MAR is mourning the passing of Jack Conway, founder of Jack Conway and Company, who died on July 23 at the age of 88. He was the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® President in 1970 and 1971 and earned the group’s REALTOR® of the Year Award in 1971. He was also 1977 National Association New England Region Vice President.
A reflection by Rob Authier, MAR CEO
It has been my special pleasure to be one of Jack’s friends for the past 36 years. Jack Conway often referred to others as “That Great American”…but in fact, Jack himself embodied that label. He founded and built Conway Country as one would build a New England town…with a family-orientation and strong positive culture that others model. Infused into that culture is the highest of REALTOR® principles, including impeccable ethics, engaging positive outlook and strong business sense. The proof of his effectiveness is that his daughter, Carol, and his entire management team carry on the spirit and culture which Jack and his wife Patti developed. We hear a lot about icons, but Jack truly IS a real estate icon. We all will miss the leadership that he provided to the entire New England real estate community…and I will miss my friend…the Great American!
[A Retrospective by Conway & Company]
Conway’s legacy spans generations of Massachusetts home buyers and sellers
When Jack Conway would tell the story of how he decided to get into real estate, he summed it up as “simple mathematics” – in 1954, he was earning a salary of $119.50 a week as a sportswriter, but as a young father, had expenses of $129 a week. When his boss turned down his request for a $10 raise, the gregarious Mr. Conway turned his talents to real estate sales.
As he remembered it, he earned his first commission check at 6 p.m. on his first day as a salesman for the Martin Cerel Company in Natick, and soon decided that “if I was going to work this hard, I may as well go to work for myself.” Two years later, he opened his own company in a storefront in Hingham Square.
At the time of his death on July 23, 2012 at age 88, the company he began in that small office had grown to 40 offices and 600 sales agents, and is one of the largest independent real estate companies in Massachusetts.
Through his five decades in the real estate business, Mr. Conway was a pioneer in several areas. He was among the first to hire women in what had been a traditionally male-dominated industry and expanded his company to include a mortgage brokerage and training academy.
A master networker, Mr. Conway was widely known for his near photographic memory of names and faces. Often, he would open the door to the conference room at his firm’s headquarters to introduce himself to customers, and more often than not, found a common acquaintance.
Mr. Conway famously did not use voicemail or e-mail, preferring instead to talk face-to-face or over the telephone. He wrote a company newsletter as often as three times a week, including vignettes about his visits to his offices in what he called “Conway Country,” conversations with new agents, or summaries of articles he’d read. When a social-media trainer pointed out that his writings could be considered a blog, he laughed about what he termed his “traditional” approach to doing business. “Personally, I don’t know the difference between a Blackberry and a blueberry,” he said, “but my agents do.”
Although decades removed from the deadlines of the news business, Mr. Conway remained a writer at heart. He authored numerous books about his travels across the country and the world, and collected his essays about the real estate business into several volumes that are used to train agents and managers.
He was the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® President in 1970 and 1971 and earned the group’s REALTOR® of the Year Award in 1971. He was also the former president of RELO, the International Relocation Network. In 2006 Mr. Conway was honored by the National Association of REALTORS® and the Cape Cod and Islands Board of REALTORS® with the “REALTOR® Emeritus” Award. Mr. Conway is a past chair of the Plymouth County Development Council and South Shore Chamber of Commerce, and served on the board of trustees of South Shore Hospital.
In addition to his work in the real estate business, Mr. Conway emphasized the importance of charitable endeavors. MainSpring Coalition for the Homeless named its Middleboro family shelter “The Conway House” in honor of the generous support of Mr. Conway and his wife, Patricia. Brockton Area Multi-Services’ Conway Children’s Advocacy Center for abused children also is named in their honor.
Mr. Conway was the founder of the Ambassadors of Holy Cross, a group that supports the mission work of the Congregation of Holy Cross in the poorest areas of Peru.
Born and raised in Boston, he graduated from Boston College High School and attended the University of Notre Dame. He was a Navy veteran of World War II, and fondly recalled covering the boxing exploits of Brockton native Rocky Marciano as a reporter for the former Boston Record-American.
Mr. Conway is survived by his wife, Patricia (Carroll) Conway of Scituate, a son, Jack Conway Jr. of Florida, and two daughters, Barbara Conway and Carol Bulman, both of Scituate. He was the grandfather of six and great-grandfather of four.