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Since 1976, Len and JoAnne Boone have been the very definition of real estate success in the Roanoke Valley. They don’t even have a company here now, but they remain the standard. Len founded Boone & Company in 40 years ago and JoAnne joined him to form a team that has always been the very definition of “dynamic.” They led the Roanoke Valley in home sales year after year, were ranked nationally as a company, trained a goodly number of today’s real estate executives, and they played just as hard.
They’re still doing the work/play thing as well as anybody else, but they don’t have three companies now (Boone & Company was sold to Long & Foster in 2005, the Boones turned Boone Homes Roanoke over to son Alexander, and they now have only Boone Homes Richmond). They visit Richmond “only four or five times a year,” says Len because “the company is mostly self-managed. We have great people.”
The Boones (he is 69; she won’t say) have been married for 42 years. They have a home in Roanoke, a mountain villa in Linville, North Carolina, and a warm-weather—newly-redesigned—penthouse in Naples, Florida. That penthouse has been their center of attention for the past year and a half, says JoAnne, because custom designs “are a struggle” to complete with the perfection she demands.
Of their home here, JoAnne says, “we miss a lot of our old friends in Roanoke,” but moving around has suited their later-in-life style. “We generally spend seven months in the mountains and five in Naples,” says Len. “This year, though, we remained in Naples longer in order to get the home renovation project done.” Summer in Naples is not like summer in Linville, where the days are cool and the nights cooler.
“We are very, very lucky that our life has turned out the way it has,” says JoAnne.
Their life remains “very active,” says JoAnne. They work—shorter hours, but just as intensely—and play—longer hours with more relaxation—as they always have. They remain “staunch Republicans,” says JoAnne (as Len cautions, “No politics!” in the background) and enthusiastic Donald Trump supporters.
They are especially proud that their sons, Alexander and Ben, have grown up to be solid citizens and good fathers (two girls for Ben, a son for Alexander), who are quite different from each other. Alexander is the hard driver, Ben more easy going.
JoAnne recalls just how difficult it was to raise two sons “with that monster [their businesses] on our back all the time,” but “we’d do it all again, wouldn’t you say, honey?”
The sons, she says, are driven—“especially Alexander—and I wish they wouldn’t work as hard as they do.”
Len is philosophical about how much the couple gave up to achieve they level of success they reached and still enjoy.
“We accept [the sacrifice],” he says. “When we were young, we were challenged and that was a stimulus we enjoyed.” Now, they fully absorb the fruits of their labor on a daily basis and there is yet another level of satisfaction in that.