Anne W. Marion

Anne Burnett Windfohr Marion (1938 – 2020) was the last Burnett descendant to own the Four Sixes Ranch. Her mother was Anne Valiant Burnett Tandy. Her grandfather was Thomas Loyd Burnett, son of Samuel Burk Burnett and his first wife Ruth Bottom Loyd Burnett.

She was the daughter of Anne Burnett Tandy and James Goodwin Hall and was born in Fort Worth. When Burk Burnett died in 1922, he was said to have left the ranch in a trust to be inherited by the grandchild of his child Thomas. Tom was a rancher himself and acquired property of his own in North Texas. He also leased the ranch around Iowa Park from his father. Tom and his wife Ollie Lake Burnett had one daughter, Anne Valiant Burnett. Tom died in 1938. Anne and her husband James G. Hall had one daughter, also named Anne (Anne W. Marion). Anne V. Burnett Tandy died in 1980.

The first ranch was located mostly in Wichita County near Burkburnett (named for S. B. Burnett) and Iowa Park. Some of it was sold in 1905 and more was sold (the horse ranch) in 1906. The second property, and likely the most well known, is located in and around Guthrie in West Texas. Its recorded ownership began with an individual named Arnett in the late 1880s. Arnett later conveyed it to an entity named the Louisville Land and Cattle Company from which Burnett acquired the property. A third property was acquired in Carson and Hutchinson counties in the Panhandle. A fourth more recently acquired and was located in Sherman County, near Stratford, Texas. The latter three properties have comprised the three divisions of the ranch since about 2016.

Like her mother, Anne W. Marion was involved in the management of the ranch along with her various interests. Personally and through the Burnett Foundation, she also supported the arts, educational institutions, healthcare organizations and many others. Always making her home in Fort Worth, she also spent a great deal of time on the ranch while she was growing up. Her experiences there helped to mold her and her attitudes toward the history of the ranch and her fondness for and loyalty to its employees. She was one of the earliest ranch owners to provide medical and retirement benefits for her ranch employees and it is not uncommon for cowboys and others to have worked for the ranch for decades.

Under her leadership, the ranch expanded its equine operations and continued its cattle raising operations. Its equine breeding operation that began over fifty years ago now includes ranch work horses, race horses and arena performance horses. Some of the horses are kept on the ranch for use on the properties, others are trained and/or sold at auctions. (Image credit: fortworthbusiness.com)

One of their most famous race horses was a stallion named Dash for Cash. In the late 1970s, this amazing quarter horse raced for three years, winning twenty-one of the twenty-five races in which he was entered. His offspring included many fine horses of all categories, including prize winning race horses and arena performance horses.

The United States Treasury Department sought to classify the Four Sixes Ranch as a “farming syndicate” under the Tax Reform Act of 1976 for years 2005, 2006 and 2007. Some of the provisions of the Tax Reform Act of 1976 were intended to prevent passive investors from deducting losses from certain investments that were deemed to have been organized and operated primarily for their tax benefits. One of the criteria for being considered a farming syndicate was for the entity to have a certain percentage of its ownership by investors not active in the management of the business and whose liability is limited. The ranch was owned at the time by a number of different entities, all of which were for the benefit of the Burnett family, though the structure may have technically exceeded some of the Act’s thresholds.

Without delving deeply into the tax aspects of the case, the government sought to assert that the ranch was subject to the the unfavorable farming syndicate classification, which would have had the effect of postponing the deduction of certain production expenses. The case was decided in favor of the ranch at the district court level in 2013 and a significant finding was that Mrs. Marion was and had been actively involved in the management of the enterprise for a number of years.

The government appealed the district court decision and the case went to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals which again held for the ranch in 2014, upholding the earlier court’s decision. The Court of Appeals decision includes an interesting recapitulation of the history of the ranch, along with its decision affirming that it was not subject to the more restrictive tax shelter rules.

Anne was well known as a patron of the arts and locally served as a director of the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art and of the Kimbell Art Foundation. She and her husband John L. Marion had a particular interest in the artist Georgia O’Keeffe and founded the Santa Fe Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in 1997. Anne Marion’s mother had owned two O’Keeffe paintings and the Marions acquired additional artwork.

Santa Fe was chosen for the location of the museum. Georgia O’Keeffe had lived in northern New Mexico for over forty years in a nearby small village named Abiquiu and she featured the landscape in many of her works. O’Keeffe passed away in 1986 at the age of 96 and had resided in Santa Fe for the last two years of her life. The museum received from the O’Keeffe and Burnett foundations and the Marions its initial collection of 33 of the artist’s works including oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, pastels and a sculpture, created between 1914 and 1982. The family foundation also acquired a downtown gallery and adjacent buildings to house the museum and its offices. The museum opened in the summer of 1997.

At this writing, the museum collection amounts to over 3,000 works including 140 oil paintings, around 700 of her drawings and many other original works from 1901 to 1984. In addition to the above, Anne served as a director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. Her health care interests included serving as a member of the Board of Overseers of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She was also a member of the emeritus board of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, a member of the board of regents of Texas Tech University, The Museum of Modern Art in New York and The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

Anne passed away on February 12, 2020 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Fort Worth. Her numerous honors and awards include the 2001 National Golden Spur Award from the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in New Mexico. She was an inductee in the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the American Quarter Horse Association’s Hall of Fame and The Great Hall of Westerners National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

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