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Two Icons of Dallas’ Residential Real Estate Industry Pass Away

The former CEO of Ebby Halliday Cos. and the co-founder of Allie Beth Allman & Associates leave behind storied legacies.
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Courtesy of Ebby Halliday Realtors

The Dallas residential real estate community is mourning the losses of two greats: Pierce Allman, co-founder of Allie Beth Allman & Associates, died on Friday after being in hospice care. He was 88.

In addition, the former CEO of Ebby Halliday Cos. Mary Frances Burleson, 87, died on Sunday morning of natural causes.

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Allie Beth and Pierce Allman, file photo Courtesy Allie Beth Allman & Associates

While the firm’s namesake was Allie Beth, Pierce helped his wife found Allie Beth Allman & Associates in 2003, where he served as director of marketing. The two were married for 59 years.

“Pierce was my number one supporter, my soulmate, sweetheart, and love of my life,” said Allie Beth Allman. “We were a team, personally and professionally. Pierce was by my side throughout my entire career and is responsible for much of my success. Without Pierce, there would not be an Allie Beth Allman & Associates.”

Burleson famously worked her way up from a $2.50-per-hour secretary job in 1958 to leading Ebby Halliday Cos. In 1989, she was named president of the company, and in 2000 she added CEO to her title.

A self-described “Ebby girl through and through,” Burleson’s leadership mantra was “Get up, suit up, and show up,” something she preached until her retirement in 2020. In 2018, she led the firm through its acquisition by Warren Buffett-backed HomeServices of America.

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Burleson’s late husband, Rufus, brought home a Boxer puppy in the early 1960s that sparked a lifelong love for dogs.

A champion breeder of Boxers, Burleson owned and managed an internationally renowned kennel—Marlburl Boxers—with her husband Rufus. To date, more than 100 dogs have competed for breed titles, earning Mary and Rufus a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Boxer Club.

Rufus passed away in 2009, but Burleson kept their shared passion alive. She regularly updated a running list of future dog names for her prized bloodline in her iPhone, according to a release.

In a 2016 interview with D CEO, Mary Frances reflected on the downside of her hobby, which she related to life:

When the dogs get sick, they will die. You cry buckets, but they give you a great deal of joy and a great deal of heartache. Humans don’t live forever, but while we have each other, we have joy. … I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the experiences I have had.”  

Mary Frances Burleson

Read more about Burleson’s passion for breeding champion show dogs in this 2016 piece in D CEO.

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Brandon J. Call

Brandon J. Call

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Brandon J. Call is the executive editor for D CEO magazine. An award-winning business and data journalist, Call previously served…

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