After 53 years of selling real estate, Howard Bestul is calling it quits.
Born and raised in Iola, Bestul first started out as a lumber inspector and once operated his own lumber yard.
His sights quickly turned to real estate.
“I had started developing land around Hatch Lake,” said Bestul.
“I would sell the properties once they were finished, but had a limited amount that I could sell without a Realtor’s license,” he said. “It was then that I decided to sell real estate.”
Bestul Realty opened in 1961.
And he has been doing so every since.
“After I sold the business, I went to work with Davey Loken in Waupaca for a while,” said Bestul. “But, I did not like it there. I have lived in Iola all my life. Homestead Realty was a better place for me.”
The biggest change that Bestul has seen throughout the years is technology.
“I had to write everything by hand in the beginning,” he said. “Forms that used to be one page long are now 11.”
The most memorable part of his career was the fire on 1999 Father’s Day Fire on Main Street in Iola.
“The whole basement and back part of the office was filled with files,” said Bestul. “I lost all of that. That fire was pretty traumatic. I even lost the awards I won for Realtor of the Year.”
“Thanks to Tom and Mel Fucik, we were able to have office space at the Mill until our new office could be built,” he said.
Bestul admits that he will miss coming to the office every day, but is looking forward to doing more hunting, fishing, walking the dog, and yard work.
“I find it really amazing that someone has been in real estate since 1961,” said Sharyl Peterson, who has worked with Bestul since October. “Howard is a real people person and is very sweet. I wish him all the best in his retirement.”
“He has been a Realtor since the year I was born,” said Tammie Jo Berg. “I think it’s amazing to be in one a career for that many years.”
Bestul and his wife Kathy will continue to reside in Iola.
Together they have three sons, Scott (Karri), Stuart (Julie) and Steven (Cindy). They also have seven grandchildren and two great-grandsons.