temperatures in the low 30’s and the wind was blowing in excess of 25 – 30 m.p.h.  As I approached the man dressed in a long black overcoat and black hat, he smiled and introduced himself as Ali. He told me he wanted to buy the land located to the south of Love’s so he could add it to the Love’s property and have a truck plaza. Unfortunately, we were unable to acquire the additional acreage. The deal died and we went our separate ways.  

In 1995, I had the 54 acres at the southwest corner of I-35E and Ovilla Road under contract to an individual. The contract was then assigned to two others, R.C. Harris and Ali Sharaf.  After they sold to McDonald’s, CVS (Eckerd’s at that time) and Brookshire’s, Ali bought out his partner and became the sole owner of the rest of the property. We then sold to all of the other businesses you now see at this corner.

There are numerous other real estate transactions we have completed since 1995, including convenience stores and land development tracts. Ali was a visionary and could see things no one else could. He is responsible for creating thousands of jobs in many different communities.  

In 2008, we talked about a convenience store company located in south Texas and how it went public with the owner making millions of dollars. I asked Ali, “Why don’t you do this?”  His reply was, “What would happen to my people?” He cared so much for his team (employees) that he would not sell just to benefit himself.  

Back to the opening paragraph, just a couple of years ago I realized that the Ali I met in the early 1990’s was the same Ali I had been dealing with for years. When we talked about this, he told me the reason he wanted the Love’s C-Store was because his wife, Guhaina liked the name of the store and he wanted to give it to her as a present.

Ali Sharaf has left this earth, but he will never leave my heart and the hearts of many others. Rest in Peace, My Friend.

Joe Rust,