Finding the right place took a prize, an invitation, a deal that didn’t go through and prayer to lead Lewis and Nancy Thorne to their perfect home and ideal community.
Lewis had the good fortune to win the use of a convertible sports car for a weekend at a charity golf tournament about 10 years ago. “We decided to take a drive in it through the Hill Country and drove through Cordillera Ranch. I distinctly remember telling Nancy that I would love to live here someday.”
By Cheryl Van Tuyl Jividen :: Photography by Mark Humphries
Fast forward to 2016 when Nancy and Lewis, a Commercial Lending Manager at Frost Bank, were invited by Frost Advisory Director J.W. Pieper to take a tour of the “Ranch” with him. “Again, I was smitten with the natural beauty and quality of life that Cordillera Ranch offered. A few months later, I responded to an online ad requesting more info,” says Lewis. Carey Yeager with Cordillera Ranch Real Estate replied and showed the Thornes properties throughout the community. “After several weeks of looking at a number of houses and lots for sale, we zeroed in on a lot on Winged Foot. Carey cautioned us that designing a house for this lot may present a challenge to get approval to remove the oak trees. One of the features that attracted us to this lot was the abundance of oak trees, but some were located where the house would normally sit. While we prayed about what to do, we received a call from Carey saying that she discovered that one of the Preferred Builders, Garner Homes, had already designed a house for this lot, and that deal fell through. If we would like to look at the plans, she would connect us with Trey Garner. As it turned out, the house that had been designed for the lot was almost exactly what we would have designed if we had started from scratch. After several meetings with the Garner Homes staff, Jennie Briggs, Natalie Johnson and Byron Nezat, we signed a construction contract and moved in one year later. We probably had the most stress-free homebuilding experience of anyone I have ever talked to,” says Lewis.
The couple began their life together in San Antonio with Lewis starting his professional career with Frost Bank 39 years ago and Nancy working at a rival bank. When their first child was born, Nancy became a full-time homemaker, mother and volunteer. The family grew to include two more children who all attended San Antonio Christian School for grades K – 12.
The Thorne children are adults now with their own families — Matt, the eldest son, is Texas Operations Manager for CAPTRUST Financial Advisors and lives in San Antonio with wife Brittney and daughters, Juliet and Emmeline. Middle daughter Katie and husband Brad Gaultney live in Dallas with children, Ford, Virginia, Sam and Daisy. Katie is a full-time homemaker and part-time journalist with World Magazine. Newlywed and youngest son, Brett and wife Alysse live in New Orleans where she is a labor and delivery nurse and he is getting his master’s degree in Urban Planning at the University of New Orleans.
A San Antonio native, Lewis spent most summers starting as a newborn, enjoying Colorado. “When I was growing up, my family had a summer home in Grand Lake. My fondest childhood memories are of our summers in the Rocky Mountains. My family sold that house when I was in high school, but I never got Colorado out of my system,” Lewis remembers. Keeping that family tradition, the Thorne family and Lewis’ mother headed to Gunnison for a summer vacation in 1994. “A friend in San Antonio had suggested visiting the small town of Lake City while we were in the area. I invited the family to take the 50-mile drive to visit Lake City. Everyone except my mother was weary of being in a car, so the two of us found Lake City, and it was the proverbial ‘love at first sight.’ My mom shocked me by suggesting that we stop by the local real estate office, and by the end of the afternoon she had a house under contract! For the next 20 years, my mother spent every summer in Lake City, and we spent a couple of weeks each summer as her house guests. The easy-going town is appealing,” says Lewis, “Lake City’s year-round population is approximately 300 people, so you don’t go there for the nightlife or shopping opportunities. We enjoy hiking in the San Juan Mountains, I enjoy fly-fishing and I’m still trying to get Nancy hooked. It is very peaceful and we can be content just sitting on the deck reading a book. Nearby, Lake San Cristobal is Colorado’s second largest natural lake, so there are watersports to enjoy. In the winter, there is snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.” After his mother passed away in 2016, Nancy and Lewis bought the house from her estate. “Someday, when I retire, I hope to spend summers there, just like she did. We are currently amid a remodeling project, to make it a little more livable,” says Lewis.
