Delora "Dee" Crowley was a hard worker who showed unwavering dedication to the real estate profession and her family, relatives and colleagues remembered Tuesday.
Crowley, 77, died March 17 after a lengthy illness. She moved to Merced 47 years ago and forged careers as a drugstore employee, chiropractic office manager and X-ray technician before moving to real estate sales in 1977. She retired in 2005.
Retired real estate agent Marilyn Landolina worked with Crowley for 25 years and said she would work seven days a week selling houses.
"Dee was passionate about her work," Landolina said. "She had great compassion for her clients; they were her extended family. The only vacation she ever took was to a Century 21 convention."
Crowley started her real estate career in 1977 with broker Nancy Brawley.
"Dee always had a positive attitude," Brawley said. "She was such a worker; she would come in at 10 a.m. and sometimes stay as late as 10 p.m. It wasn't the money; she received her satisfaction from helping people, some of whom no one else would work with."
Crowley, a native of San Diego who lived in Minneapolis until her late teens, never seemed depressed or stressed out, Brawley recalled. Crowley stayed with Brawley until 1980 when she closed her office and then moved over to Salvadori Realty.
Fellow real estate colleague Roberta Flanagan said Crowley was determined and quickly learned the complicated nuances of selling homes.
Longtime family friend Glen Peters said Crowley was a fantastic person who called all her friends "kiddo."
"She was very knowledgeable about real estate and generous. She gave a lot," Peters said.
Crowley's granddaughter, Katrina Johnson of Merced, said her grandmother was a strong, dedicated and loving woman.
"She showed us the meaning of family," Johnson said. "She was pretty much the backbone of the family. If anyone needed braces or shoes for school, she made sure they didn't go without. Birthdays and Christmas were her favorites."
Crowley was in the top 1 percent of Century 21 agents worldwide and was inducted into the Century 21 Hall of Fame 11 years ago.
Services were held Tuesday afternoon at Christian Life Center in Merced, and burial was private.
She is survived by her daughter, Sherry, of Merced; a son, Robert of Fresno; a brother, Richard Hillman of Atwater, and five grandchildren.