In Memory of Arthur Leitch: Fair Housing Giant

March 1, 2002

Each April, NAR celebrates its commitment to fair housing. For many real estate industry veterans, Fair Housing Month this year will also be a time to celebrate the legacy of Arthur Leitch, the NAR president who united the industry behind the concept of equal housing opportunity. Leitch passed away in July 2001 at the age of 90.

As president of NAR in 1975, Leitch sponsored an affirmative marketing program requiring every board of REALTORS® to support equal housing opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or ethnic origin.

Leitch had been campaigning to bring NAR policy in line with national policy since 1968, when the federal Fair Housing Act was passed. But in 1975, when he brought his proposal before the NAR board of directors, he met with stringent opposition, recalls Ira Gribin, 1989 NAR president. Eventually Lietch prevailed, paving the way for NAR to play an active role in federal fair housing policy.

In the 1970s, Leitch owned 17 offices in San Diego County. He also developed property and taught real estate and development courses at the University of California at San Diego. By the mid-1990s Leitch had downsized to one office, Art Leitch, REALTORS®, which is now managed by his son-in-law, James Hassard. Yet he remained active in the industry and in the fraternity of past NAR leaders. Says Gribin, “Art was an incredibly good human being.”

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