There are a lot of Rhodes in & around the Park Cities, and if you count the extended family, the number grows to well over 30 (at last count). “My grandfather went to Armstrong [elementary], and since none of us ever wanted to leave, we’ve had a lot of time to multiply!” says Burton.  Burton & Lesley Rhodes both grew up in the Park Cities attending Armstrong & UP elementaries, respectively, and are graduates of Highland Park’s class of 1995. With a graduating class size of under 240, you would think they would have been close friends, but their paths never really crossed until college.

Both attended UT in Austin, and it wasn’t until their junior year when Lesley asked Burton to a Kappa mixer that their relationship really began. “I always thought Lesley was a total catch, but I didn’t have the guts to ask her out,” jokes Burton. “I was actually going to ask another guy out of obligation, but one my friends, Allyson Greenfield (a lifelong friend & Park Cities resident), said to ask the guy I wanted to go with… so I did,” adds Lesley. It’s no accident that Allyson Greenfield was one of Lesley’s bridesmaids.

Lesley was a Communications & Advertising major in college and wanted to move out to San Francisco after graduating. “My parents lived in San Francisco in the early 70’s, and they have the best memories of that city,” says Lesley. Graduating with an MIS degree from the School of Business and hoping to stay near Lesley, Burton was able to land a job with Anderson Consulting in their San Francisco office. They both headed out to the West Coast, each with a group of friends, where they lived for the next three years. “It was an amazing time… getting to spend part of our lives in one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” says Lesley.

However, in 2001, the dot com bubble burst. “There was a mass exodus, and it was as if the entire city was laid off at the same time,” says Burton.  Needing to find a new job and always really wanting to end up in the Park Cities, Burton moved home to work for his dad in residential real estate. “I told my dad that I would only be able to work for him for 6 months until I found a ‘real job’ in technology. Needless to say, I’m still at it after 21 years and have never been happier.” Getting Lesley back to Dallas, though, wasn’t as easy. “I knew the only way to get her back to Dallas was to propose,” says Burton.

Knowing what he had to do, Burton bought a ring, flew out to San Francisco, and went to ask the love his life to spend the rest of their days in Dallas. “When we were apart, we wrote letters to each other – and I’m not sure how it started, but we would end each one with a question for the other to answer. So before I proposed, I had one last letter to deliver with one very important question.”

After marrying in 2003, Burton and Lesley have since grown their family to five with 3 beautiful girls – Emory, Ellis, and Clary. Emory is 16 and currently a junior at HP where she runs track. Ellis, 15, is a freshman and is a member of the Highland Belles. The youngest, Clary, is 11 and in 5th grade, and she enjoys dance, gymnastics, and track.

In talking with Burton & Lesley, it’s apparent that they love the Park Cities community. Whether it’s volunteering at one of the kids’ schools, attending one of their daughters’ many sporting events, playing tennis at the club, organizing a game of Mah Jongg with friends, or going out to Mi Cocina for a family dinner in Highland Park Village, the Rhodes are always happiest when community is involved.

And when Burton isn’t selling homes, he donates much of his time to Preservation Park Cities. PPC is a local organization whose mission is to celebrate and promote the preservation of Park Cities architecture, history, and cultural traditions.  “Both of our parents instilled in us the importance of giving back,” says Lesley. Her mother, Joan Clark, encouraged Burton to get involved several years ago, and he is currently serving as this year’s President. “As President, there is an enormous responsibility to make sure the momentum of the organization continues. It’s painful to see some people destroying the very thing that made them want to live here in the first place.” Lesley continued, “Burton and I don’t want the Park Cities to lose its character. You don’t have to save every old home, but the rate at which many are being torn down is alarming. Some homes are simply worth saving.”

Locked into Highland Park with no plans to leave, they say this community is different. “It’s hard to leave something like this,” they shared. “When we were in California, we rarely met locals. They were all transplants of some kind, and there was no real sense of community. The Park Cities is different. It’s a special place, and our family is here. It’s nearly impossible to reproduce something like this anywhere else.”