With the children grown, the Thornes felt drawn to Boerne. “We liked the idea of a more rural lifestyle, so when we had an empty nest, we made the move to Boerne. It combines the best of both worlds — the small-town atmosphere, with proximity to the big city services,” says Lewis.
Active within the Boerne community, Nancy says, “We both enjoy serving at special events at our church, Currey Creek, as part of the Hospitality and Welcome Teams. In the past we were part of the Communion service. While Lewis is in the Men’s Bible Study, I love to cook and enjoy helping with our church’s meal ministry.”
Through church they heard about the work of the Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center (HCPCC). “We have both had strong pro-life convictions for many years, and they were not just anti-abortion, but were really helping women and families coping with crisis pregnancies,” says Lewis. Initially their support was financial and then Lewis became a board member with Nancy becoming a lay counselor shortly after. The programs serve many needs in the community. Lewis says, “This year, HCPCC will provide over 1,100 services to over 300 unique clients. In addition to our Boerne office, we have also opened offices in Bulverde/Spring Branch and Comfort. HCPCC provides free pregnancy testing, sonograms, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, parenting classes, material assistance (diapers, clothes, cribs, strollers, etc.), Bible studies and post-abortion counseling. All services are provided to our clients at no charge, so we depend heavily on charitable support. In addition to our personal financial support, I am proud that my employer, Frost Bank, recently became a corporate partner.”
Homelife includes more activities like hosting small dinner parties. “Nancy loves to cook so I am the greatest beneficiary of her hobby. She’s an incredible cook and hostess, so we enjoy having folks over to the house,” says Lewis, and Nancy confirms, “The kitchen is my happy place! I collect cookbooks and enjoy trying new things, particularly baking.”
Both are active in Cordillera Ranch Bible study groups. Lewis also attends the monthly Men’s Group gatherings. Other options are possible says Lewis, “We have discussed attending the Nature Club, but haven’t fit that into the schedule yet. There are so many activities each week in Cordillera Ranch, we are afraid of overcommitting!”
The couple enjoy the amenities as well. “I use the fitness room each morning before work and have gotten to know some of the other ‘early-birds.’ I recently recovered from back surgery, so I am looking forward to finally playing this beautiful golf course. It has been torturing to belong to this Club and not be able to play the course due to health problems. My surgeon has given me the green light to resume playing, and I’m looking forward to meeting some of the golfers,” says Lewis. Nancy adds, “We have loved experiencing many Cordillera Ranch activities with our six grandchildren, especially seasonal activities such as the Easter egg hunt. They have also enjoyed camping out at the campground area.”
Knowing they had found a good thing early on, the Thornes had to share. Lewis says, “While we were in the building process, we started talking to Nancy’s brother Brett and his wife, Penny, about how great it would be if they retired to Cordillera Ranch and we became neighbors. They were living in Austin, where Brett was wrapping up a career in the oil and gas business. As it turned out, they were just as impressed with Cordillera Ranch as we were, so we introduced them to Carey and they are now under construction with Todd Glowka Builders, with an anticipated completion date of Spring, 2020.”
Nancy, a native of Conroe, and Lewis began their story as college sweethearts attending the University of Texas at Austin. Lewis reminisces about how the right one came along, “Nancy likes to joke that she is 50/50 on matchmaking. In college, she tried to fix me up with one of her high school friends but, fortunately, it didn’t go anywhere. When we met, Nancy was actually dating my college roommate. When their relationship cooled off after a couple of years, I invited Nancy to the 1977 U.T. vs. O.U. football game and the rest is history. We were married 14 months later, December 30, 1978.” Happily, he adds, “Her more successful matchmaking effort was introducing Brett and Penny to Carey Yeager and Cordillera Ranch!”