Betty Yndo is one of the first residents I met in King William back in 1997. She was showing my husband, Richard, and me around, as we thought we might like to live here. We did not buy a house from her, but she certainly sold us on the neighborhood. She pointed out fabulous historic homes and told us about gathering spots such as La Tuna Ice House. While not originally from San Antonio, Betty became an unofficial ambassador for King William, known and beloved by many in our historic section of downtown San Antonio.
Betty Gibson grew up on a farm in Stanton, Texas, where folk were welcomed by “3,000 friendly people and a few old soreheads.” After attending the Baylor School of Nursing, she married Dr. Don Gaddis, and they had two sons, Paul and David, and a daughter, Pam. Don died in 1972.
Betty first worked in real estate while living in Austin, where she loved working out of doors. She and her sons built cedar kit houses, ordered from Seattle, in Alpine and in Austin. Betty went on to convert a warehouse in Alpine into a seven-shop mini mall, taking advantage of a Small Business Administration loan for female entrepreneurs.
Betty moved to San Antonio from Austin in 1983 with her new husband, Michael Yndo. The Yndo family roots go way back here. Michael’s ancestor, Manuel Yndo, who arrived in San Antonio through Mexico, was originally from the Basque region of Spain. He came to teach the Canary Islanders who had settled in this area in the 18th century, and married one of them. When Betty married Michael, she gained more children: Steve, Mike, Elizabeth and Katherine.
Betty and Michael “bounced around the neighborhood,” as Betty described it to me, from a house on King William St., to a house on Adams St. and finally a condo on Crofton. Walking the neighborhood, Betty became familiar with the homes and establishments. In those days, she said, she would spend a lot of time at Taco Haven, but not buying much. The owner told her that was okay, she could sit in the window and “add class to the place.”
Once they decided that King William was definitely the place for them, Michael encouraged Betty to set up her own real estate business here, which suited her, as Betty was mostly interested in this area. At the time, buyers were mainly interested in homes on King William St. It has taken a while for the neighborhood to catch on with prospective buyers.
Steve Yndo joined forces with Betty and his sister, Elizabeth, and King William Realty opened its doors in February 1985. Elizabeth married Betty’s son, Paul, thereby making this a real family venture. Betty stressed the fact that many sales people, in addition to family members, contributed to the success of the agency.
King William Realty has been an integral part of our neighborhood, helping it to celebrate its historic roots. Its vitality and commitment to preservation has not waned. I remember our First Friday Art Walks back in the day when it was still small and family-friendly. Betty would have original artwork from local artists on display in their offices, then located at 1011 S. Alamo St. Strolling around local establishments was a great way to meet neighbors.
The business has weathered the slumps and peaks of real estate over 30 years. Steve opened Yndo Commercial Real Estate in 2002, and his ventures, often in collaboration with others, have made a big impact on King William. These include the King William Lofts and St. Benedict’s mixed-use development.
Betty’s energy and spirit are an inspiration. She now splits her time between Alpine and her apartment at the Village at Incarnate Word in San Antonio. We are happy that Betty continues to attend neighborhood events and visit her old haunts.
- Nora Peterson