EVERETT — You can’t miss the ringtone on Barb Lamoureux’s cell phone. It’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” the theme song from the TV show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
The upbeat tune about says it all for Lamoureux, the founder of Lamoureux Real Estate in North Everett.
The Everett business owner and philanthropist has sought to make the neighborhood a better place for decades.
Lamoureux, whose real estate career spans 33 years, is retiring Feb. 1.
“I’m going to be 79 this year,” Lamoureux said. “And while I think I could do this for a few more years, I worry that if I stay until I’m 80, I won’t have enough energy left to have some fun in retirement.”
Lamoureux has supported a score of nonprofits and civic projects through her fundraising efforts and personal contributions.
Beneficiaries include Housing Hope, Everett’s Christmas House, which distributes holiday gifts to low-income families, and the city of Everett.
Ed Petersen, former CEO of Housing Hope, estimates that Lamoureux has helped raise more than $1 million for the Snohomish County nonprofit.
“Ms. Lamoureux has been instrumental in preserving the historical footprint of our city, sharing her knowledge with potential homebuyers, making significant investments in our parks as witnessed by her generous donation to the Grand Avenue Park and her involvement in our neighborhoods and local business community,” Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin told The Daily Herald in an email.
“On behalf of the City, we would like to congratulate Barb Lamoureux on her upcoming retirement … and thank her for all she has done for our city.”
John Weston and his brokerage, Magnify, will occupy Lamoureux Real Estate’s former offices at 1904 Wetmore Ave. in Everett and serve her clients.
Lamoureux looks forward to traveling and spending time with her grandchildren, as well as continuing her volunteer and fund-raising activities.
She credits her father with instilling in her the belief that “you support the community in which you live.”
“My dad was a really big giver. Early on we were taught that you owe the place you live,” said Lamoureux, a 1963 Everett High School graduate.
Her father went to work for Judd & Black in his 20s and eventually bought the appliance retailer, she said.
Lamoureux graduated from Everett Community College and then attended the University of Washington.
She planned on becoming a teacher but changed her mind to work for the family business. “My brothers worked there, I worked there and my mother worked there,” she said. “Both my brothers bought the business from my dad.”
She ran the back office at Judd & Black. “I didn’t do much in sales. I was a chicken when it came to sales,” she said.
In her 20s, she visited Hawaii and decided to stay. There, she worked as a bookkeeper at Duke’s, singer Don Ho’s nightclub. While living in Hawaii, she met her husband, the late Tom Lamoureux, a Navy sailor stationed at Pearl Harbor. The couple eventually settled in Everett, where they raised two sons, Chris and Aaron.
Lamoureux began her real estate career in 1988 after having a “heart to heart” talk with herself about what to do next.
She wanted a job where “nobody could make me quit or tell me I was too old and had to leave — when I got too old,” Lamoureux said.
“I decided to try real estate because my husband was building houses at the time,” she said.
Paying the monthly rent at the Everett Windermere Real Estate office was a big incentive.
“You had to pay to be at the office,” Lamoureux said of the agency. “There was no forgiveness. If you didn’t make your rent — at that time it was $950 a month — you weren’t allowed to work.”
Her goal was to earn $50,000 a year. “Everyone said you can’t do that,” Lamoureux said. “I said, ‘Watch me!’”
Lamoreux surpassed her own expectations. “Ever since that first year, my business really took off,” she said.
In 2004, she founded Lamoureux Real Estate.
“I came from an entrepreneurial family and I wanted my own business,” she said of her decision.
Both her sons, Chris and Aaron, later joined her at the business. Chris for 24 years; Aaron for three years.
More than three decades later, the ups and downs of the current real estate market don’t faze her.
“All the stuff that’s happening now, I’ve already been there,” Lamoureux said. “Every seven to 10 years there’s always some kind of change in the way business works.”
Whatever the market, “I’m a firm believer that your clients need to be your friends,” she said.
Housing Hope was one of the first nonprofits she supported.
“I wanted to be involved with a charitable group that helped people with housing,” Lamoureux said.
During most of her career at Windermere, Lamoureux chaired the Windermere Foundation, the real estate company’s charitable arm.
Launched in 1989, the foundation is dedicated to helping low-income and homeless families. Since then, the nonprofit has donated more than $50 million to more than 500 charitable groups. A portion of every Windermere agent’s commission is donated to the Windermere Foundation.
As chair, Lamoureux helped fundraise for Housing Hope, which at the time was a fledgling nonprofit.
Housing Hope was “mobilized by 14 faith communities in 1987 but there was no funding,” said former CEO Petersen, who served from 1987 until 2015.
The foundation reached out to Housing Hope offering to help, Petersen said.
“Early on Barb proposed a Windermere Foundation Golf Tournament with 100% of proceeds going to Housing Hope,” Petersen said. “The golf tournament must be at least 30 years old. It still continues to support us.”
The Windermere Foundation also contributed $200,000 to help renovate Housing Hope’s first shelter for families and children, a small apartment building on the corner of 35th Street and Norton Avenue in Everett, now called Windermere-Crossroads Apartments.
The foundation continues to support Housing Hope.
“She not only supported Housing Hope financially and through advocacy but she gave us her first born, Aaron Lamoureux, who served on Housing Hope’s board of directors,” Petersen said with a chuckle.
“I’m a great champion of Barb. She’s a person with a can-do attitude,” Petersen said. “I’ve seen her successes. She’s got great relationships with people and she knows how to sell real estate.”
Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; firstname.lastname@example.org;
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