Even though her name and phone number were on real estate signs for decades, Pat Molle is a very private person. She’s humble about her career success and has overcome some big heartaches. She credits deep faith and dogged perseverance with getting her through. During her 27 years in real estate, she used “Good Golly, Call Ms. Molle” as the catchy slogan on her business cards.
Molle was born in Lowell, Arkansas, when it was truly just a rural, agricultural spot in the road. She grew up on her grandparents’ farm in Lowell, the oldest of four siblings. She had an endless stream of cousins and friends to play with and roam the farm and countryside. During those early years, she became passionately bonded to her roots and homeland.
Life changed dramatically for Molle at age 9. When this region could no longer support her dad’s job skills, the family moved to southern California, where he worked in the aircraft industry. Molle was heartbroken by the move and so homesick, but eventually adapted to the new lifestyle – with small yards, the ocean, beach parties, traffic and freeways.
Around age 12, she began babysitting and continued with odd jobs through high school. She was involved in sports and several clubs. She excelled in clerical work – in fact, consistently typing 98 words per minute on a manual typewriter, which won her an award.
Unsure of her career path, Molle spent two years in community college and went on to UCLA. While attending UCLA, Molle married the love of her life, Frank Molle, a native Californian who had been two years ahead of her in high school. She supported him while he finished his degree
in industrial engineering.
COMING BACK HOME
Molle and her husband soon bought their first house in Orange County, and they were married for 10 years before becoming parents. They first welcomed a son, Eric, and two years later, their daughter, Amber. It didn’t take long to realize they didn’t want to raise their family in California. Once he secured a job in Fayetteville, the family moved in 1973.
Once back in Arkansas, all her treasured childhood memories came flooding back. She had come home. She still thanks God for allowing her the privilege of returning to her birthplace – and never tires of it or takes it for granted.
Molle had been working as a branch manager secretary at IBM Corporation in Long Beach, making good money. Facing lower wages in Arkansas, she found a job at Dillon’s Grocery, not far from their home on Winwood, as gift merchandise manager and then full-time cashier. She was issued a uniform and could walk to work if needed; the kids’ school was close by too. As a newcomer, the job allowed her to quickly meet most of the neighborhood.
The family went camping every weekend, exploring lakes, parks and campgrounds around Arkansas and into Oklahoma and Missouri. They started by car camping in their station wagon and later got a tent, but it leaked. So, they bought a pop-up camper they used for many years.
Her husband then started his own business, manufacturing copper tubing parts for air conditioning and heating companies. She helped with the administrative work and payroll, learning a lot about the complexities of running a small business. She saw the pressures and stresses as he led the growing but struggling company in its first couple of years.
They had also been looking for houses and land, and finally found property along Arkansas Highway 45. It had taken about six years before they built their dream home and moved in. But then, about four months later, right after Thanksgiving, he was in a freak accident at the house and died unexpectedly. He was spraying for pests in an unfinished walk-in basement level when the fumes overtook him.
Their kids were 11 and 9 at the time, and the family stayed in the home for another 11 years. They all pitched in to care for the house and yard, but Molle handled most of the mowing.
She was accustomed to cooking three meals a day for the family and enjoyed trying new recipes. She soon started a ministry in their home to connect other single people, inviting them and their children for regular potluck dinners. She wanted holidays to be full, so she also hosted her family and single friends’ families for all holiday meals – from July 4th to Christmas.
FINDING HER WAY
Shortly after she was widowed, a doctor at Northwest Arkansas Radiology Clinic (now The Breast Center) offered Molle an office job that was flexible and educational, and she stayed there about six years.
Her parents had moved back to Arkansas, and her dad retired. Then he had a heart attack and was told to putter in his shop. He’d been a jack-of-all-trades, so the family started a business making country crafts from wood, which they called The Ozark Peddler. Her dad made the wood pieces, and her mom did the base painting.
Soon, Molle joined them to do decorative painting on some pieces, and the job became full time for her. Her parents traveled to craft shows to sell their wares, while she stayed home with her children, who also started helping with all aspects of the work.
Her dad became a father figure to her children, disciplining them and encouraging and instructing them. Molle also enjoyed the experience of working with her parents and continuing to learn from them as an adult.
Soon after moving to Arkansas, she’d gotten her real estate license. She didn’t use it but kept renewing it all those years. Once her children both graduated from high school, Molle joined Lindsey & Associates in 1988. She learned on the job, picking up as many leads as she could when covering the office phones. She enjoyed the challenge, stuck with it, and gradually built up a clientele.
FORGING A NEW PATH
Molle enjoyed every aspect of real estate, and often drew on her own personal experiences to relate to her clients along with patience and persistence. And it turned out to be a successful livelihood for her.
“I knew the area so I could help them really seek out what I thought was suitable for them. Because many people don’t have a clue, especially outsiders,” she said. “I loved helping them and sharing with them. I loved the search to find the right home, and to make them happy.”
Early on, the northeast part of Fayetteville was the most popular, and the west side wasn’t as developed yet. Even then, many people were moving in for jobs with Walmart, their vendors and other major companies.
“I never sought to be a top producer. I just wanted to make people happy and do what I was supposed to do.” She built several new homes and enjoyed designing the floor plans and elevations, selecting colors, flooring, lighting fixtures and other details, and pulling it all together.
Molle was voted a favorite Realtor three years in a row in the mid-2000s in the NWA Times Readers’ Choice Awards. She retired in 2015 as a senior vice president and executive broker.
Though she likes structure and planning, Molle can also be spontaneous and adventuresome. She’s always liked people and offers them her honest opinion and best solution to problems. She finds she’s most productive when pressed with a deadline.
Molle has been active in churches over the years, first at University Baptist Church and now at Cross Church. She also valued her membership in local civic organizations such as Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce.
LANDING AT BTV
Molle had helped several clients sell their homes when they moved to Butterfield Trail Village, and she knew how desirable the place was. Since she’s on her own, the long-term health care appealed to her, so she got on the wait list. When they called the third time, she was ready, and they had what she wanted.
She was a caregiver for her parents for more than 20 years, caring for her mother until her death in early 2020 at age 101. So, Molle moved to BTV in June 2020 during the early phase of the pandemic, when residents were kept isolated for their safety.
She’s gradually meeting more people and has joined a book club and a Bible study group, was appointed to the food committee, and is part of the Ambassador program to welcome new residents. And she hopes to join more in the future. She gave up playing tennis before she arrived at BTV, and arthritis limits her physical activity, but she goes to water aerobics weekly.
Molle wanted a two-bedroom apartment so she could use the smaller room for an office and hobby room. She converted that closet to a workspace for her embroidery machine. She enjoys creating designs on coasters, tote bags, tea towels and other items to give away to friends.
The ground-floor apartment faces Joyce Boulevard, and she can bring her groceries in through the patio door. “It’s a complete home.”
Her son lives in Centerton, and her daughter is in Fayetteville. She has two grandsons – one in Bentonville and one in Illinois.
Molle has trusted her faith that there was a greater reason she never remarried and that other things were in store for her life. And after a career spent finding people their homes, she’s found hers again.
“I’ve had a good life. It’s been a difficult life, but it’s been good, and I am happy and full of joy.”