The Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR) and the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Foundation honored former CAR president Marion Maner by dedicating a park bench in his name this morning.
The memorial bench is located in Avalon Park, a Chicago Park District property, near his former real estate office and his Calumet Heights home. Maner, who served as CAR’s president from 1977 to 1978, died in October 2013. He was the association’s first African-American president.
“We deeply appreciate all that Marion accomplished, including his work to include people of all ethnicities and backgrounds in the Chicago real estate industry,” Zeke Morris, past-president of CAR and managing broker/principal at the Morris Group, Century 21 Affiliated – Hyde Park, said. “He was soft-spoken, but able to inspire others to be leaders within our association, our industry and his community.”
In addition to Morris, other speakers included Chicago Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer of the 6th Ward, Marion’s son Sidney Maner and Willa Lang of the Chicago Parks Foundation. Special attendees were members of CAR’s board, officers and past presidents; Maner’s family and friends, Dearborn REALTIST® officers and the senior pastor of Messiah and St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church.
Maner founded Maner Realty in 1956 and became one of the first African-American brokers. He served as president of the Dearborn REALTIST® Board. He became CAR president in 1977. He was a dedicated family man and fisherman, popular throughout his neighborhood and the larger Chicago real estate community.
He was born in Allendale, SC on Jan. 27, 1920. He attended Allendale Training School, graduated and then South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, SC. Following graduation, he worked for the United States Treasury Department in Washington, DC, and Chicago.
In 1942, he opened a grocery store. In 1956, he started his own real estate company. Maner fought discrimination in housing for African-Americans and helped many families find homes. In 1958, he married Nelda Clarke, and in 1959 their son Sidney was born. Nelda Maner worked in the real estate business as the secretary, and Sidney Maner later joined the business as an agent. Sidney Maner continues to work as an Illinois REALTOR® for the Maner Realty Company today.