Jack Frey may have become a primary developer in the Tomball area by mixing his knack for sales with an interest in real estate, but his influence on the community runs much deeper.

Influenced as a teenager by YoungLife programs and Christian parents, Frey has volunteered in youth organizations most of his life. He has also provided a little harmonica music here and there for the enjoyment of others.

It was the early 1970s when Frey and his wife, Shirley, moved to rural Tomball from Spring Branch.

"Our friends thought we had moved to Egypt," he said.

Finding that he enjoyed selling rural properties with just the right balance of deed restrictions for quiet country living, he founded Jack Frey Properties. His first subdivision was Rosewood Hill in 1976.

Decades later, Frey reflects on the real estate cycle created by an ever-expanding Houston.

"What I've found is people move to the country because they want to get away from urban sprawl," he said. "They buy an acre or two, and then are very happy and excited there's going to be a new supermarket."

It is a cycle that will eventually convert Tomball from a rural setting to a suburb, but will not take away its identity, he said.

"It is a complete little town with its own history and heritage, not just another suburb," he said.

Born in Southern California, Frey moved to Houston with his family in the middle of his junior year of high school.

Outgoing by nature, Frey quickly made friends, but spent a good amount of that school year arguing with his new Texas friends about how great California was.

That summer, however, his family took a trip to the East Coast. Sporting Texas license plates and a cowboy hat, Frey said he quickly discovered it was more fun to be a Texan.

"I've loved it ever since," he said.

Frey remembers his father encouraging him to try things without fear of failure.

His father later gave him another valuable piece of advice.

"He said, 'If you learn to sell, you'll always have a job,'" Frey said. "So I learned to sell, and it's been a positive thing in my life."

After graduating from Texas A&M, Frey spent two years in the military as an Airborne Ranger. Interested in working with children, he and wife, Shirley, later spent a year as "house parents" in Pennsylvania at the Milton Hershey School, a residential program for orphaned boys.

When they returned to Texas, Frey continued working with youth, an interest he developed while still a youth in Houston after meeting YoungLife leader Gordon Whitelock.

"In short, he taught me that I could be a Christian and have a blast," he said.

Frey decided to continue conveying that message, working as a camp counselor in college, and later directing boys' camps and youth retreats.

"I think there are kids raised in a strict, Christian atmosphere who sometimes get a negative outlook. What YoungLife teaches is that is baloney—you can still have fun," he said.

In 2014, his goals include writing his memoirs.

"I want to document not just the successes I've had, but the failures, so my grandkids can see their grandpa was not always successful. Everyone needs to know that there is nothing wrong with trying something and failing."