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Gene Cragoe receives 2021 Outstanding Chamber Member award

Luverne Realtor honored for his generosity, support to the community
Lead Summary
Mavis Fodness

Even though longtime Realtor Gene Cragoe knew since September that he would be honored as the 2021 Luverne Area Chamber Outstanding Member, he was nonetheless surprised Dec. 27 at the annual Chamber gathering to present him with the award.
“It really surprised me,” he said after the event. “I didn’t expect such an elaborate affair.”
At Sterling’s Café and Grille in downtown Luverne Tuesday, Chamber Vice President Tony Schomacker presented Cragoe with the award.
“We thank Gene for building a business that has provided so many ‘homes’ for our friends and family and so many ‘buildings’ for our businesses,” Schomacker said.
“Gene kept the doors of Cragoe Realty open day after day, year after year, serving real estate clients with integrity, sound advice, fairness, honesty and excellence.
“Your giving and generous spirit in working together has helped build and maintain the stellar reputation of this community. We thank you and honor you today for giving all you have to the Luverne community, Rock County and the Chamber.”
Cragoe’s support of the community started long before he opened Cragoe Realty in 1991.
Cragoe grew up on a farm near Magnolia (graduating from MHS in 1953) and drove school bus and worked at the Piggly Wiggly in Luverne, while saving his wages to rent farmland of his own.
He and his wife, Colleen (Rust), lived on several farms in Rock County before settling on a dairy farm west of Hardwick in the early ’70s. They were farming there during the '80s when the low ag economy prompted Gene to find a new career.
His new career was in the real estate market through the help of Bob Latham and Bob Sanny.
They approached Cragoe to become an agent for their business. For several years he farmed as well as worked for the “two Bobs” until 1991 when he earned his broker’s license and opened his own agency. He hired Lowell Binford as an agent.
Cragoe Realty became a Luverne Area Chamber member when the doors first opened.
“Gene has been a generous supporter of Chamber projects and events through financial support and the use of his resources,” Schomacker said. “When asked to serve on a board or committee, Gene is always one who says ‘yes’.”
Earlier this year, Cragoe sold his Main Street office and moved his business to his home in preparation for retirement
The couple has four children — Randy, Pam (Miller), Peggy (Adams) and Wendy (Klemme), 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
In addition to his service to the Chamber, Cragoe has served on various boards including the First Presbyterian Church, Luverne Public Schools (17 years), Land O’ Lakes, Rock County Planning and Zoning, Dairy Herd Improvement Association, and he continues with the Rock County Soil and Water Conservation Board of Supervisors.
The chamber board members developed the Outstanding Chamber Member Award in 2005. They select a retiring member annually who’s made significant contributions to the community through his or her personal life and professional career.

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