A longtime real estate agent and trailblazing businesswoman in Merced and Chowchilla has died, a representative of the company confirmed on Friday.
Roberta Flanagan, who died Thursday, was one of the first three women to open an independent real estate brokerage office in Merced, according to Carole McCoy a retired Merced real estate agent.
She was 92.
The mother of six got her real estate license in 1960.
“She was probably the youngest of the three to own her own brokerage,” McCoy said. “Back in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, real estate was basically a man’s world. There were not that many women in it at all, so she was a role model.”
McCoy called Flanagan smart and hard-working.
Back in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, real estate was basically a man’s world. There were not that many women in it at all, so she was a role model.
Carole McCoy, retired Realtor, on Roberta Flanagan
The Roberta Flanagan Realtor Inc. main office remains on G and 21st streets, marked by the green-and-white sign featuring a jumping leprechaun.
Flanagan built one of the largest independent firms in the area, McCoy said, and never teamed with a national company.
Flanagan and her twin brother, Robert, were born July 15, 1924, to parents who were natives of Merced County, according to public records. She learned the jewelry business at a young age: Her parents ran Haun Jewelry from 1914 to 1943 in downtown Merced, at the corner of 17th and L streets, according to Sun-Star archives.
She started out in Chowchilla, working as a saleswoman to get some knowledge under her belt, and then started her own business in 1970, according to archives.
She was old school. She was the best. She really set the gold standard for professionalism and integrity in the early days.
Andy Krotik, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Gonella Realty in Atwater
Flanagan was a “pillar of the real estate community,” according to Andy Krotik, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Gonella Realty in Atwater.
“She was old school. She was the best,” he said. “She really set the gold standard for professionalism and integrity in the early days.”
Flanagan was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Merced Board of Realtors in 1999, and she served as a member of both the Merced and Madera Board of Realtors, according to her company’s website.