Tuesday, July 5, 2022

New Connector and Roundabout Brings Past and Present Full Circle

The Zena Rucker Connector, which includes Southlake’s newest roundabout, extends between Matthews Court and Tower Boulevard and has been built to improve mobility between Byron Nelson Parkway and Carroll Avenue.

Named after longtime Southlake resident Zena Rucker, the roadway will include a stainless-steel sculpture, Mockingbird Tree, centered in the roundabout.

But who is Zena Rucker?

Zena, and her late husband, Bill, bought their Southlake property in 1960. Rucker’s home sits on 75 acres of land, a reminder of Southlake’s rural roots, and extends from Southlake Boulevard on the north to Old Union Elementary School on the south, and from Carroll Avenue on the east to Timarron on the west.

Picture of Zena Rucker with her Grandaughter and Grandson-In-Law

Mrs. Rucker is shown with her Granddaughter Jacqueline Janssen on her wedding day.

“I love where I live. I love my house. I’m either weeding in the yard or reading. I like to watch the airplanes fly above [in and out of DFW Airport],” stated Rucker.

Aviation has been a significant part of Rucker’s life. Her late husband was a pilot, and her two sons are pilots. Rucker worked as a flight attendant for a time before becoming a teacher and then served as the first woman to run a Z-Yamaha motorcycle dealership. Rucker also acquired her pilot’s license and operated a flight school in North Texas.

“There’s an airstrip on my property that has welcomed many planes over the years,” said Rucker, who was a member of the Ninety-Nines, an international organization for female pilots.

A known activist, Rucker has also served on the board of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

Holding fast to memories of the past and simpler times in Southlake, Rucker wants to keep her land intact, but she has parted with a few acres along Southlake Boulevard to build a commercial office building with her granddaughter.

As for Zena Rucker Connector, the road and roundabout are scheduled for completion in April of this year.  For project updates, follow Southlake Mobility on Facebook, and visit www.ConnectSouthlake.com.