Abec's Small Business newspaper approached me for an article with the article to then become part of a soft paperback book in October 2010. This will hopefully give you some insight as to who I am, how and why I love working in the real estate world with so many wonderful people. Helping them make their homeownership dreams come true.
ReMax Masters, MaryAnn Mills
By Jessica Luther
MaryAnn Mills spent 25 years in a profession that relies on strength of will and mental toughness to succeed. In 1977, she was a married mother of three who decided to go back to school and study law enforcement, first at the University of Toledo, then finishing at Owens Community College with a certification in law enforcement and security. She spent the majority of her career with the JC Penney corporation as a senior loss prevention manager, a high-stress job where she was responsible for keeping losses at a minimum for a multi-million dollar company.
However, nothing could have prepared her for the tragedy that was ahead. In mid-August of 2000, she gathered in a doctor’s office with her three children and their spouses, as their physician explained to them that her husband of 36 years had terminal liver cancer. He had retired from the Chrysler corporation only 18 months before, and MaryAnn was to follow him within the next few years. Now, their plans changed to finding innovative treatments to give him what little time they could.
“His primary concern right then was who would look out for me,” Mary Ann recalled, fighting back tears.
Despite their best efforts, her husband passed away on December 29, 2000. Mary Ann had taken a leave of absence from work, and a few weeks later, she found herself wrapped in her husband’s robe, finally attempting to look through the mail that had been accumulating. While sitting at his desk, she discovered a letter from Chrysler explaining benefits for retirees’ surviving spouses, one option being aid for school, including real estate. MaryAnn had decided that she couldn’t continue working at JC Penney- though she loved the job, it was too stressful to do for the rest of her life.
At the time, her oldest son was working in real estate part-time and had been helping her look for a new home because she was thinking of selling their existing one. Her interest in the field was piqued; one month after her husband’s death, MaryAnn began taking real estate courses. Working and attending school full-time, she graduated in April of 2001 and became licensed by September. In late July 2002, she retired from JC Penney and began her career as a Realtor® with Sulphur Springs Realty.
“I’m not one to just sit,” she described. “I’m a people person, and real estate allows me to spend time with family and friends as well as do something I enjoy for a living.”
In 2004, she became active with the Women’s Council of Realtors®, becoming president of the local chapter in 2008. Through the council, she has raised money and given back to Toledo Children’s Hospital and local food banks. It has also helped her network; through the council, she met an agent for ReMax Masters and in 2007, she began working as a ReMax agent with ReMax Masters.
“Once I started working at ReMax, it was like a shot in the arm,” MaryAnn explained. “Now I am the Ohio Chapter Women’s Council of Realtors® State Governor, and I travel all over in that capacity.”
Despite the recession, MaryAnn said she finds she has been both successful and fulfilled by her job with ReMax Masters. She said when her husband passed away, she wasn’t sure what direction her life was going to take.
“As far as I was concerned my personal life had ended,” she said. “But I thought, how am I going to take care of myself?”
She has done more than just take care of herself: MaryAnn has found a new passion that excites her just as much as law enforcement did.
“I never once thought, I’m 53 years old, I can’t do this,” she said of starting over in real estate. “I’m a can-do person: you just reach out to those you’re close to and go for it, because the answers are everywhere.”
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