by Verlie Edwards

It’s never easy to let someone we love, respect and admire move from our earthly home to our heavenly home, but our faith prepares us for that day. Today I had the honor to sit with a dear friend as he took the final walk to his Heavenly Home. As I watched him make the final trip I reminisced on his remarkable life. He was an amazing individual who touched thousands upon thousands of individuals in his personal and professional life.

Charles McMillan faced many health issues over the past decade, but he persevered and broke glass ceilings for both the REALTOR Association and his race.

An internationally recognized teacher, leader and mentor, Charles was the first African-American president of the Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS, the Texas Association of REALTORS and the National Association of REALTORS. His legacy will live forever.

Over the past several weeks as I watched Charles’ health deteriorate, I could not help but admire his personal and professional journey. The son of a sharecropper from the deep South, he proudly served our country in the U.S. Air Force and then became a REALTOR helping others realize the American dream of owning a home.

Charles’ involvement in his local REALTOR Association led to a lifetime of partnerships with colleagues, clients, friends and leaders in countries around the world. It’s hard to put into words the impact he had on others. He was one of the most eloquent speakers I’ve ever heard. He could make what is normally a dry topic (Roberts Rule of Order) come to life.

Always the gentleman, he respected everyone and that respect was returned.

May you rest in peace dear friend and bathe in the warmth of God’s graces.

Verlie McAlister Edwards was raised in Abilene, Texas and it’s there that she realized her love for writing. She enjoyed a special high school English teacher who happened to be the school’s newspaper sponsor. In order to take another class under her, Verlie signed up for journalism and the journey began. Unlike many students, she never changed her college major – she was always focused on journalism as a career. She graduated from the University of North Texas (UNT) with a degree in journalism and political science. After graduation she returned to her hometown and worked as a reporter at the Abilene Reporter-News covering the local education scene from the students’ perspective. Following a year of graduate work at UNT she moved to Fort Worth where a career in public relations and political affairs flourished. She always wanted to work in academic PR and achieved that goal early in her career at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. After many years providing public relations consultation to the osteopathic profession and serving as the communications director/special events fundraiser for Lena Pope Home (a residential treatment facility for abused and neglected youth) she joined the staff of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors (GFWAR) as the communications and governmental affairs director. It’s here that she found her calling and further developed her skills in the political arena. After 11 years Verlie in that position she took her writing, political and organizational skills to serve as chief of staff for Texas State Representative Rob Orr, a past president of the GFWAR. She remained on Rep. Orr’s staff throughout his 10 years as an elected official and then served as District Director for his successor, Representative DeWayne Burns, during his first legislative session. At that time she retired from the Texas Legislature and began working part-time as curator for U.S. Congressman Roger Williams’ personal museum. Verlie is excited to use her writing skills to help Iron Butterflies Project as both a contributor and editor.

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