Dale Evans loved his real estate profession, the friendships it created and the opportunities it presented to make people feel good and laugh.

The farmer who became a well-known homebuilder and broker made sure his fun-loving spirit would stay alive — even after his Aug. 8 death:

He had his tombstone at Omaha’s Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery engraved with the words: He is Still in Real Estate.

“My grandfather thought that was hilarious,” Dawn Fleming said. “He had a fun sense of humor, and it didn’t really surprise us that he wanted that on his marker.”

A memorial service for Evans, who died of declining health at age 85 in Melbourne, Florida, is planned for Friday at 11 a.m. at Westwood Church, 13056 Atwood Ave. in Omaha.

Family members, friends and professional peers recalled Evans as an outgoing and fair person whose professional dealings typically led to lifelong and colorful relationships.

Before spending five decades in the real estate business — building, appraising and selling houses — Evans farmed, taught in a country school and worked in construction, said daughter Wendy Fleming.

Evans’ colleagues said he was instrumental in easing the homebuying process by helping to bring the multiple listing service to Omaha.

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“That was a huge jump, a big shift in how business was done in our industry,” said Shawn McGuire, a friend and an executive with Celebrity Homes.

In 1969, Evans served as president of the local MLS and in 1972 led what today is the Metropolitan Omaha Builders Association.

He also served on the board governing Omaha real estate agents and for six years was on the board of the National Association of Home Builders.

Evans spent 12 years as co-owner of Imperial Real Estate Co. and later sold properties for Town & Country, CBSHome and NP Dodge. As a builder, he helped develop neighborhoods that included Pacific Heights, Eldorado and Maple Village.

McGuire and others said Evans’ respectful treatment of clients contributed to his success. He hosted themed parties for friends, organized annual St. Patrick’s Day pub crawls, taught all his grandchildren to play putt-putt and never left those young ones wanting for ice cream.

An avid Husker football fan and traveler, Evans also got his auctioneers license in 1987 and lent his voice to Omaha charity events.

“The art of conversation tends to be a lost art today,” Dawn Fleming said. “But he was a master at it.”

Evans was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn. Besides his daughter and granddaughter, he is survived by partner Sue Arnett; children Kristy McGuire, Mindy Foral and Steve Johnson; and other grandchildren.

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