A businesswoman who became the very first female co-proprietor of a person of Bartholomew County’s biggest authentic estate corporations — just 5 yrs immediately after signing up for the organization — has succumbed subsequent a lengthy battle with cancer.

Janice L. “Jan” Hexamer-Gardner, previous co-proprietor of numerous entities related with Breeden Inc. Realtors-Developers, died at 6:07 a.m. Wednesday at Franciscan Hospice Residence in Indianapolis. She was 81.

“She was a tenacious competitor who needed to add to a successful crew,” mentioned long-time enterprise associate, Mark Pratt. “But at the identical time, Jan’s ethics had been at the optimum amount. Persons knew they could have faith in her.”

Just one of her successors, Breeden Inc. president and co-proprietor Beth McNeely, described Hexamer-Gardner as “always the utmost of grace and professionalism at all time.”

“She paved the way (for other female realtors) in so several means,” McNeely mentioned. “While she was a negotiator, Jan experienced that persuasive nature and means to not back down from what she believed it. She would constantly stand up for what was right and truthful.”

Born the daughter of a industrial electrical contractor, young Jan was lifted in the Chicago space. She graduated in 1958 from Maine East Substantial University in Park Ridge, Illinois, and later majored in enterprise at Anderson University.

Just after transferring to Columbus in 1969, Hexamer-Gardner began functioning for the late Virgil Scheidt at Athens Realty. She also became active with the Female Scouts of The us, different guardian-trainer organizations, and served on the board of directors of First United Methodist Church and Asbury United Methodist Church.

It was in 1978 that the young mom began functioning for Century 21 M.E. Smith Co., owned by previous State Rep. Milo Smith. Other than becoming element-oriented and devoted to her consumers, Smith recalled that his previous worker also experienced a wonderful feeling of humor.

“When I hired her, her past identify was Hexamer,” Smith mentioned. “She knew ‘hex’ intended a curse, so she requested me to commence calling her ‘Lucks-amer’.”

Two yrs later, in 1980, Hexamer-Gardner moved to Breeden, Inc., the place she would generate the Graduate Realtors Institute designation in 1984.

Throughout her very first calendar year with Breeden, the organization marketed 95 homes for an average selling price of $55,961, generating overall income of $5.1 million. But in 2019 — Hexamer-Gardner’s final entire calendar year of directing functions — her organization marketed 469 homes with an average income selling price of $227,235, generating income of $129.two million.

“As we began our occupations, she was the major income agent in the organization,” Pratt mentioned. “What she introduced to the larger team was all those issues that produced her personally prosperous.”

Some of her traits incorporate genuine drive to do what is very best for a customer, a willingness to see each sides of a debate, and the means to constantly compromise for the overall fantastic of all involved get-togethers, Pratt mentioned.

It would only be 5 yrs later until finally Hexamer-Gardner cracked the glass ceiling for women at age forty five by signing up for organization founder Rex Breeden and other people in an ownership team. Just after becoming named organization vice-president, Hexamer-Gardner was placed in charge of major the household division.

Maybe no other businesswoman in Columbus understands the issues Hexamer-Gardner experienced to confront though climbing the company ladder than Re/Max Serious Estate co-proprietor and broker Jean Donica. Just after getting her Realtor’s license, Donica was explained to she would hardly ever be success in marketing authentic estate for the reason that she was increasing a household.

“I know Jan experienced to fight the identical battles, way too,” Donica mentioned.

But Hexamer-Gardner experienced a passion for authentic estate, and it was not uncommon for her to do the job late into the night, McNeely mentioned.

“Jan would constantly convey to her consumers ‘I’m out there 24/7’ — and she intended it,” McNeely mentioned.

“I experienced to peddle twice as speedy for a though to reveal my worthiness in ownership,” Hexamer-Gardner mentioned in an 2020 interview. “That is a simple fact for all women.”

In 1998, Hexamer-Gardner and Pratt bought out their remaining partners, with her directing household and Pratt overseeing industrial and growth. Together, they owned Century 21 Breeden, Breeden Inc., Breeden Expense Team and other affiliated entities.

Even immediately after Hexamer-Gardner’s wellbeing began to deteriorate, McNeely mentioned she still considered of her manager as “indestructible.”

But her manager knew superior. “Life is small — make the very best of it,” Hexamer-Gardner mentioned past calendar year.

Just after becoming diagnosed in 2016, Hexamer-Gardner underwent surgical treatment and chemotherapy, as nicely as invested time in convalescence, ahead of returning to do the job in 2017, she mentioned.

For a lot more than two yrs, it appeared the cancer was in remission. She would go on to retire in April, 2020, as president of Century 21 Breeden Realtors, though sustaining her role as co-proprietor until finally she marketed her shares to McNeely and Tara Board.

Just one month immediately after stepping down as president, medical exams confirmed the cancer experienced returned. In her 2020 interview, Hexamer-Gardner uncovered the cancer has arrived at Stage 4, which indicates tumors experienced spread to other areas of the system.

In April, 2020, Hexamer-Gardner was awarded the Life span Accomplishment Award from the Crossroads Association of Realtors, a specialist trade firm serving over four hundred authentic estate industry experts during south central Indiana.

And what had been her own traits away from do the job?

Throughout her quick retirement, Hexamer-Gardner exhibited the identical insatiable drive for learning that he utilized in gardening and producing will work of art in her Harrison Lakes property, McNeely mentioned.

Pratt described Hexamer-Gardner as a fantastic friend able of displaying optimistic attributes in her social, as nicely as specialist lifetime.

“She could understand the other side of an challenge — even if it was unique from her individual beliefs,” Pratt mentioned. “Jan was really potent in her religion, really offering and constantly wanting to support.”

But the two traits about Hexamer-Gardner that each Pratt and McNeely say they’ll constantly recall was her positivity and energy.

“She needed individuals to know she was fantastic — even though she was quietly struggling on the own side,” Pratt mentioned.

— Contributing author and retired editor of The Republic, Tom Jekel, contributed to this tale.

By Lela