The heart, story and depth of an individual are more fully known as you sit down, talk, and spend time with them. I, gratefully, had the opportunity to grow up and see the true heart of one of the most gracious, humble, intentional, genuine individuals that many know as Dr. John J. Koldus, but I fondly know as Grandy. He was the Vice President of Student Affairs at Texas A&M University and through his student-centered focus and commitment to building relationships he shifted the culture during a time of many transitions at A&M and impacted the student body past, present and future.
He is Riley's grandfather and my adopted grandfather. As I reminisce, I can picture their house, a little sunroom in the back where Grandy, Rachel (Riley's older sister) and I would sit. The pace would slow down, there would be football on the television in the other room, desserts or snacks set out, and we would talk. I remember even as a very young child with hardly enough conversation skills to engage, Grandy would visit with us. He was interested, he was wise, he truly cared and as many things were going on around him, he was invested in the conversation. He had a perspective that opened the door to relationship with anyone and his calm, steady nature made the ease of trusting even easier. We would make our way to the small room they had upstairs where the only thing that I remember was a very large antique looking piece of wooden furniture with several deep drawers that could hold the size of numerous small postcards in each drawer. One year Grandy made his way upstairs and showed us what was in those drawers. He pulled out a card and read a name of someone on the front and then read something he wrote about the person on the back. He carefully filed it back away in the order he pulled it out and explained that each card in that piece of furniture was a student he met as Vice President at Texas A&M and something from their conversation that he remembered. He studied those cards and would remember your name and your conversation together. When he saw you on campus again, he made you feel a part of his family, easily picking up right where you left off. Beyond building unity and relationships with the students on campus, Honey (Mrs. Koldus) and Grandy opened the doors to their home to invite Aggie students each week to have dinner with their family. Every Aggie was just as much a part of their family as their own children. They both were a team and were hospitable and genuinely desired to serve, gather and have a personal relationship with each individual student at Texas A&M. That is part of what makes A&M what it is today and how Riley wants to open the "door" at Thomas and Rye. T+R wants to hear from you, we want to get to know you, and we hope you experience the same feeling of warmth, hospitality, friendship and family that has been shown and demonstrated to us! Welcome to the Thomas and Rye family.
Riley and Lindsey (co-founders)