My paternal grandfather, Marvin Franklin Poer would have celebrated his 93rd birthday this December 8th. He passed away at his home in Dallas on November 23rd last year. So far, this year has been filled with uncertainty regarding COVID and political climates, but it has also been a year without ‘D-dad’. With that said, I thought I would write a few words on his birthday and try to honor his memory.
My grandfather had a significant influence on my life as a boy and as a young man. Marvin set the standard high. He was what today would be referred to as “old school” and from my perspective, that is a great compliment. Marvin’s ethics were apparent both in his personal and professional life as was evident at his memorial service which was attended by several hundred family members, friends, and professional colleagues from across the country. My grandfather’s love was unconditional; approval was earned through integrity and hard work.
When I initially made the decision to start a business, I specifically chose homeowner or property owner (HOA/POA) management in large part because of the mediocre reputation which normally precedes management companies. Research shows that most associations find management companies lacking in the areas of communication, integrity, and availability. I made a promise to myself that my business was going to be different; my standards would be set higher. In response to those goals, most days I find myself asking, “what would Marvin do?”
Marvin was born and raised in Simms, Texas, a small community southwest of Texarkana. The fifth of six children and the only boy, Marvin came from humble beginnings where farming was a way of life. Shortly after graduating from James Bowie High School in 1946, he enlisted in the United States Army serving 2 years with the 1st Cavalry Division in Japan. In 1948, Marvin left military service to begin his college education. A couple years later, he reenlisted serving in the Marine Corps from 1950-1951. Marvin completed his education under the Montgomery G.I. Bill and ultimately graduated from the University of North Texas with a business degree in 1952. He worked for Western Union and then began his property tax career with Mobil Oil in Dallas, Texas. More important to this story, my grandfather started Marvin F. Poer and Company in 1964 and to this day it has been one of the largest and most respected independent firms in the country. Please do not misunderstand, my grandad’s business is property tax not property management. So why is this relevant?
My belief is there are several characteristics of successful business owners, regardless of their chosen industry. My grandad often displayed most if not all these qualities. Marvin was an honest man who ran his company with integrity and loyalty.He treated his employees with respect and would often give them a level of personal attention, making them feel more like family than anything else. Throughout his life and career, my granddad displayed a level of generosity and philanthropy, which is seldom duplicated today. Community was important to Marvin and until his death, he returned to his hometown regularly where he maintained his childhood home. He continually made donations to the town of Simms and his local Dallas community to include the Good Shephard Episcopal Church, where he had been an active member for over forty years. He was a devoted husband and father who supported his family throughout his lifetime.
Ultimately, Marvin was a man of integrity who continually helped others around him. He grew his business with a strong work ethic and under a reputation of honesty. Today, it is still recognized as a leader in the industry. Thank you for reading this article and allowing me to pay tribute to Marvin. He is someone that I have always hoped to emulate in life and in business. We miss you, Grandpa.