In Memoriam: 1987 NAR President William M. Moore

January 11, 2019

William M. Moore

William M. Moore in a 1987 photo.

William M. Moore, who helped catapult public awareness of the REALTOR® brand in the pre-internet era as 1987 president of the National Association of REALTORS®, passed away Jan. 8 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 86 and resided in Castle Pines Village in Castle Rock, Colo.

The year Moore took office at NAR—a decade before the digital revolution in real estate marketing—he persuaded tens of thousands of members to incorporate the REALTOR® logo into their business practices for the first time. In the mid-1980s only about half of NAR members reported using the trademark on their office and yard signs, business cards, and letterhead stationery. By the end of Moore’s term, REALTOR® logo usage reportedly had climbed to 80 percent of NAR’s then 806,000 members. 
 
“This has been an accomplishment, but we need to continue the pressure, “ he said of the successful brand awareness campaign in an NAR publication celebrating the 80th anniversary of the association in 1988.
 
Moore is survived by his wife of 20 years Freda Moore, daughter Linda Moore Niederman and her husband Peter, who was Moore’s longtime business partner, and two grandchildren. Moore was divorced from his first wife, the late Donna Lou Moore. Daughter Marla Moore was killed in a car accident in 1983.

Another “hot button” issue identified by Moore during his NAR presidency was the urgency to boost professionalism in the industry. He put a spotlight on the educational opportunities provided by NAR’s institutes, societies, and councils, and championed a “cross credit” program for agents that enabled members who completed in-house training offered by their brokerage to earn credit toward a CRS designation. The goal was to “enable consumers to work with better-educated salespeople,” Moore explained in the 1987 NAR Annual Report.

Ever the optimist about his lifelong profession, Moore’s overarching message to REALTORS® in 1987 resonates just as powerfully today: “If we can increase our members’ competency and productivity as well as we’ve improved in other areas, we’ll ‘knock ‘em dead’ in five to ten years. Our members will be the elite movers and shakers in the industry.” 

Striving to boost member involvement in the legislative process, Moore proudly reported that RPAC raised more than $2.5 million during his presidency, the highest level ever in a nonelection year at the time. “That was a real win that required a good game plan, a lot of effort, and effective coordination,” he said.

Moore joined his family's real estate business, Moore Realty Co., started by his father Max, after graduating with a business degree from the University of Colorado in 1954. He took over the company, then called the Moore Cos., in 1970, which at the time had 62 sales people in three branch offices. By the time he became NAR president, the Moore Cos. included 24 residential sales offices around Denver; commercial, builder marketing, and development divisions; and a mortgage company and an insurance agency. It was the largest family-owned real estate operation in the state, with 425 salespeople and 200 employees. 

Moore’s marketing acumen not only benefited NAR, but was also reflected in his business management. He adopted the slogan, ”Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care” and ensured that the mantra appeared on plaques throughout his company’s offices. “The slogan helps our salespeople when they walk into the office every morning,” he said. “The bigger a company becomes the harder it is to convey that personal feeling to buyers and sellers.”

Moore sold his real estate business to Coldwell Banker in 1998 and stayed on as president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Moore & Company. He became co-owner of The Kentwood Co. residential brokerage firm with his son-in-law Peter Niederman in 2007. He also previously was the owner of Bill Moore Enterprises Inc., a commercial brokerage and development company, and MAC Holdings Inc.

“He was a gem of a man. Anyone who knew him loved him,” said Niederman. “He was like a second father to me and he considered me the son he never had. He was my best friend.”

Moore was a founding member of the NAR commercial affiliate CCIM and also served on the Real Estate Council at Colorado University's Leeds School of Business.

Before becoming NAR president, Moore was a regional vice president of the association in 1984, representing Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. In his rise through the leadership ranks, he served on NAR’s executive, strategic planning, mortgage banking, and legislative committees. In 1980, he was president of the REALTORS® National Marketing Institute, an NAR affiliate.

At the state level, Moore was president of the Colorado Association of REALTORS® in 1975 and was Colorado REALTOR® of the Year in 1977. “He remained very loyal to Colorado REALTORS®” well after his national duties ended, said association CEO Tyrone Adams. “When we had a tough issue, he would lend his insight and support. He was highly respected in all circles.”  

A celebration of Moore’s life will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 3 p.m. at Greenwood Community Church in Greenwood Village, Colo. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Moore’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado.