On February 9, 1981, Jeff Harte was born in Oxford, Mississippi, to Brandon and Jenna Harte. Brandon, who passed away four years ago, had been an Oxford native and real estate broker. He had created the original Harte Agency, an ill-advised business venture that quickly resulted in bankruptcy due to poor management.
Soon after recovering from this disaster, Brandon met Jenna, an interior designer originally from Jackson, on a joint real-estate project. They married several months later, with Jenna moving permanently to Oxford.
As Brandon and Jenna's second son, Jeff was the epitome of a perfect child. With straight A’s throughout his academic career and glowing recommendations from all his teachers, Jeff was a shoo-in for the University of Mississippi, where he studied business management, real estate, and economics.
Afterward, Jeff spent two years working multiple part-time jobs and internships in local real estate agencies. He then continued his studies by completing an MBA at the University of California, Berkeley. He wasted no time returning to his hometown to establish the Harte Agency and carry on his father's legacy.
Five years later, the Harte Agency became one of the city’s most profitable real estate companies and remains so today. When asked about the secret of his success, Jeff always gave the same answer: "Lots of hard work and reliable employees." He also makes sure to credit Annette Wyatt, his first employee, who has been instrumental to the agency's growth.
Despite Jeff’s apparent all-work-and-no-play lifestyle, friends and family have always commended Jeff on his charismatic personality. Several of them noted his attractiveness to the opposite sex, though it seems that Jeff rarely took advantage of it or simply was not aware of it.
According to Jeff’s former classmate at Berkeley, "He’s a genius with money, but blind to everything else. If he had to choose between meeting a pretty girl or a business client at a bar, he’d choose the client every time."
Neighbors describe Jeff as a motivated, successful young man who always leaves first in the morning and comes home last at night. He is rarely seen outside of work, except for Sunday mornings at the country club tennis courts.
Some have speculated about the driving force behind Jeff’s workaholic tendencies. A close family friend claims that Jeff strove for success to compensate for the failures of his older brother, Jackson, who was the delinquent counterpart to Jeff’s role model image.
While Jeff joined the debate and tennis teams in high school, Jackson was getting arrested for petty crimes. Even now, while Jeff carries on his father’s lifelong dream, Jackson is serving time in Mississippi State Penitentiary for armed robbery. Jeff visits his brother once a month.
Another possibility is Jeff’s marriage to Elena, his wife of eight years. The two met at a park when Elena happened to pick up a stray ball that Jeff hit out of the tennis courts.
There have been rumors of a questionable relationship between Jeff and his long-time employee, Annette Wyatt, whom he previously dated. Jeff, however, has never shown anything but steadfast loyalty and affection for his wife.
The Hartes are expecting their first child, Katherine, in early December.