Biography – Madge Irene Davis

Madge Davis, known to close friends as “Mudgie”, was born and raised near Lola, Kansas, in southwestern part of the state. She grew up on a farm and did all the work and chores required of a farmer. In her early teenage years, at the end of the depression, her family owned and operated a large roller rink. To this day, some of the older members of SEC call her the “roller queen.” It was at the roller rink that she met her husband, Jay. They attended college together, married, and she taught school for a short time before they moved to California in 1941.

Jay and Madge had three daughters. Deanna, the oldest, was killed in an auto accident in 1963, leaving an eleven-month-old boy, who is like Madge’s own son. He is now married and has two little girls. Sheryl Kay is the second oldest daughter and resides in Santa Maria, CA. She spent twelve years in the mortgage business as Bill Martin’s partner and is now involved in tax accounting and business audits. Their youngest daughter, Jonnie Marlone lives in San Diego where her husband works for a large computer company. They have one son and two daughters.

When her youngest girl started school, Madge went to work for the Howard Hughes Aircraft Company, where she became an assistant for the contract and property management division. There she learned to set up the useful life tables and depreciation schedules for equipment and buildings and worked closely with contract administrators from Washington, D.C. After twelve years with Hughes, Madge joined a large general contractor as an office manager and assisted him in the overhaul of the El Toro Marine Base in El Toro, CA. After this project was complete, Madge got her real estate license in 1964.

Madge’s first venture into real estate did not last long. She was in a residential office selling single-family houses, which was not exiting or challenging enough to her. Soon, however, she met Bob Steele, took his class and then the Richard Reno class, and came to realize that the concept of moving real estate through client counseling was for her. Madge opened her own office in 1966 and by 1968 was involved in the Society of Exchange Counselors helping others to “see the light”.

Madge’s philosophy in real estate is that counseling is the backbone and the heart of this business, or any business. She says, “Caring about others and trying to help them work through their situation leads to its own financial rewards.” Many of her clients that started working with her in the 1960’s are still her clients. She says, “You should never stop listening to your clients. When you stop listening, you stop being a professional. Always be wary of the other broker who knows it all and the broker who puts commissions before the deal.” If Madge were asked to give advice to an up-and-coming real estate professional, she would definitely advise, “Counsel, care, counsel, care, and know what you are doing when you counsel and care.” Don Eymann, SEC, once told Madge that she listens with her heart. Bruce Howey, SEC, gave her the compliment that she was the best listener of the listeners. Madge says that her weaknesses are that she has never learned to take a compliment graciously, and that she has a cluttered office. Her goals in life are to help others, enjoy family and friends, and to always keep active and never retire, as “retirement is for old people.”

After sharing offices with several of the SEC’s and being a member for more than thirty years, she has many stories to share. One of the most enjoyable transactions she has done was with Bob Steele. They went to escrow to the title agent with their “deal” written on napkins, and each was taking the other’s property in-lieu. Three months later, they closed the transaction as a five-way exchange. Madge has taught real estate exchanging at the college level and in seminars throughout the country, often sharing the stage with Cliff Weaver, Don Eymann, Bob Steele, Marvin Starr, and other leaders in the field. Some of the national awards she has won are the National Expo Weaver Counselor award (1976), National Hall of Fame (1988), SEC Counselor of the Year (1987), and the Clifford Weaver SEC Award (1996).

Madge considers the high points of her life are the time she spends with her own family, as well as with her “SEC family,” many of whom have spent quality time at the Davis home.

In summary, Madge Davis has accumulated more knowledge and wisdom about being a counselor in this business over the years than most of us will know in a lifetime of work. If more real estate brokers in the world were like her and had her beliefs in client counseling, our world would be a better place for our clients and ourselves. It has been an honor to put her biography on paper so that her ideals will not be lost, and also because she remembers me as a little boy.

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