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The legacy of Bob and Gladys Beal

The IREM Foundation receives a generous gift from longtime Institute champions

By 1991 IREM President John W. Magnuson, CPM
Bob and Gladys
Beal while
attending an IREM
Study Tour in Spain.
Bob and Gladys Beal while attending an IREM Study Tour in Spain.

There was a period of time in IREM history when most members and staff either knew or knew of Bob and Gladys Beal. They were a wonderful couple and perhaps, to borrow a term from Gestalt philosophy, their “whole” was greater than the sum of their parts. It would be difficult to put a number on how many CPMs and ARMs were born out of their generosity and mentorship.

Those who knew Bob, a longtime CPM and friend of IREM, would say he was more interested in turning the spotlight away from himself and instead directing it toward others, helping them succeed to higher levels of achievement. He had high expectations for those he took under his wing, and he proved an inspirational and paternal leader. And he was an includer, a connector. If you came for a visit, Bob ensured it was an experience by taking you fishing or setting up a meeting with the governor.

Bob and his wife, Gladys, had a deep love for IREM and wanted to share this love with others. They generously named the IREM Foundation as beneficiary to their trust. The Foundation has received over a million dollars in distributions from the trust to date, an unprecedented gift. The funds will be used to support the Beals’ desire for IREM to prosper, lead, educate, create passion and endure in the field of professional real estate management.

Below are some more memories of Bob and Gladys, shared by several IREM members who knew them well. Their stories should give you plenty of insight into a couple who made IREM a very special place to learn, lead and, as you’ll read, make lasting friendships. The IREM Foundation is truly blessed by the gift it’s received from Robert K. and Gladys M. Beal.

Bob Beal, CPM (1930-2013), was a mentor and inspiration to many at IREM throughout his 40+ year membership, serving as the Arkansas Chapter president and on countless boards and committees, including the IREM Foundation Board of Directors. In 1992, he earned the Foundation’s Louise L. and Y.T. Lum Award and in 2010 the J. Wallace Paletou Award—both for distinguished and significant contributions to the real estate management industry.

I had the opportunity to be friends with Bob and Gladys Beal for over 30 years. I learned that there was so much more to the little good-hearted couple from Little Rock who could charm the bark right off a tree. Over the years, their devotion to IREM and what it stood for became both well-known and well-documented. Bob and Gladys became legendary role models for IREM friends and peers. Their generous gift to the IREM Foundation will help sustain the organization’s mission and cement the Beals’ legacy into the annals of IREM history.

—Michael Simmons, CPM, 1999 IREM President

I’ve never been able to remember meeting Bob Beal—he was just always there. As I became more and more involved with IREM, I became more aware of his presence. Perhaps that says more about him than one would realize at first blush. Bob was never the one leading the parade—he was always pushing from the back, making sure everything was moving in the right direction. His easy way and Southern charm made him a natural influencer, and I’m sure those who benefited from his efforts will attest to his effect on their success.

Bob and Gladys were easy to be around; whether you were an old friend or new acquaintance, they welcomed you with open arms. Conversations quickly turned into one-liners and a comedy act that never got old. I prefer to remember Bob through his funny stories and quaint Southern sayings. He could always bring a smile to my face. I miss you, Beady Eyes.

—Robert Click, CPM, 2008 and 2009 IREM Foundation President

Bob and I met in a cocktail lounge over 35 years ago while attending an IREM national meeting. Our cherished friendship was built around IREM, sailing trips (he began as a valued crew member and reached the rank of Purser), the “National Advisory Board” (a group of IREM friends that has been meeting annually for over 35 years), his wife (“The Li’l Darlin’”—who was responsible for all the good things Bob did) and golf (he never gave me a putt in almost 40 years!).

He was a cherished friend who I’ll never forget. He set the standard for creating and maintaining relationships through all he touched and will long be remembered as “one of a kind.”

—Bill Borsari, CPM, 1992 IREM President

Bob Beal and I served together on the IREM Income/Expense Analysis Advisory Board for several years. Various members and visitors to the board would come and go during that time, but Bob was an absolute fixture.

Speaking of “Absolute” reminds me how he would order the first pre-dinner drink at “National Advisory Board” dinners. He would painstakingly review all the ingredients [of his drink orders] with our sometimes confused servers.

—Tom Hirsch, CPM, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Robert K. Beal was my mentor and a driving force in the real estate management profession. I graduated from Harding University in 1969 with the full intention of teaching school and coaching basketball. I did just that for over seven years, until I entered a profession that was foreign to me.

