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Patricia Zirkelbach WCR State Chapter President 2017
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In Memory of...
I am completely heartbroken to announce former member, Past Local Network President, real estate maverick and Past State President Karen O'Donnell's mother, Jennie Chiccola passed away last night. What am amazing woman and pioneer in our industry who paved the way for all of us.
Please enjoy this article written by Jill Sell in celebration of Jennie's 100th Birthday in October of 2015...
The couple was definitely interested in a house on the market they had seen. So they returned for a second look. Realtor Jennie Chiccola noticed that they brought along a load of firewood. When Chiccola inquired about the bundle, the potential buyers said, "We wanted to see if the fireplace worked."
Chiccola, always protective of her sellers, replied, "Not on my watch you're not."
You didn't want to mess with Chiccola when she was in her prime. Her daughter, Karen O'Donnell, an agent with Northwood Realty Services, said Chiccola was known as "The Closer." Once everyone sat down at the table to negotiate, Chiccola made fast work of the proceedings.
"They just wanted me to stop talking," said Chiccola, who became 100 years old on September 24.
Chiccola was born in 1915 in Cleveland to Russian immigrants Ben and Sarah Weiser. She was the oldest of three sisters who were raised on a farm in Geneva.
Chiccola began her real estate career about 1965. She had secretarial training in high school. But when she noticed that her neighbor (whose family was in the real estate profession) had new furniture, Chiccola said she "went for the money." She sold houses in northeast Ohio for 55 years.
After earning her agent's license she quickly became a broker, one of the first women in the region to achieve that title. She partnered with several other real estate professionals over the years, but is best known for owning Jennie Chiccola Realty that at one time boasted of 150 agents.
Chiccola was also active in the Cleveland Area Board of Realtors (now Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors) and the association's East Side Round Table. She served as president of the area's Women's Council of Realtors in 1972 and 1974, an honor of which she is still very proud.
Even though the real estate industry was very much "a man's world" when she first entered the profession, Chiccola felt little resistance from her male colleagues, whom she called very supportive. She was also supported by her clients.
"But some of her professional choices were risky at that time for a woman. But it worked and she always made time for her five children," said O'Donnell. "She was a den mother, Girl Scout troop leader, school helper and served on the PTA. And she never missed a Little League game or school concert."
The long, but flexible hours were a plus to Chiccola, a resident of Mayfield Heights for 53 years, as they enabled her to juggle a successful career and family.
Obviously, much as changed in the real estate profession since Chiccola first showed her first house. But she said the methods of communications have seen the most radical changes.
"We used the telephone, of course, but it wasn't unusual that an agent would meet in person with someone at 11 or 11:30 at night closing a deal. Now with computers, you don't even have to leave your house to do something like that," said Chiccola. "But I worry that the one-on-one relationship may get lost. The most important thing you must have is your client's trust. You must always be honest with them."
Housing prices were a tad different back then, too. Chiccola recalls houses that sold for $9,000 in the 1960s in Mayfield Heights "are now selling for $99,000."
Chiccola keeps up with real estate news by being a voracious reader of newspapers and magazines, and of course, having a daughter in the same profession.
"Not long ago I was in a restaurant when a young man came up to me and said, 'Jennie?' I said yes, and he told me I had sold his grandmother a house 40 years ago. He said I hadn't changed," said a most pleased Chiccola.
The feeling Chiccola gets when holding a signed contract in her hand hasn't changed either.
"I still get a rush from it," admitted Chiccola.
Patricia Adolph, Stark County WCR 2008 Past Presidents passed this morning, Wednesday 4/26/17.
Pat fought a year-long battle with courage and strength but in the end, cancer won. Cancer sucks!! We take comfort in knowing she is pain free and went home to be with our Lord.
Pat was an amazing REALTOR, Broker, Manager, Friend and WCR supporter. I spent the drive home from OAR today reflecting on all the fun road trips to WCR, OAR, Nationals and Region II with Pat over the last 20+ years. The hotel stays, crazy side trips and laughing until you cried moments.
Pat was always there to assist on committees and events at both WCR and SCAR activities. She was also a Board Director at SCAR, WCR Stark County Member of the Year in 2006 and 2016, Stark County WCR Entrepreneur of the year in 2011.
Pat pre-arranged a "Celebration of Life” event on May 6th. More details to follow. Please pray for Pat's immediate Family: her husband, Don; her two children Brian and Christy, and her grandson Nikko (the joy of her life) as they need a lot of support and HUGS to help them through this difficult time.
Cards can be sent to the Family at 2687 Beaconfield St NW, Uniontown Ohio 44685.
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