Remembering those who helped pave the way to success – Orange County Register

Most of you are reading this just before Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. The freedom to live in a great country with endless opportunities to worship, work, and live without the threat of an oppressive government.

For those – we give thanks.

To those who lost loved ones in this struggle, our deepest condolences. Today, I would like to share with you some people who have been instrumental in my career in commercial real estate and who, unfortunately, are no longer with us. None that I know of have served our country, but are remembered with fondness nonetheless.

Bill Lee

Bill left this world on April 5, 2021, surrounded by friends and loved ones. I wrote a column in this space about Bill’s life and his impact on commercial real estate.

Bill’s enthusiasm was contagious. I loved him from the moment we met. His wheels were always turning, and you felt it when you talked to him. He was always open to new ideas and very aware of opportunities. The moments with Bill were memorable, even his tendency to be chronically late.

I finally learned to tell Bill that a meeting was 30 minutes before it actually started so he would show up on time. Fashionable indeed!

Because I could never count on Bill’s punctuality, I was very conscious of the preparation for my meeting. Thus, I was less dependent on his presence. Maybe that was his intention all along – to train me to be ready.

The importance of cooperation with your competitors was also gleaned. Please don’t get me wrong. Bill wanted to beat them for missions, but once the client decided, cooperation was key.

Sam Buchanan Sr.

I had the privilege of knowing my paternal grandfather, Samuel Abraham Buchanan Sr., until his death on March 30, 1975. He was 71 years old. I thought he was an old man. Now that I’m 65, I’ve revised my definition of old.

Grandfather founded the Buchanan Bottling Co. in 1930, in Texarkana, Texas. Rehoused were his wife and two small boys.

I am always amazed by his courage. Taking a risk at this time, when the Great Depression was in full swing and a world war was a decade away, starting a business and moving your family on hope and prayer was all truly remarkable. Observing the joys and difficulties of our family business prepared me well for a career in advising family manufacturing businesses on their real estate decisions.

Sam Buchanan Jr.

Like many father-son relationships can be, ours has been strained at times. I spent way too much time worrying about his opinion of me.

Shortly after his death on July 4, 2020, I wrote this final moment:

“Dad, as an adult I was the best I could be. I celebrated 40 years of marriage with the love of my life, I raised three incredible college graduates, I had the lucky enough to have five beautiful grandchildren, i live debt free, i don’t drink, smoke or do drugs, i have succeeded in one of the toughest industries in one of the most more competitive, have a great relationship with our entire family, and enjoy strong faith in God.

I have dad to thank for pushing me to accomplish.

Sheldon McKnight

“Shelly” was one of my dearest friends and clients until her death in 2017. My first meeting in 1996 was a calling sign.

You see, people who needed a building used to drive around and call agents whose names appeared on the signs.

He described his need as follows: 4,000 square feet of space at dock height which he would prefer to rent on a monthly basis. You brokers understand.

Best case scenario was a $200 paycheck. And I should mention that such a deal was rarer than a Big Foot sighting.

Something inside me told me that I shouldn’t shine on this gentleman but that I should try to help him. His requirement grew into a much bigger deal – a 15,000 square foot sale. Many more would follow, in fact, 18 in all over the next decade and a half.

Later, Sheldon told me about his strategy. He wanted to team up with someone who was hungry and would work hard for him. By describing a very small case, he knew he would weed out those who weren’t interested in rolling up their sleeves.

So this is it. Rest well my dear. Our memories are still alive.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal at Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at [email protected] or 714.564.7104.

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