Texas man obsessed with White House builds mini-Oval Office in home

Dylan Stableford
The Sideshow

Growing up in East Texas, most kids Ron Wade's age collected baseball cards. Wade was more interested in White House memorabilia.

His collection of 10,000 presidential buttons and furniture used by U.S. presidentsworth more than $300,000will be featured on Wednesday's episode of "My Crazy Obsession," which airs at 10:30 p.m. ET on TLC.

Wade's Oval Office obsession goes well beyond presidential swag. The 60-year-old retired state worker drives the car President John F. Kennedy used during his final months in office, and owns a rocking chair that once belonged to JFK, an heirloom valued at $250,000.

In 2004, Wade built a mini replica of the Oval Office in his Longview, Texas home. It took two-and-a-half years to design, eight months and 250 workers to build. The cost? A quarter-million dollars.

"I retired eight years ago and was looking for something to do," Wade told Yahoo News. "The year before I built a Japanese, Hawaiian-type garden in my backyard. Then this."

Wade said his wife, Laura, supports his fetish: She and their two daughters dress up like the Kennedys for drives in his vintage car.

While the family is allowed in his oval office, they're just not allowed to touch anything, he said.

The Texan, who sells presidential memorabilia through a website, said he met with President Nixon in the Oval Office as a college student, and became friends with several presidents, including Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Wade and George W. Bush have been "close friends" since age 13, he said, when Wade was campaigning for George H.W. Bush's run for Senate.

And "W" gave him some pointers on the Oval Office project.  "We were discussing desks," Wade recalled. "Most presidents don't really like to do work in the Oval Office, but he told me he really enjoyed the resolute desk, and really liked to work in there."

Wade visited Bush in the White House, but the 43rd president has not been by to see Wade's Oval Office.

"He said he's going to, but he hasn't yet," Wade said.

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