Traverse City Record-Eagle


June 4, 2014

Glenn Puit: Lindenau was mom first, everything else second

TRAVERSE CITY — The list of accomplishments on Judith Lindenau’s resume would make any ambitious person proud, but what mattered most to Lindenau wasn’t found at the office.

It was found at home.

“She was my best friend,” said daughter Sarah Lindenau. “Two parents in one. She did everything she could for my brother (Jonathan) and I. The best parent I know.”

Judith Lindenau, 72, died May 13 at Orchard Creek Health Care in the twilight moment of an illustrious, overachieving, colorful, laugh- and music-filled life anchored upon giving one’s self to others.

She was successful wherever she went. The single mom and lifelong music fan was an instructor for five years at Interlochen Arts Academy, then Green Lake Township supervisor, where she helped create the township’s first public library. In 1978, Lindenau became executive vice president of the Traverse Area Association of Realtors, where she saw the need to computerize, or digitize, all of the real estate listings in the region. It was 1981, when the Internet seemed like something out of a Star Trek episode to many.

Lindenau and the area board of realtors worked with Gerry Barczak at Northern Michigan Computer Center to create BORIS, or the Board of Realtors Information System. The technology allowed realtors and customers to search for listings whenever they wanted.

“There was no Internet as we know it at the time,” said Barczak. “You had dial-up modems. People don’t even remember what that is anymore.”

Barczak was struck by how encouraging and supportive Lindenau was.

“‘You can do it got -- you’ve got the skills,’” Lindenau would tell Barczak. “I always thought I was the only one she ever did that for but later in life I’ve found out there were many more.”

Lindenau’s leadership on BORIS revolutionized the Michigan real estate industry. Lindenau helped design and implement two charitable corporations, HomeStart and HomeStretch, to address affordable housing in northern Michigan, and she wrote many of the professional standards for real estate executives nationwide, leading Lindenau to the mountaintop for her field - the William E. Magel Realtor Executive Award, in 2003.

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