Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | April 14, 2011

One Man’s Success is Another Man’s Passion

I wrote a few days ago about my cousin who owns the tilapia farm in Kenya and thought you may have an interest in seeing the humble abode he calls home.

No fooling, this is Calvin Burgess’s home in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Check it out at .  As yet I haven’t been invited over for Christmas turkey, but I remain optimistic it may happen one of these years.

I don’t think his vision was to compete with the White House, but it is definitely a close rival. It started with some very lost and forgotten beginnings as a Masonic’s Children’s Home. You can get an idea of just how much work was involved from the following site to bring it to the state it is today.

We spent a fair bit of time together as young men in the mid 70’s. He was working as an estimator for Fowler Construction in Victoria back then and building the odd home on the side. My family and his would get together every Friday night to play board games.

I guess the need to achieve strikes different people in different ways. Besides the Tilapia Farm in Kenya, he is quickly becoming the largest producer of rice as he drains the 28,000 acre Yala Swamps near Lake Victoria

He owns a number of government commercial buildings in the States, including two border crossings (who knew they might be private), the IRS building in Albuquerque, NM and Wichita, KS, the DEA Lab in Dallas, TX and McAlester, OK, plus of all things the US Army Corp building in Tulsa, OK. On a lesser scale is his Polo sock factory and hotel in Mexico. He use to own a number of prisons in the States. Oh, I can’ t forget he also owns the largest private airline specializing in the transport of convicts.

Are you bored yet ?  Dreaming of wealth has a tenancy to do that to some people.

I shouldn’t forget, he also owns an aviation company that is working to develop travel to outer space and the list goes on. As a hobby he restores World War II fighter planes (wood carving was just too unrewarding I guess). Check out his latest project at

Remember he was just a humble boy with roots in Victoria, BC and he still walks around with some of my blood flowing through his veins (I’m confident he doesn’t think about that fact too often).

Oh well; Do you feel you could go out and climb Mt. Everest now. All it takes is a little determination and a whole lot of hard work (plus a few sleepless nights).


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