Theodore H. Maenner

President of the National Association of REALTORS® - 1949

Referred to as the "great missionary president", Theodore Maenner* brought the REALTOR® story to the non-real estate world. As past chairman of the REALTORS®' Washington Committee, he became aware of the importance of political involvement. His efforts led to a pledge by the Association to fight for constitutional amendments limiting federal taxing power and prohibiting government from engaging in business customarily conducted by private enterprise.

Mr. Maenner opposed the $16 billion federal public housing bill of 1949, maintaining the program would not eliminate slums or provide housing for low-income households, would result in housing costs double that of private construction and would be in direct competition with the homebuilding industry.

Mr. Maenner continued to campaign against federal rent control. A victory was won in April 1949, when states and cities were given the option to eliminate rent control. Mr. Maenner's native Nebraska became the first state to decontrol rents, and by the end of his term hundreds of cities and several states had abolished controls. Mr. Maenner also encouraged member boards to sponsor rental housing committees.

According to Mr. Maenner, "vigorous community life means sound real estate," and to that end he achieved broadened participation by member boards in civic activities. As regional vice president in 1944 and 1945, he did outstanding work in expanding real estate board activities in the North Central region. During his term as president, 17 new local boards were formed.

Prior to his election as NAR president, Mr. Maenner served as president of the Omaha Board of REALTORS® and Nebraska Real Estate Association. He was vice president of the Institute of Real Estate Management, served on the editorial board of the Journal of Property Management and was a director of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers.

A graduate of Washington University with a degree in architecture, Mr. Maenner spent his first decade in real estate as a designer and builder of homes. He was president of T. H. Maenner Co., Omaha, and was also president of Court Realty, Inc., City National Bank Building Co., and Woodman Building Corp., which managed properties in downtown Omaha.

During World War I, Mr. Maenner served as a captain and director of the Fort Omaha Balloon Corps School.

Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).