Giving himself freely in work or play, Cyrus Crane Willmore* exemplified his own definition of a champion: "A fighter who can go just one more round." He was known by this credo: "Through all times, the optimists have sailed uncharted seas, for they are the makers of the charts."
An orphan raised on a Wisconsin farm, Mr. Willmore studied law at the University of Illinois, where he was the first man to simultaneously hold the positions of manager of the Illinois Inter-scholastic and president of the Athletic Association. After he was admitted to the Illinois Bar, he entered a St. Louis real estate office. He founded the Cyrus Crane Willmore Organization, Inc., in 1920, which specialized in the development of high grade home districts.
University Park and University Hills, the first subdivisions he created, grew in eight years from cornfield and pasture to communities valued at $25 million. Late in 1929, on a 700 acre tract, Mr. Willmore started St. Louis Hills, a city within a city. He daringly chose this project for the last undeveloped land within the city limits. It "outsold" the depression. Three million dollars worth of lots were sold within 18 months.
With his shoulder against the wheel of every civic and charitable movement in his community, "Cy" was a president of the St. Louis Real Estate Exchange, the Optimist Club of St. Louis and Optimist International. Before he became NAREB's president, he served as vice president and chairman of its former Land Developers and Homebuilders Division.
As wartime president of the Association, "Cy" led its services to the government and campaigned constantly the need for private initiative. Under his leadership, the Association promoted construction of war housing so far as possible by private enterprise and limiting public war housing mainly to temporary structures and conversions. It fought for fair administration of rent control payments in lieu of taxes for federal land acquisitions and orderly liquidation of federally acquired real estate surplus property.
Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).