By Susan Shackelford
Realtors® in the Charlotte region and beyond benefit daily from the accomplishments of Vane Mingle, the association’s first executive officer and a leader in real estate education.
Five weeks shy of his 91st birthday, Mingle passed away on May 17 in Charlotte.
Not only did he and his wife, Margrette (known as “Mike”), found the Mingle School of Real Estate, now owned by the association, he is the
inspiration for two of the association’s most prestigious awards.
As executive vice president, he introduced the idea of a Realtor® of the Year Award, which the board of directors began in 1959. Nearly three decades later, in 1988, the association started honoring a rookie of the year, and created the Vane Mingle Award.
The ribbon connecting these accomplishments was Mingle’s devotion to professionalism and education among Realtors®.
“His vision for the Charlotte Board of Realtors® (a former name of the association) was outstanding — he took it forward,” says Allen Tate, who founded the Allen Tate Co. the same year Mingle became the association’s first executive officer, 1957. “Vane was a strong believer in Realtor® professionalism, and said it required more education and training. He would talk about it every instance he could.”
Vane taught his first real estate class in 1972. He teamed up initially with an attorney from Kentucky, Bemis Lawrence, to teach a three-day licensing review course, something Lawrence had been doing in Kentucky.
“But that didn’t last long because Bemis’s health got bad, and Mom and Dad took over,” recalls son Bob Mingle. “They would do three days in Raleigh and three days in Charlotte.” Vane handled the teaching, and Mike took care of the business and administrative tasks.
As their following grew, Tate encouraged Vane to establish a pre-licensing school in Charlotte. The Mingles decided to do it.
In 1976, they rented space from Queens College (now Queens University of Charlotte). The school expanded its offerings over the years, and Vane retired in 1984 except for occasional returns to the classroom. Bob, a commercial broker, taught in the school, and ran it after his dad retired. His sister, Sharon, served as education coordinator. The association purchased Mingle School in 1993.
Gift for teaching
Known as an outstanding teacher, Vane memorized his students’ names and had a natural gift for jokes and anecdotes. “When you’re teaching adults who have worked all day, you’ve got to keep it lively or you’re going to lose them, and they’ll hate to come to class,” Bob says. “He could make a point and do it in a humorous way.
“He had a great depth of knowledge and a wonderful speaking voice,” Bob continues. “He really knew how to communicate and talk to people.”
Vane was born June 21, 1920 in the Mifflintown, Pa., a small town about 40 miles northwest of Harrisburg. He served in the Army during World War II, achieving the rank of captain. After the service, he earned a psychology degree from UCLA.
In the late 1950s, he and his family were living in Charleston, S.C., when he applied for the new executive officer position at the association. His mother lived in Charlotte, and Vane left behind a job as personnel director for a mill in the Charleston area.
He didn’t waste time making an impact at the association. Surprised at how little new members knew about the Code of Ethics, he developed an orientation course — which he believed to be the first in the country. He shared the curriculum with the state association, which sent it to national. Soon, he was fielding calls from across the country.
The MLS wasn’t even a decade old at the time, and Mingle suggested adding photos to listings, an idea he got from a visit to Louisville, Ky. Though “old timers” resisted the change, Mingle recalled in a Reflections interview in the early 2000s, the images soon became integral to the MLS.
After serving as executive vice president of the association until late 1960, Mingle worked in sales for Ervin Construction Co. and later as a partner in a property management firm. Real estate education proved to be his true calling, however. “I love teaching,” he said in the Reflections interview. “I think I was a better teacher than I was a salesman.”