How One Man Made A Difference
Certified Realty’s beginnings are traced to post-World War II Portland, Oregon. There, a young ensign named Don Widing had just completed years of military service with the Merchant Marines.
His tour of duty took him to exotic countries of South America, plus India, Australia, Hawaii before statehood, and the Arabian Sea.
Don enjoyed his service and travels, but was glad to be home and soon headed out on another adventurous journey. In sending Don to Officer’s Training School in Alameda, California, the US Military had clearly recognized his leadership abilities. As he returned to postwar civilian life, Don brought these now-honed leadership skills with him.
In 1946, Don began selling real estate, learning the business at several local firms. In 1950, he founded Certified Realty Company. Before long, Certified Realty was involved in virtually every aspect of Oregon real estate. This included handling the sale of homes, farms and commercial properties, along with construction, subdivision development, business opportunities, industrial properties and even insurance. Don’s involvement in so many diverse areas remains impressive.
Certified Realty has a history of impressive accomplishments, including representing Freightliner Corporation in their acquisition of land for the location of their new Portland production facility.
Don realized he was primarily in the ‘people business.’ Don was respectful, worked very hard to be fair (often at his own expense) and provided excellent service. Don also taught that the customer is always right. In speaking with Don Widing, you knew you had his full attention whether he was dealing with a farmer, wealthy executive, or first time homebuyer. Don was personable and readily related to people from every station of life.
Don and wife Shirley were married for more than half a century and raised four sons. Before meeting Don, Shirley attended Oregon State, where she was named ‘Little Colonel’ by Governor McKay.
Certified Realty eventually grew to multiple offices with a capable staff of salespeople, secretaries and support crew. Given this long tradition of assisting buyers and sellers throughout much of Oregon, the firm continues to sell real estate not only in the Portland metro area, but throughout the Willamette Valley, including the Salem metro area and much of Oregon. Certified Realty is also one of the first Oregon real estate firms to fight racial discrimination and hire a minority salesperson.
Many employees remained at Certified Realty for decades, the surest sign of a satisfying work environment. These included office manager extraordinaire Nancy Schnackenberg, super-salespersons Ralph Dehler and R. A. “Rod” Radmacher, plus insurance man and “Jack of all trades” Max Johnson. A vital part of Certified Realty for many terrific years was Don’s close friend, business partner and fellow former Merchant Mariner, Andy Fuhrer.
In the 1990’s, Don handed the ownership and operation of Certified Realty to sons Bruce & Roy Widing, who share more than half a century of real estate experience between them.
Since 1950, many firms have come and gone, but Certified Realty is still going strong.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this story that shows how the vision of one man can make a positive difference in the lives of so many others.