By Tom Woiwode
Regina Herzog didn't lose a lot of battles in her life. She was a Realtor - a professional negotiator - and a good one. She helped hundreds of people find their American Dream. But this story isn't about what Regina did in her professional life. This story is about the Regina Herzog that I know. She will always be a part of my life, and I will always look back at the times we had with a smile.
I was a Registered Nurse back in the day. About 26 years ago to be exact. I had just finished a contract in New York City and returned to Savannah for graduate school. I was living on a friends couch and had worn out my welcome. I picked up the Savannah Morning News and found a couple of rentals. Kathy Cowart had a listing in midtown that looked prime. She worked for Ben Farmer Realty on Abercorn. I went to the office and asked the receptionist for Kathy Cowart. Kathy - and if you knew Kathy you understand - looked out her office door with a gleam in her eye and hollered - in her whiskey baritone voice"REGINA - THIS one is for YOU!" Out walks Regina Herzog. Regina had just started in real estate as a sales agent. I was a renter. New agents get renters...
Regina sized me up, took note of the blue scrubs I was wearing and said "Can I help you?" I told her I was interested in a rental Kathy had listed. She said she'd be happy to show the rental and off we went. On the way to the car, Regina asks, "SO, what's with the scrubs? What do you do?" I told her I was a traveling nurse and just finished a contract in New York, and was working at Memorial. Of course - the next question - "SO, where's your wife?". I was single and unattached at the time. Regina - and if you knew Regina - looked at me with a gleam in her eye.
We looked at the rental and returned to the office. Like any good sales agent, Regina asks "SO, why rent? Why not BUY?" I told her I had never really thought about buying a home. The next day we were looking at houses. I didn't know it at the time, but Regina had other plans. She told me about their receptionist, who was cute and just back from college. She kept telling me as we looked at houses "she's really cute, and you need to take her to lunch - its JUST LUNCH after all - just lunch - and I'll put in a good word. No worries, your cute, and you would make a cute couple. Its just LUNCH."
That afternoon we found a house and headed back to Ben Farmer Realty. Regina puts me in the conference room. A few minutes later, she comes back with a completed contract and reviews it, tells me to read it over and when I've signed it - "just give it to that receptionist - right over there - and she'll make you a copy - and you can ask her out to LUNCH!" If you knew Regina, you did what you were told.
I signed the contract, walked it over and handed it to the receptionist - who was indeed very cute - so I asked her out to lunch. Fortunately she said "Yes".
That was 26 years ago. The receptionist happened to be Ben Farmers' daughter. Christy and I married one year later. We now have 4 beautiful children and are in our 25th year of marriage. Ironically, I left nursing and got my real estate license in 1999. I had the distinct pleasure of working side by side in real estate with Regina for many years. She taught me a lot about real estate and life. She and her husband Richard became a part of our lives and we watched them welcome grandchildren into theirs - one of the greatest joys Regina ever knew. As the years passed, Regina went her way and I went mine. Christy and I now own Coldwell Banker Platinum Partners, the brokerage located in the space once occupied by Ben Farmer Realty, and for many years I occupied the very same office Ben Farmer sat in the day I met Regina, and the day I met my wife. Every day I go to work, I walk through the door where I first met Regina, the conference room I signed my first contract in, the desk Christy worked at, and the office Regina and Kathy shared.
Through the years, Regina has always been proud to say she was the "procuring cause" of our marriage and all the fruits it would bare. She was. I went in to buy a house - and I got the farm. She gave me the greatest gift I could ever receive - and it didn't cost me a dime.
That is the Regina Herzog that I know and love. She is woven into the fabric of my life. Her memory lives on in my marriage and in my children. Rest in peace Regina. You changed my life and will live in my heart forever.