After finding out about a property management position opening at Rector Phillips Morse (RPM), Inc. I thought I would apply and see what happened. That was the first time I met Mr. Beal. I was hired after a few interviews, each lasting a bit longer than the previous one.

I had no idea what I was supposed to do or accomplish, but I was assigned about 200 small apartment and single-family properties. I had been on the job for less than a year when Mr. Beal walked into my office and told me I was scheduled to attend an IREM course. I remember asking what, exactly, was IREM, and he informed me that obtaining the Certified Property Manager designation from IREM would be my master’s degree in the property management profession.

From that point on, IREM became not just my master’s program, but also an ongoing program of education and professionalism. And Bob Beal supported and encouraged me along the way.

Bob was adamant that all residential managers working for RPM get the Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) certification and support the Arkansas Chapter ARM Committee. Because of that effort, IREM Arkansas became an award-winning chapter year after year.

Bob believed in the old adage, “You surround yourself with successful people and give them the opportunity to excel, and you and your company will excel.” The chapter, IREM and RPM are better because of Robert K. Beal.

—Ronald Goss, CPM, 2011 IREM President

In 1989, I was a 29-year-old president for the Western Washington Chapter, and I attended the IREM Asset Symposium. There was a golf tournament, and I was placed in a group with Robert O. Click, CPM, Charlie Scroggins, CPM, and Robert K. Beal, CPM. Little did I know my life was about to change forever. Rob [Click] and I were chapter presidents paired with two legends from Region 5. Mr. Beal was a true gentleman. From that day forward, he introduced us to IREM and taught us what the Institute was all about. Over the years, we continued to serve the Institute with his guidance. Mr. Beal and Gladys introduced me to their entire IREM family, including the legendary Arkansas Chapter, Beverly Roachell, CPM, Ron Goss, CPM, and so many of the wonderful people from Region 5. Over the years, many of us got together outside of the IREM national meetings. I learned many life lessons and was able to make sound career decisions thanks to IREM and these gentlemen, including Mr. Beal.

The generous gift to the IREM Foundation from Mr. and Mrs. Beal goes far beyond the financial donation. They welcomed and nurtured me and a generation of young CPMs who made significant contributions to IREM that will last forever. I am truly blessed and grateful to have known the Beals.

—E. Craig Suhrbier, CPM, CRE, FRICS, 2001 IREM President

I miss Bob. So many memories. Long days under sail, his point-on aphorisms, fishing the White River. It has been a while but seldom does a week pass where I don’t think of him. Bob “Beady Eyes”—hard on the outside, soft and empathetic inside. It was a privilege to know him. His numerous contributions to IREM—most especially this final one—will have a lasting impact on the organization he loved. Thanks, Beady.

—Ed Boudreau, CPM, 2002 IREM President

As for me, I met Bob Beal at the IREM national meeting in Jamaica. My life changed that day. Within months, he was one of my best friends and remained one until the day he died. He brought a contingent of employees destined to become CPMs and ARMs to that meeting, and he made certain they met everyone in attendance and had a rousing good time! In a precious few days, many IREM committees had a member of his award-winning Arkansas Chapter on their rosters. Bob was an avid committee member and officer of IREM, and he made certain that responsibilities were not shirked.

He mentored in a no-nonsense fashion. He reasoned that if he paid for someone’s education, they’d best put that knowledge to work for the company. It worked. RPM Management, AMO, was and is a very successful business. Two of his employees even went on to become IREM National Presidents: Beverly Roachell, CPM [1994], and Ronald Goss, CPM [2011].

Bob challenged me once to say what my philosophy of success is, in one sentence. I told him it is one’s ability to establish and maintain meaningful and lasting relationships with people. He asked, “What about money? What about power, influence and authority?” I thought about it and told him I’d never seen him flaunt any of those and if he didn’t, then neither would I. He simply said, “Hmmph, glad you’ve been paying attention.”

Journal of Property Management

John W. Magnuson, CPM, served as IREM president in 1991 and has held many roles throughout his years with the Institute, including RVP, SVP and instructor, teaching courses globally for over 20 years. He is a member of The Academy of Authors and recipient of the Lloyd D. Hanford, Sr. Distinguished Faculty and the Louise L. and Y. T. Lum Awards. John and his wife, Bonnie, founded Magnuson Management Inc. in 1975 and in 1993 cofounded Holly Residential Property Trust, now a part of Equity Residential REIT.

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