By Stacey Moncrieff, Editor in Chief, REALTOR® Magazine
Ebby Halliday turns 100 years old tomorrow, March 9! Of all the REALTORS® I’ve had the privilege to know in my 23 years with NAR, the one who has most captured my imagination—and I believe the hearts of all who meet her—is Ebby, the spirited Texan whose Dallas real estate company has been operating independently since 1945.
On Feb. 23 the city of Dallas turned out for a “Roast & Toast” to celebrate Ebby’s birthday. The star-studded event was a fundraiser for the Foundation for Fighting Blindness, of which Ebby is a national trustee. Among the guests and entertainers were Dallas’s greatest living legends: Ebby herself, as well as former Dallas Cowboy quarterback turned real estate pro Roger Staubach; businessman and former presidential candidate Ross Perot; oilman and alternative-energy advocate T. Boone Pickens—and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, among others. Two former NAR presidents were in attendance—Dick Gaylord of Long Beach, Calif., and Charles McMillan, of Dallas/Ft. Worth—as well as Travis Kessler, CEO of the Texas Association of REALTORS®, and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions. Dwight Hale, 2011 Chairman of TAR, gave presented a Texas Senate Resolution in Ebby’s honor.
Ebby Halliday, escorted here by football-legend-turned-real-estate-executive Roger Staubach, freely offers the secret to her longevity: "I don't smoke, I don't drink, and I don't retire."
Why all the fuss? It’s hard to explain unless you meet Ebby and know something of her history—her pioneering work in real estate sales, her long-time leadership within the REALTOR® organization, and her contributions to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. “While Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®, has grown to be the largest independent real estate firm in Texas,” said the event co-chairs in a letter published in the evening’s program, “Ebby’s personal commitment to our community has been nothing less than extraordinary. No one gives back like Ebby.”
More than 500 people attended the gala; the event raised $640,000 for FFB-funded research to help find treatments and cures for blindness caused by retinal diseases. That’s a fitting tribute to a woman who has long made community service a centerpiece of her real estate brokerage. Wish I could have been there to raise a toast to the “First Lady of Real Estate”!