EAST PRICE HILL
- Honesty, fairness and integrity. Those were the guiding principles that led George Meinhardt throughout his more than 45 years as a leader in the region's real estate industry.
On Tuesday morning, Mr. Meinhardt died suddenly of cardiac arrest at his home in East Price Hill. He was 72.
A vice president and partner of Grady Realtors, Mr. Meinhardt became an executive vice president with West Shell after the two firms merged in 1986. In 1991, he became a founding member and partner of Fairfield-based Star One Realtors Inc.
In addition to chairing multiple committees for the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors, Mr. Meinhardt twice served as the local trade group's president in 1982 and 1999. Among his top projects was crafting and signing the first agreement that gave local Realtors online computer access in 1982 - launching them into the early stages of the now highly technology-driven industry.
"George was a visionary," said Gene Snavely, executive vice president of the board of Realtors. "He was very well liked and respected across the industry and he inspired others to excel."
"George's passing will resonate deeply with the real estate community," said Pete Kopf, president of the Cincinnati Realtor Board. "George's leadership and contributions to our profession are invaluable. We will miss his smile, his wit, his energy and his love for life."
This year, Meinhardt was appointed to serve his 24th year as a director on the board of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati. Dan Dressman, now executive director of the Home Builders, said Mr. Meinhardt had been a mentor for nearly 30 years.
"When I first went to work, I didn't even know what the term mortgage meant," said Dressman. "George trained me from the ground up. He was a go-to guy that we could always count on and he cared deeply about people."
Mark Meinhardt, a partner and manager at Star One, said his father's legacy lies in the professional and personal relationships he built throughout his lifetime.
"Integrity was his forte," he said. "Everything he did was with honesty, fairness and integrity. That's how he built his business and conducted his life."
In spite of his busy schedule, time with family was Meinhardt's top priority, his son said.
"He was a wonderful father, and somehow he managed to make it to all of our events," Mark Meinhardt said. "He was always supportive - not overbearing. He let us make out own way and learn from our mistakes and successes."
In the weeks before his death, Mark Meinhardt said his father helped a granddaughter write a college term paper about Cincinnati's East and West sides; went on a family spring break; attended a grandchild's art show at Mother of Mercy High School in Westwood - and managed to make a guest appearance last Friday at his daughter Sally Kolks' 5 a.m. party for the royal wedding in England.
"He even showed up in a tux," Mark Meinhardt said. "He just loved to be involved in our lives."
Mr. Meinhardt, a 1957 graduate of Elder High School and graduate of Xavier University, was passionate about his community and the region - serving two terms as Hamilton County's representative on the Kenton County Airport Board, which operates Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron.
In his neighborhood, he championed efforts to improve the community's streetscapes and stop plans for a barge terminal along riverfront, said Linda Parker, a neighbor of 10 years.
"He was a great leader, and one of the most delightful people on the planet," she said.
Mr. Meinhardt also made time to give back - hosting fundraisers for local Catholic high schools and the non-profits including Roselawn-based Pro Seniors Inc., which offers free legal services and long-term help to older adults. In the 1990s Meinhardt served on the board of Pro Seniors, a position his wife now holds.
"He had a special sense of warmth and goodwill, that made others want to get involved," said Rhonda Moore, executive director of Pro Seniors. "He and his wife Mary have been generous in every imaginable way - but they don't try to get any recognition themselves. They have quietly helped so many people."
Next week, Star One will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
"It won't be the same without him," said Paul Jacob, a partner at Star One. "He was the ultimate Realtor. I don't think there was anyone that he couldn't walk up to and strike up an easy conversation as if he'd be their friend forever. It's a sad day for the real estate community."
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Mary Meinhardt; six children, Mark Meinhardt of Green Township, Jenny Hartman of Delhi Township, Amy Thorson of Springboro, Sally Kolks of Liberty Township, Katy Meinhardt and Molly O'Dowd of Maineville; and 12 grandchildren. Meinhardt was preceded in death by his son, George Daniel Meinhardt, in 2000.
A visitation for Meinhardt is planned for 4:30 to 8 p.m. Friday in the gymnasium of Seton High School, 3901 Glenway Ave., East Price Hill.
A Mass of Christian Burial is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Lawrence Church, 3680 Warsaw Ave., East Price Hill.Written by Lisa Bernard-Kuhn | email@example.com