KATY MAGAZINE l NOVEMBER 2019
By Jennifer Miko and Katrina Katsarelis
Behind the burly, scruffy, and well-manicured beards are some of Katy's finest husbands and most doting daddies. In honor of No-Shave November, Katy Magazine sought out a few of these hardworking, fun-loving, bearded dads and dudes to feature in this story to tell us what they love about having a beard. As it turns out, their wives love their beards too!
Bearded Dudes Photo Shoot Photographer: Brett Laxton
Since 2009, the No-Shave November initiative has helped raise more than $1.8 million in the fight against cancer. The month-long campaign encourages supporters to skip their shaving and hair-grooming routine, and purchasing of these supplies, and donate the funds instead.
Follow the links to the organizations below and see how you can help this month, and all year. Remember #LetItGrow!
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Becky Robertson says her husband Rory is her absolute favorite person. He already had a beard when they met in college, so she can’t imagine him without his facial hair.
“I don't even think about his beard anymore,” she says. “It is just part of Rory.”
“My father had a beard his entire life,” says Rory. “Plus, growing up in Katy in the 80s and 90s, beards were a way of life.”
However, Rory admits he grew his beard to hide his “baby face.” When he started a career in finance, he thought a beard would add maturity to his appearance. The inevitable grey hair would be an added, distinguished, bonus. Now, Rory likes to have fun creating his own beard styles – mixing up his look with a goatee or full beard of varying lengths.
“He loves his family completely and gives so much to us, but he does not stop with the family,” says Becky.
Rory supports Katy, the youth in the community and the school district. Don’t be surprised if he shows up in your child’s class as their substitute teacher. Rory is also a Partner with Navigo Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisory Firm based in Sugar Land.
“I could not have asked for a better husband and father for our three sons,” says Becky. “We are so very blessed with our bearded dude.”
James Ross is the General Manager for Simon Properties (Katy Mills). He was hired to help lead Katy Mills through the multi-million dollar renovation that the property has been undergoing since mid-2018. James and his wife Ana have been married for three years, and they have one son, Briggs, who turns two in December.
James jokes that his initial reason for growing a beard was so that "I don't look like a child." "I've had at a minimum 'stubble' at any given moment for the past decade, but now that we are approaching winter, I'll let it grow out a bit longer that normal."
James' wife Ana is a fan of his beard as well. "There's just something about a scruffy man," she says. "Who doesn't like beards?"
Best Example of a Man
Nicknamed "Sweets" as a child, Ana says James still exhibits total human kindness and compassion in everything he does.
"You won't find a kinder or funnier guy out there," says Ana. "If you know James, you know that there isn't a thing he wouldn't do for you. He is the best example of a best friend, husband, and daddy."
Professional Beard for Now
James says his favorite beard is Jake Gyllenhaal's, and describes it as one of the best looking 'professional' beards he's seen. That's the look James has been striving to achieve.
"Due to the nature of my position, I have to have a clean-cut looking beard," says James. "I have to have facial hair (otherwise I look like a baby).
A True Beardsman
Brock Kimball, 36, has been married to Rachel since 2013. They have a daughter Remi Mae who's five months old.
Brock says he didn't set out to be a bearded dude. The look actually found him three years ago as a result of his physically demanding job. As a process plant industrial construction worker, Brock suddenly had little time for shaving, so the beard naturally grew on him. Pretty soon, he really liked it.
A Nod to Fellow Beardsmen
"My husband is a true 'beardsman,' " says Rachel. "It sounds so silly, but any time he sees what he calls, 'a fellow beardsman' out in public, he’ll give him a little head nod. It’s like a secret society I never knew existed until he grew his beard."
Rachel says Brock is now a passionate beardsman who has tried all the beard oils and brushes under the sun to keep his beard clean and shiny.
He Makes Everything Fun
Brock loves having a beard, but values one thing more than anything else. He is a one-of-a-kind family man who supports his wife and family in every way.
