Deke DeKay

We lost a good friend and colleague, Deke DeKay, in early October.  I first met Deke in about 1998 when his friend and mentor Scott Rader was meeting with us about establishing a Healdsburg office.  Deke immediately impressed me as a serious and direct individual, but with a devilish sense of humor.   He was always smart and knowledgeable about real estate and a leader in our office and our industry.  In the last year, we’ve lost three good men from our Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Wine Country Group:  Scott Rader, Michael Friedenberg, and now Deke.  It reminds me to treasure the times that we have with our friends and colleagues.  Our hearts reach out to Annie and the rest of Deke’s family.

Here is Deke’s full obituary:

Deke (George H.) DeKay, IV

Deke passed away at his home in Healdsburg on October 6, 2012 with his wife, Annie, at his side after a very brief and courageous battle with colon cancer.  He was 64 years old.  Deke was dearly loved by many and will long be remembered for his good-natured spirit, his ever-present sense of humor, and the generous way he always offered his time to help all who touched his life. His time was everyone’s whether he was at home, at the office or on vacation and whether it was a connection to him that was brief or long, intermittent or consistent, close or casual, past or current, personal or public, family or friend, acquaintance or colleague.

Deke grew up in Lafayette as one of three siblings and is survived by his father Chuck DeKay of Santa Rosa, brother Rick DeKay of Alameda and sister Kristin DeKay of Plymouth.  Deke attended UC Berkeley and left there early to start a redwood burl furniture and gift manufacturing shop in Cloverdale along with two partners.  In 1981 he began a new career as a real estate sales agent, dabbled in the rental market and eventually moved on to property rehabilitation, land development projects, and subdivisions from our local area to Maine, New Hampshire, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Washington always challenged by something else to do.  Deke was recognized by the New York Times and by the local press for being the first builder in Sonoma County to participate in the local energy program and install a 5 KW solar array.  He, along with his partner Malcolm Yuill-Thornton, were praised by the Oregonian News for their “Old Barn Lane” residential land development near Portland, Oregon for saving a rural landmark Norwegian dairy barn built in 1926 as part of their development of 13 acres.  Here in Sonoma County, Deke, and his real estate partner Diane Harris, have been recognized as top agents by their brokers over eight times in the last ten years.

Deke’s favorite spot became Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State and in 1999 he and Annie were soon buying property, building houses, and developing land, one of which became his favorite get-a-way.  He learned boating, starting small and finally moving up to The Island Pearl where he spent many hours traveling the waters of the Salish Sea and beyond into Canada, gunkholing (hanging out at anchor in a deserted secluded bay), crabbing, shrimping, and fishing.

Only a few days before he passed, Deke still wanted to help others by choosing to enter the Willed Body Program at UCSF.  A memorial fund has been set up in memory of Deke for any donations to be used specifically for gastrointestinal oncology research at UCSF.  Checks payable to UCSF are accepted, writing “GI Oncology Research in Memory of Deke DeKay on the memo line, and sent to UCSF c/o S. Krumholz, PO Box 45339, San Francisco, CA  94145-0339.  Gifts can also be made online at  Select “other’ and type in GI Oncology Research, then select “gift is in memory of Deke DeKay.”

Market data will follow in the next posting.