‘Real Estate’ Will Miss Rhett Wolfe.

RhettWolfeYou may or may not have noticed, but the downtown Columbia, SC real estate industry came to a halt Friday afternoon. As Amy and I were hustling towards a rather smooth weekend, and I was trying to deliver a Pelican Ice Snow Ball to Amanda after a successful delivery of Baby James, our broker in charge came in my office; “Have you heard?” George Jameson asked. Thinking I had a problem, I answered, “Oh crap. What?” George continued, “Rhett died today.” Face flush…

I immediately tossed my mouse and flung my glasses to somewhere on my messy desk. Amy turned her chair towards me and we looked at each other and I said, “What the . are you saying?” He said again with glazed eyes, “Rhett Wolfe fell off a porch at the beach and died.” Our real estate world stopped, and after some brief comments of disbelief we packed up our laptops and left the office.

My phone lit up like a Christmas tree for the next two days wanting to know about Rhett.

To me, Rhett Wolfe was a real estate statesman. When it comes to purely Downtown Columbia real estate professionals, I can think of two local legends that lead us all; Whit Moore and Rhett Wolfe. I’m sure there are others, but I see Whit almost everyday of my life. That said, Whit is my bar and Rhett is with him.

Rhett and I saw each other at least once a week, mostly at broker’s open house luncheons. I can remember a few of our conversations. The first that comes to mind is when my wife, Jennifer, was pregnant with our first daughter. While Realtors and a couple of lenders (Heyward and Mark) were standing in a half circle, Rhett said, “You know, Franklin, when I had kids my production went down.” Rhett thought he was taking a dry, funny punch at me. What he didn’t know is that I took it as motivation. I now have three girls and remember his comment to this day.

After I started making some production noise and our signs were popping up around town, he jabbed me again at another ‘Broker’s Open,’ “Someone told me we were supposed to sell listings, not collect them.” I said, “Thank you.”

Some years ago at another agent open house I had feedback sheets scattered around my seller’s dining room table. Fellow Realtors were writing good and helpful things about the house in an attempt to help me get it sold. Rhett filled out a sheet for the sellers to see. It read, “This house is severely over priced. It feels haunted and smells like cat pee.” He signed it-“Whit Moore.” HA!!

Not too long ago Rhett and I found a new bond. Some years ago Rhett lost his first wife, and for whatever reason he read a blog post about me being a widower. Our relationship changed. He learned how I lost a spouse and found love again. He did the same, and it showed. It wasn’t unusual to find each other at Caturra or even Henrys having fun late night. I can remember saying to my wife, “That dude has found happy.” which was a testament to Glenda. Wherever we were, they laughed more than anyone else.

About a year ago Rhett asked me to breakfast at The Original Pancake House at Trenholm Plaza. We talked about many things, including different opportunities moving forward. He referred to me over and again as a family person. I was getting a life and professional lesson from an industry legend, and I loved it. He called me an innovator. I haven’t forgotten the compliment, and surely never will.

Rhett and I often talked about getting together to play tennis. I would have loved to have sparred with my friendly competitor, but honestly, I didn’t want to have my ars handed to me by someone who graduated college before I was born. Now I wish I had…

Getting back to Rhett and real estate. Often times I’ll walk in Whit’s office and we’ll talk things out. A few years ago, in a moment of wisdom, Whit told me that if he was having some trouble shaking (selling) a listing, he’d (painfully, but respectfully) tell a client that maybe he should call his friend Rhett Wolfe and give him a try at it. Lemme tell ya, that is a B-I-G W-H-O-O-P. In our world that’s like Nike telling someone they should try their friend Adidas, or Coke saying, “Maybe you should give Pepsi a shot.”

I could type all night but Rhett would be annoyed that I stayed up this late. All this said, I’m a better person and a MUCH better Realtor because of my relationship with Rhett Wolfe.

If I could say anything to him now I would probably say, “Thank you for helping me. Thank you for making me a better Realtor, and thank you for making me a better husband and dad.”

I don’t have any authority or familial tie to type this, but I know Rhett Wolf was a happy, happy person.

Like late Friday, the Downtown real estate world will stop for Rhett’s funeral Wednesday at 2:00.



  1. Franklin,
    Nice words for a truly fine gentleman and downright good guy from another great guy. I remember numerous interactions professionally with Rhett over the years in my “Real Estate” days, and yes Rhett and Whit are both at the top in Columbia. One of my favorite memories of both these men goes much further back, to my days in high school. Both Rhett and Whit taught Sunday school at Trinity.
    You are paving the way to follow in the footsteps of the best, so long as you remember to learn, live and love.
    All the best,
    Benjamin Simons

  2. A gentlemen’s gentlemen…RIP Rhett…Columbia , SC Thanks You!

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