"My favorite thing about him is how he makes everything fun!" says Rachel. "He is a 'get down on the floor and roll around' kind of dad, and he’s always doing the most to get our daughter to laugh.
Jon Letter, 21, knows exactly when he started growing his beard. The Katy High School grad says he stopped shaving after the State Championship game on December 19, 2015. He recalls football coach Gary Joseph expected the players to be clean shaven, without long hair. Jon graduated early (January 2016), and the transformation began.
“By the time the Fall Football Awards Ceremony came up, Coach barely recognized me when I walked across the stage at the Katy High School PAC,” Jon recalls.
Jon’s mom, Patti Lacy, nominated him for the No-Shave November issue.
“One of the things I love about Jon's beard is that it makes him look so grown up,” says Patti. “So that's good, and it's bad, since he will always be ‘my little boy.’”
Patti says her son isn’t like most kids his age – Jon likes to hang out with his family and be a fabulous uncle to his four nieces.
“He has a great sense of humor, he's a good guitar player and he loves classic rock,” Patti adds.
Hard Work Pays Off
While at Katy High School, Jon played in three state championship football games and started in all 16 varsity games for those three years. Jon is now a senior at Angelo State University and on their football team. He plans to graduate in May 2020 with a Business Marketing degree.
Darian Nelson is a general contractor specializing in HVAC and CPO. He has sported his beard for a little over three years.
"My twin brother has always had an amazing beard so I was trying to catch up to him," says Darian. "And also, my wife always begged me."
"I don’t just like his beard, I LOVE his beard," says Darian's wife Courtney. The two were high school sweethearts and have been married for five-and-a-half years. She says, "My husband is already a handsome dude, and him having a beard is the cherry on top!"
Positively a Role Model
Darian and Courtney have three children who keep them busy: Taylen, five, DJ, three, and Thomas, two. Darian volunteers at their daughter’s elementary school and brings his toolbox with him – to help fix blinds, wall fixtures, projectors, and more.
“All the kids love him, and he’s the main event at recess,” says Courtney. “The kids flock to him like he’s handing out candy.”
Darian is always lending a helping hand wherever he goes, and Courtney thinks he would give a stranger the shirt off his back.
“My wife hates it, she tells me I am too nice,” Darian says. “I tell her I’m blessed, so it’s OK to help those in need and to give back.”
Austin Shaw credits Willie Nelson and Thor as his bearded influencers, and it’s been less than a year since he stopped shaving.
“After I won the company-wide mustache competition last Christmas, I knew I had to grow out a beard to match it,” Austin says.
Austin works as a commercial construction project manager and he and his wife Megan have a ten-month old son Walker. The little guy is fascinated with his daddy’s beard.
“I like our nine-month old baby thinking (Austin’s) beard is his own personal toy to tug on,” says Megan.
Always on My Mind
Family time is important to the Shaws, and Austin doesn’t miss a beat.
“I have never seen a better dad!” Megan adds. “He comes home from a long day at work to go on walks, do bath time, sing ‘My Only Sunshine,’ and make sure Walker knows he is LOVED.”
Maybe Austin is channeling Willie Nelson more than he thinks.
For at least 40 years, Kerry Williams has had a beard or goatee. He admits he made the mistake of shaving it off when his daughter Julie was a few months old. Apparently she cried until he grew it back.
"I never took that risk again," says Kerry.
Now grown up, Julie Harper says her dad is the best friend anyone could ever want.
"Dad’s beard is that lifelong symbol, no matter what life brings - I have and will always be loved, cherished and treasured by the most handsome bearded man in the world," she says.
Keeping the "Mrs." Happy
Kerry said his wife used to swoon over the rugged and bearded men like Kenny Rogers and Sean Connery. These days, he says, "It's the bearded man that makes “Mrs. Claus" happy and the children smile."
Kerry retired and relocated to Katy to be under new "Grand Management." His grandsons, ages two to eight affectionately call him Paw-Paw.