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Real Estate Icon Ebby Halliday Dies at 104

Ebby Halliday [1]

Ebby Halliday

Real estate icon Ebby Halliday Acers [2], who started a one-woman residential real estate company 70 years ago and turned it into one of the largest realtors in the United States, has died at the age of 104.

Halliday, who was born Vera Lucille Koch in Arkansas in 1911, took on the professional name Ebby Halliday and helped support her family during the depression by selling general merchandise and eventually hats. She transferred from Kansas City to Dallas and opened a hat boutique, then he real estate career began when she sold 50 single-spec houses made of insulated concrete for oilman Clint Murchison, who later founded the Dallas Cowboys.

She founded Ebby Halliday Realtors in 1945. Today, it is the largest residential real estate services company in Texas and ranks 10th in the nation. The company employs 1,700 sales associates and participated in 19,200 property transactions with a sales volume of more than $6.6 billion in 2014 alone, according to Ebby Halliday's website [2]. Ebby Halliday Realtors president and CEO Mary Frances Burleson is scheduled to speak at the Third Annual Women in Housing Leadership Forum at the 2015 Five Star Conference [3] on September 18 in Dallas.

Halliday married former FBI agent and lawyer Maurice Acers in 1965. She was well-known for her volunteering and philanthropic efforts.

"In 2014 alone, the YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas announced Ebby’s Place, which houses the new YW Women’s Center, and Juliette Fowler Communities announced The Ebby House, a transitional community for young women who have aged out of foster care," a tribute on the company's website said. "Ebby did not have children of her own, but she helped educate and support many young people."

"Each of us who had the good fortune of knowing Ebby has been touched by the grace, fortitude and compassion with which she lived her life."

Halliday received many awards and honors for her civic and professional endeavors, but perhaps her crowning achievement was receiving the The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.

“While we grieve the loss of Ebby, our legendary founder and my friend and mentor for over 50 years, we celebrate a long life well lived,” Burleson said. “Each of us who had the good fortune of knowing Ebby has been touched by the grace, fortitude and compassion with which she lived her life. Ebby had a very simple saying that she lived by, ‘Do something for someone every day.’ That small bit of wisdom served Ebby very, very well.”