Ralph Anderson, former VAR leader, passes away
This past Sunday, June 10, Ralph Anderson passed away in Virginia Beach. Anderson was VAR’s executive vice president from 1979 to 1993.
Before you skip over this story — after all, it’s about someone many of you never met — you should read what Realtors who did know him have to say.
Mr. Anderson is the only member of the Virginia Realtor Hall of Fame who is not, in fact, a Realtor. As you’ll see, there’s a reason for that.
According to current VAR CEO Scott Brunner, “Ralph Anderson was an iconic leader whose gentle influence on a generation of Virginia REALTOR leaders grew VAR's reputation and leadership both in Virginia and nationally. He is fondly remembered by the volunteers, local association executives, and VAR staffers who worked with him. He was a dedicated servant to the association — a dedication shared by his late wife, Julia.
Here are a few reflections from those who knew him, and whose REALTOR® leadership careers he helped shape.
Former NAR and VAR president Tom Stevens of Vienna described Mr. Anderson as congenial and inspirational — a “humble, yet proud” man who “truly conveyed a caring attitude toward all individuals.” And, he said, “He didn’t look at himself as a leader, but he was so talented at developing leaders; like no one I’ve ever known.”
[He] glowed at one’s (or all’s) success, whether it be a speech or well-planned successful VAR event. You could see the glow and the pride. He made you feel it — made you feel your success and feel like you could accomplish anything.
Former VAR president Jack Torza of Mechanicsville spoke of meeting Mr. Anderson in the late 1980s, and how he was encouraged to participate in the organization. “He would come up to me at every VAR meeting and pull me aside and always had the same thing to say to me — he would say, ‘They are watching you.’ He never said who or for what, but I knew was I was being watched and it always made me feel special.”
It was several years later when I shared this story with some other past presidents that I was told that Ralph said this to everyone. Of course I did not know that but it was this simple gesture that made me want to get involved and be a part of our great organization.
Former NAR and VAR president Dorcas Helfant-Browning of Virginia Beach described Mr. Anderson’s and Julia’s “warm caring for each of us. The sense of ‘family’ that they both created not only for those of us fortunate enough to be in VAR leadership but for each member who gave of their time to VAR.”
Ralph was the truly a southern gentleman. He had the ability to work behind to the scenes, to develop friendships, to empower, to facilitate, to cultivate professional relationships, to follow protocol, to honor to recognize others — with one agenda in mind — the Virginia Association of Realtors’ best long- and short-term interests. His memory will always be with me.
Former VAR president Steve Hoover of Roanoke called him “a unique, never-to-be-duplicated individual who touched many lives in the VAR family.”
He had had the ability to be a close personal friend, guardian angel, mentor, guide that you never knew was guiding you, assembler of groups for their greater good and the greater good of VAR, a father figure, more attentive to the needs of your spouse than you were, and in some cases like mine, a disciplinarian. Ralph had the ability to make things happen that ordinary individuals do not possess.
A memorial service for Mr. Anderson will be held Wednesday, June 20th, at 2:00 p.m., at Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay, in the Anderson Bayview Room (which was named for his wife, Julia).
Mr. Anderson, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.