Ralph W. Pritchard

President of the National Association of REALTORS® - 1980

As one of the subjects of a book about the ten most influential people in the real estate industry (The Real Estate People, by Robert Shook, published by Harper & Row in 1980), Ralph W. Pritchard* was quoted as saying, “Sure, part of what drives me to be president of the NAR is ego; it’s a very prestigious office. But it’s also something I thoroughly enjoy. And I believe I can have a real impact on the real estate industry.”

President of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® in 1971, Pritchard began his involvement with the National Association the same year as a national director, a trustee of the REALTORS® Political Action Committee, and chair of NAR’s State Associations Committee. In 1974, while serving as vice chair of the Professional Standards Committee, he was named REALTOR® of the Year by the Illinois Association.

While president of NAR, Pritchard was instrumental in developing “The 2 Percent Solution,” a plan to reduce economic inflation, elements of which were incorporated into the Reagan administration’s economic recovery proposals in the early 1980s.

In 1983, he served as the U.S. chapter president of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), and was worldwide president of the organization in 1985 and 1986.

Pritchard, of LaGrange, IL, was chairman of the board of Joseph A. Thorsen Co., a Chicago-area residential brokerage.  Pritchard joined the firm as a salesman in 1949, was appointed manager of Thorsen’s Downers Grove office in 1952 and was named sales manager in 1959. He assumed the presidency of the firm in 1966 and became owner in 1969.

He served as president of the LaGrange Board of REALTORS® in 1964 and 1965, and was an active member of the Chicago and Dupage County Boards of REALTORS®. 

In addition to his active involvement in the REALTOR® organization, Pritchard was also quite active in civic activities. He served a president of the YMCA Men’s Club, chairman of the Crusade of Mercy, director of the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce, among other community volunteer roles. He died in LaGrange, IL, in 1992.

Source: National Association of REALTORS® Archives.

* Deceased