Houston's empress of real estate Martha Turner passes away at 81

BySteven Devadanam CultureMap logo
Saturday, April 9, 2022
Houston's empress of real estate Martha Turner passes away at 81
Martha Turner turned a fledgling real estate business into a $2.5B empire.

HOUSTON, Texas -- Houston's matriarch of real estate has passed away. Martha Fuller Turner, the pioneering, self-made, consummate local success story, died in Houston, surrounded by her family. She was 81.

"We are heartbroken over Martha's passing," Robin Conner, president of Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty, tells CultureMap. "She was a deeply respected leader in the Houston real estate community and an inspiration, friend, and mentor to us all. Last year, Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty celebrated 40 years of excellence, and, in her honor, we will continue her legacy by upholding the values she established so many years ago. We are so fortunate to live out her vision and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity she gave us all to be successful."

The real estate icon who watched her empire grow to $2.5 billion in sales (as of 2021) was born in the East Texas town of Hemphill in 1940. She credited her young days of helping in her parents' feed store - Fuller's Dry Goods, Feed, Seed, and Fertilizer - for developing her work ethic - for which she was legendary. The graduate of North Texas University married and launched a 15-year career as a teacher, often supplementing her income by selling wigs and even encyclopedias door-to-door.

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