Brokerage

Michigan real estate heavyweight Richard ‘Dick’ Elsea dies

Real Estate One founder grew the Detroit-based family real estate firm into the 10th largest in the US

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The man who created Detroit-based brokerage Real Estate One and grew the family-owned business to the 10th-largest real estate firm in the U.S. and the largest in Michigan has died at the age of 83. Richard "Dick" Elsea was born in Detroit, and 11 years after becoming a branch manager at his father's Detroit-based firm, Elsea Realty, in 1959, he negotiated a merger with other Detroit-area firms to create Real Estate One. He died Tuesday from complications related to a stroke he suffered two weeks ago. Elsea's sons Dan and Stuart became co-presidents of Real Estate One in 1999 when the elder Elsea became CEO and chairman of the firm's board. "Dick was one of the most well-respected guys in the industry that I ever came across," said ERA Real Estate executive business consultant Mark Jeffers. He worked with Elsea and his two sons as president of Real Estate One's franchise network and vice president of business development from 2001 to 2006. Jeffers says that Elsea brough...