Ted Pillsbury’s suicide – or not – is examined in this Dallas Morning News article that reveals the former director of the Kimbell Art Museum bought a .357 Ruger not long before his death. The gun was found beside the body, and police put plastic bags over his hands to check for gunshot residue before declaring the death a suicide.
The article covers Pillsbury’s activity in recent years, but something not mentioned in the article was a lawsuit filed by Pillsbury seeking reimbursement of $430,000 from former auto dealer and country singer Bill McDavid and club developer Spencer Taylor (Billy Bob’s Texas).
McDavid, who died of lung cancer last summer, tried to create a hotel casino in South Dakota a few years back with Taylor’s help but the development never got off the ground.
“Pillsbury was an investor in that deal,” said Terry Gardner, a Fort Worth attorney who represented McDavid in the lawsuit. “Various things went wrong with the endeavor. To make a long story short, Bill finally settled the case.”
Pillsbury and another investor, Lewis Curatolo, sued McDavid on April 30, 2007. McDavid was selling his interest in the development and the two investors wanted a portion of the money. Curatolo sought $250,000; Pillsbury wanted $180,000.
Pillsbury and Curatolo filed a joint motion to dismiss the lawsuit on July 3, 2007 after the settlement.
McDavid met Pillsbury through a shared love of motorcycles, and the two men took a road trip to South Dakota with other cyclists, Gardner said.
“I never met Pillsbury, but Bill had mentioned him several times,” Gardner said.
Pillsbury was an art expert who grew up rich and wore fashionable three-piece suits throughout his life. McDavid was a boots-and-jeans kind of guy, a hard-living car salesman turned country singer who was amused by Pillsbury’s attire. McDavid laughed about Pillsbury arriving for their cross-country motorcycle jaunt wearing an ascot, Gardner said.
Even after the lawsuit, McDavid “had no animosity at all toward Ted Pillsbury,” he said.