North Texas real estate icon Gloria Van Zandt dies at 79


Gloria Van Zandt

Gloria Van Zandt

In the real estate world and beyond, Gloria Van Zandt has been a tireless negotiator.

At some point, after suffering an aneurysm, she tried to find a way out of the intravenous tubes during her recovery, recalls her son Roscoe Van Zandt.

“She said,“ You know, I understand your point of view, but why don’t we just untie one hand right now and see how it goes? “- he recalled with a laugh.

Gloria Van Zandt’s tenacity and energy have supported her through a successful life in regional real estate, serving the Arlington communities and efforts to perpetuate local history. She died on June 8 at her home in Pantego at the age of 79.

Colleagues in several of her dozens of jobs and jobs said she was a hardworking, energetic and woman who challenged gender roles at a time when successful real estate businesses and leadership roles in the community were still largely dominated by men. Those who knew Van Zandt described her as “dynamo” and “cheerful”.

“Her reputation as a realtor and dealmaker was excellent,” said Dixon Holman, president of the Arlington Board of Realtors. “She is someone who has exceeded many generations in real estate.”

Van Zandt owned and operated her eponymous company Van Zandt Realtors from 1981 to 1996 when she sold the business to Wm. Riggs Realtors. According to Star-Telegram archives, a year before the sale of the company, Van Zandt Realtors employees registered sales of over $ 100 million.

Larry Johnson, who served as CEO of the Arlington Board of Realtors while Van Zandt was heavily involved, said everyone knew they could rely on her.

“I think she was everything to everyone,” Johnson said. “What she wanted and what she did was amazing. … And she did it at a time when she dominated the real estate industry. “

Van Zandt has also been active in city organizations and has held leadership positions at the Arlington Quality of Life Foundation and the Fine Arts Council, the Arlington Council of Realtors, the City Chamber of Commerce and the UT Arlington Library Friends Advisory Council.

Gerald Saxon, former Dean of UT Libraries in Arlington, said Van Zandt made Friends of Libraries what it was.

“It looked like a live wire,” Saxon said. “She was full of energy, enthusiasm, she shook the bushes, gathering people for our meetings. I have to say that she has achieved phenomenal success. “

According to Saxon, her passion for the UTA library arose out of her love for Arlington. Van Zandt took pride in her upbringing in Arlington, built a successful real estate business in the city, and was eager to learn more about the history of the city and the region.

One of the ways she accomplished this was by getting donations and new members for Friends of the Libraries at UTA. She was the founding president and Saxon said she exceeded expectations. At the first meeting, Saxon said that the organization has several members. In just a few meetings, there were more than 200 of them.

And although it was one of her most passionate projects in society (her family even asked donations to the organization in her name instead of flowers), this was not her only local interest.

Top O ‘Hill Terrace

Real estate was far from Van Zandt’s only area of ​​expertise.

In fact, for many years, Van Zandt’s 1969 essay on Arlington’s infamous gambling establishment Top O ‘Hill Terrace was the only resource for a casino disguised as a restaurant and tea garden.

“To this day, many film companies want to shoot movies on top of the hill,” said Roscoe Van Zandt.

Gloria Van Zandt became a resource for Vicky Bryant, the site’s curator, as she collected information for her tours. Bryant has directed terrace tours for over two decades, often calling or consulting Van Zandt about discoveries.

“If I got really fantastic information, she would be one of the first people I would call,” Bryant said of Van Zandt. “I told her over and over again that she was a springboard to what is happening today.”

Counselor, mentor

Van Zandt stayed close to everyone, regardless of time or place. According to her longtime friend Tracy Stanley, this included talking to strangers.

“She has never met a stranger. “If there were 100 people in the room, she would be next to each of them until the end of the night,” Stanley recalled.

Likewise, Van Zandt had a habit of saying, “You need to do this,” Stanley added, “and she won’t give up on anyone until they do it.”

Van Zandt’s strong convictions earned Jim Maybach, president of Peyco Southwest, a seat on the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce group after she joined. She called Maybach afterward to tell him that he would join.

“These are the kind of leadership positions she could take and then hire additional people,” Maybach said.

Kayleigh Broussard covers Arlington for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as a report for a member of the American Corps. Report for America is a national, non-profit program that places journalists on local newsrooms to highlight problem cities and issues. To support this reporter’s work and local journalism in Arlington, consider donating here:

James Hartley is a Fort Worth Star-Telegram news reporter. He is passionate about true stories, movies, baseball, and good hot tea. You can reach James on Twitter @ByJamesHartley or Instagram @JamesTakesPhotos. Want reporters like James to help you stay on top of your community? You can help Star-Telegram continue to offer great local, business, political, sports and cultural news by purchasing a digital or print subscription today.

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