Tom J. Fatjo Jr.

September 25, 1940January 24, 2019

Tom Joseph Fatjo, Jr., beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend passed away peacefully to be with his Lord and Savior on Thursday, the 24th of January 2019. Tom was a true visionary. He was born the 25th of September 1940 and raised in Richmond, Texas by his loving parents Tom J. Fatjo, Sr. and Doris Cooper Fatjo. Early experiences at his father’s various enterprises led him to a lifetime of entrepreneurship having a lasting impact on countless lives. Tom was the ultimate optimist and believed there was nothing that could not be accomplished. His charismatic personality and positive attitude became a foundation for his ability to attract, develop and lead his business partners. His honesty and integrity were hallmarks of who he was. He attended Rice University and graduated in 1963 with a degree in Accounting and Economics. While attending Rice, Tom played football and served as captain of the golf team. He remained a loyal supporter of Rice University and the University of Texas athletics throughout his life. In 2008, he was selected to receive Rice University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Tom was no stranger to dreaming big. Early in his career, he came across a challenge to improve waste collection in his neighborhood. Tom embraced this challenge which led to the creation of Browning-Ferris Industries. Under Tom’s leadership, BFI became one of the largest waste management companies in the nation. This entrepreneurial venture was only the beginning. Tom has been the founder and major shareholder in many different businesses including Fannin Bank, Mortgage Banque, American Title Co. and Criterion Management. Tom shared his creative enterprise process through authoring the book “With No Fear of Failure.” In 1979, driven by a personal passion towards health and fitness, Tom developed the Houstonian Hotel and Fitness Center along with the Houstonian Estates. His expertise in health and fitness resulted in his appointment to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. During this time, Tom ran over 30 marathons, including 13 Boston Marathons. Tom returned to his roots in the waste business in 1990 and over the next 10 years founded Republic Waste, TransAmerican Waste and Waste Corporation of America. Tom is a true “pioneer and founder of the modern-day solid waste industry.” Above all, Tom was devoted to his family. He especially enjoyed spending time together in Galveston and at his beloved Texas Hill Country ranch. Tom was also deeply spiritual which influenced all aspects of his life. He is preceded in death by his parents and former wife, Amy Elizabeth Fatjo. He is survived by his loving wife of 25 years, Shawnna Cochran Fatjo; Children Kimberly Fatjo Ruud and husband Lance, Thomas Joseph Fatjo, III and wife Wendy, Austin Joseph Fatjo and wife Ally, Ashley Elizabeth Fatjo, Jacqueline Jett Fatjo, Channing Riley Fatjo and Jordan Ross Lally and wife Elizabeth; Grandchildren Jessica, Landon and Justin Ruud and Berkeley, Thomas IV and Travis Fatjo. Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o’clock in the afternoon until seven o’clock in the evening on Monday, the 28th of January, in the library and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston. A memorial service and celebration of Tom’s life is to be conducted at two o’clock in the afternoon on Wednesday, the 30th of January, in the sanctuary of Second Baptist Church, 6400 Woodway Drive, in Houston.

Prior to the service, the family will have gathered for a private interment at Memorial Oaks Cemetery in Houston. Those interested in a remembrance are gratefully asked to make a contribution to the Clayton Dabney Foundation, 6500 Greenville Ave. #342, Dallas, Texas 75206.


  • Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family Monday, January 28, 2019
  • Visitation Monday, January 28, 2019
  • Memorial Service Wednesday, January 30, 2019
  • Memorial Service Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Tom J. Fatjo Jr.

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Jeff New

February 16, 2019

I was on the golf team at Rice University from 1975-1979. Tom Fatjo had also been on the Rice golf team - I read that he graduated in 1963. Sometime in the early 1970s, he donated money to the Rice golf team to allow them to fund scholarships for golfers. I am fairly certain that there were no golf scholarships until Mr. Fatjo's financial contributions. I was a fortunate recipient of one of those golf scholarships. Without Tom Fatjo's contribution to the golf team, there is no way I could have afforded to go to Rice. Going to that school was a huge springboard for my career - I will never forget Tom for his help to me and other Rice golfers that benefited from his help. I met him several times - just a great, down to earth, honest, and optimistic person. He made you feel good just to be around him. He will be greatly missed. - Jeff New

Frank Nadolney

January 28, 2019


It was nice knowing you. Thank you for The Houstonian!

Steve Thomas

January 28, 2019

Tom and I met at Rice. We took accounting courses together, and played "light-weight" football there. We worked for a local accounting firm part-time during our junior and senior years, went different ways upon graduation, but stayed in touch, mostly at Rice football games. Never had a better friend.

Frost Cochran

January 26, 2019

He inspired us to dream big and live fully. His legacy has touched generations. Rest in peace Tom.

Dick Howell

January 25, 2019

A life well lived by a big man who understood what friendship means.
He will be missed .