Longtime Realtor remembered for kindness, success


In every way, Joyce Elizabeth Reesh, who passed away Jan. 15 just shy of her 87th birthday, was a success — in both business and life.

Married for more than five decades, a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she was a woman to whom family was important.

“She was very passionate about her family,” said son-in-law Bill Sharp. “I think that pretty much everything she ever did was for her family.”

"She never missed a beat with family," said Reesh's daughter, Sondra Sharp. "She was very loving, very devoted. We all respected and adored her."

She added that her mother  balanced her life very well.

Longtime members of the Ponte Vedra community will remember her for her successful career in local real estate. From the 1980s through the early 2000s, she sold more than $500 million worth of residential real estate — pretty much all of it in Ponte Vedra Beach.

And throughout her career, she never stopped caring about others.

“I think everybody who encountered her loved her,” Sharp said. “She was the kind of person who, if you came to her and you needed help, she would stop what she was doing and help you.”

“When I think of her, I just think of a warm person who enveloped others with caring and kindness — as well as smarts and expertise,” said Clare Berry, broker and president of Berry & Co. Real Estate. “She really was the whole package.”

Berry recalled an example of her friend’s thoughtfulness.

One night in 1993, Berry was leaving her office and speaking with Reesh by phone about a property when Reesh asked her where she was and if she was by herself. Berry answered in the affirmative.

“Promise me something,” Reesh said. “Every time you do this at this hour, be on the phone. Don’t ever walk out of your office by yourself without that, because you’re putting yourself at risk.”

The thought had never even occurred to Berry.

“But that’s who she was,” Berry said. “She was an incredibly caring person. … I mean, how many people would even ask where you are and what you’re doing and are you OK?”

Reesh was born Jan. 22, 1937, in Youngstown, Ohio, where she met and married Robert Reesh, who later held management positions with JT Baker Chemical, General Foods and Gallo Winery. The family moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1974 and here, Joyce Reesh launched her successful real estate business.

She focused almost exclusively on what she knew best — Ponte Vedra Beach — and would refer clients interested in other properties to agents more familiar with them.

“That was, I think, one of the keys to her success,” said Sharp, “knowing her market so well, and if you called her, she knew everything that was for sale and what was coming up. She knew the community. She knew the people. And the people knew her.”

She worked hard and was often at her desk by 3 or 4 a.m. She worked for Ponte Vedra Club Realty for a while and at Arvida Realty Services for many years.

“She was top producer at Arvida Realty for a long, long time,” said Berry. “And with good reason. She was great with listing. She was great with sales. It didn’t matter what she was doing; she gave it her all — and she did it with unquestioned honor and integrity.”

“Her client list really was ‘Who’s Who in America,’” Sharp recalled. She sold homes to famous race car drivers, Commissioner of Baseball Bowie Kuhn and CEOs of major companies.

“She was friends with all of the Realtors you can think of in Ponte Vedra,” said Sharp. “They all respected her and went to her for advice.”

In fact, she helped Sharp get his career in the mortgage business started. He said he learned a lot from her.

“She was such a powerhouse and a significant person and a good person,” he said.