Richard J. “Dick” Loughlin, who served as president and CEO for Century 21 Real Estate Corp. from 1981-95, died Aug. 2.
Loughlin, who was named president emeritus of Century 21 after HFS bought Century 21 in 1995 for $200 million from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., had also served on the National Association of Realtors executive committee and on boards for several other real estate-related companies and organizations. He was a part-owner of the Carolina Panthers National Football League team and he was a strong supporter of the Easter Seals organization, which offers services to assist people with disabilities.
At a national convention in March, Century 21 named its highest honor for a real estate sales associate in his honor. The annual award for an agent, which recognized a personal commitment to the community among other attributes, is now known as the Dick Loughlin International Hall of Fame Award.
Thomas R. Kunz, president and CEO for Century 21 Real Estate LLC, said it was Loughlin who recruited him to join the company in 1982. “He was the gentleman who brought me to Century 21,” Kunz recalled. “At the time I was working on a national MLS project.” When that project fell through, Loughlin offered Kunz a technology position with the company.
Century 21 had a five-year plan, Kunz said, “that was looking to bring full service to real estate: mortgage, insurance, securities, and automation. When you think back to ’81-’82, those were some pretty out-reaching initiatives for an organization to make. (Loughlin) was probably a few years ahead of the industry in what we were looking to do.”
Loughlin was a very likable person, Kunz said, and he developed a friendship with him. “He was a great guy, with a huge smile. He befriended everybody who he knew. We would talk periodically throughout the year.” A sports enthusiast, Loughlin invited Kunz and other old friends from Century 21 each year to sit with him in a luxury box at a Carolina Panthers football game. “The night before the game we’d all go out to dinner,” Kunz said. “He loved sports — a lot of sports.” Kunz recalled the office “Fantasy Football” and other sports contests that Loughlin enjoyed.
Loughlin moved from Southern California to the Lake Tahoe-area community of Incline Village, Nev., after he retired, and had more recently moved to a home in the Napa Valley area in California, Kunz said.
“Dick liked Absolut on the rocks — a double Absolut on the rocks — but he also had one of the finest wine cellars you have ever seen,” Kunz said.
Loughlin attended the Century 21 awards ceremony earlier this year when the announcement was made about the award that now bears his name, Kunz said.
Under Loughlin’s leadership, Century 21 raised millions for Easter Seals. And to date, Century 21 affiliates have raised about $86 million for the organization. “Our goal this year is $6.25 million,” Kunz said.
Loughlin’s death, he said, “Is a huge loss.”
Jim Williams, president and CEO for Chicago-based Easter Seals, said he was “completely shocked” when he heard that Loughlin had died.
“I got to be pretty good friends with Dick. My impression: he was one of these just very genuine, real people who loved people. He loved life. There were no hidden agendas — what you saw is what you got. He had a great sense of humor, he was a rather rare commodity,” Williams said. “He just filled up a room when he walked in, with his personality.”
Williams recalled Loughlin’s excitement with his involvement in the Carolina Panthers. Just after Loughlin got involved with the team, Williams said he recalls meeting up with Loughlin in Washington, D.C. “He was looking at uniform designs and colors and was so proud to be involved with that football team. He talked about that in just glowing terms — he was like a little kid.”
Loughlin served from 1985-89 as a member of the Easter Seals national board of directors. He regularly donated Carolina Panthers tickets to an Easter Seals-related organization in North Carolina after his retirement from Century 21.
Williams said, “He was a rare man, and he left quite a legacy.”
Kunz said a small private memorial service would be held for Loughlin, and Loughlin’s wife, Bobbie, would set a time for a celebration of his life that would be attended by a larger group of friends.