Daniel F. Sheehan*, Sr., 1963 president of the National Association of Real Estate Boards, guided the REALTORS® through a year of social and political trials that was marred by violent unrest over minority housing rights, proposed tax reform that would have adversely affected millions of homeowners, and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
One of President Kennedy's tax reforms that NAREB opposed called for deduction of interest payments, real estate taxes, and casualty losses only to the extent that they exceed 5 percent of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income. President Sheehan said this curtailment of deduction "could hamper and delay the plans of thousands of young couples with limited incomes in becoming homeowners."
The purpose of this amendment was to offset some of the lost revenue of the proposed tax cut. Mr. Sheehan said that "homeowners should not have to bear the brunt of the attempt to capture that lost revenue."
While NAREB was doing battle with the Administration's tax proposals, one of the major social issues in American history, minority housing rights, put REALTORS® square in the middle of the civil rights controversy.
NAREB's stand, though controversial, was firm. President Sheehan, in announcing a 10-point "Property Owner's Bill of Rights," stated: "The individual property owner, regardless of race, color, or creed, must be allowed under law to retain the right to determine acceptability of any prospective buyer or tenant of his property."
Pointing out that the Bill of Rights of the U. S. Constitution essentially limits the role of government, Mr. Sheehan warned that the loss of these rights through government intervention would diminish personal freedom and create a springboard for further erosion of liberty.
In a second major policy statement adopted concurrently with the Property Owners Bill of Rights, President Sheehan announced NAREB's stand on minority housing.
"Enhanced opportunity for the acquisition of private housing by minority groups must of necessity depend on the attitudes of property owners and not upon real estate brokers who are the marketing media."
The complete policy statement was concerned with the obligations of REALTORS® in the free market.
Reacting to the onslaught of state and local proposals to force owners to sell or rent to anyone, Sheehan said: "As citizens and REALTORS® we deplore the inequality which exists in the country in many areas and sympathize with the desires and efforts to solve the problem, but we reiterate it cannot be accomplished with the laws for forced housing."
The National Association was guided through those turbulent times by the steady leadership of Mr. Sheehan. Long active in NAREB work, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association, as a member of the REALTORS® Washington and Executive Committees, as chairman of the REALTOR® Public Relations Committee, as president of the National Institute of Real Estate Brokers, as vice-president of NAREB and two terms of the Association's treasurer. In addition, he was a past president of the American Chapter of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI).
Born in St. Louis, Mr. Sheehan lived in Clayton, Mo., with his wife, Bernice.
He was the chairman of the executive committee and senior vice president of Dolan and Company, REALTORS® in St. Louis.
Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).