The Grande Dame of Needham Business

February 26, 2024
• The longtime Needham realtor Louise Condon has inspired others to find their life’s purpose and make an impact on the community.

Frank Condon dreamed of a big yard, setting his sights on Dover. But in 1968, Dover didn’t have street lights, sidewalks and a train, so his wife Louise Condon objected.

Over 56 years, some things never change. Needham had street lights, sidewalks and a train, but the Boston suburb also has Louise Condon, which loved ones consider the town’s greatest asset.

The head of Louise Condon Realty for nearly 40 years, Louise is a mother, grandmother, business leader, teacher, volunteer, benefactor and, according to some, “Mrs. Needham.” Though she’s not a native, many believe she embodies what it means to be a Needhamite.

“We’ve been very happy here,” Louise said.

As Women’s History Month approaches, Needham Local spoke with the woman who continues to leave her mark in town.


Though she met her husband Frank during high school in Rhode Island, the couple didn’t stay in New England for long. After they got married, the two moved to Ohio, then New York, then Connecticut and finally Massachusetts, where their last two of seven children were born at Needham’s old Glover Memorial Hospital.

Louise Condon reminisces on the start of her business, holding a photo of Condon Realty’s ribbon-cutting ceremony back in 1985. (Cameron Morsberger)

With a background in teaching, Louise inquired about becoming a substitute in the Needham Public Schools, but there weren’t any openings. However, an advertisement in the paper caught her eye: an eight-week course at Needham High School to obtain a real estate license.

“I thought well, having moved around so much, I would go and do that,” Louise said. When it came time to take her broker’s test, she passed.

She joined Needham Realty in 1978, but just a few years later, she opened Louise Condon Realty at 399 Chestnut St., where it resides to this day. Now, the business stands as the last independent realty company left in town, but that doesn’t scare Louise.

“I don’t intend to close,” Louise said. “We’ve been very much a participant in everything that goes on in the town, and we’ll continue that.”

Louise also continues to stay active in a variety of community organizations, for which she has been recognized by the town. She received the Patrick and Patricia Forde Good Person Memorial Award in 2015 and the 2018 annual town report was dedicated to her.


The youngest daughter of four children, Louise was raised in Pawtucket, the daughter of Ida, who was Italian, and Hassan, who immigrated from Turkey at 14 years old.

Louise Condon’s name tag. (Cameron Morsberger)

Hassan worked hard at a local mill, making a name for himself, Louise recalls. But then he very suddenly lost his eyesight, which was a difficult shock, she said. Ida, a seamstress, was always working, and Hassan continued to help their neighbors however he could.

“When we came home from school, it wasn’t a surprise to see that there were people sitting in the living room with them or talking to them outside,” Louise said.

Louise would take her father shopping and to run errands, and people would call her “the blind man’s daughter.”

“So, the blind man’s daughter decided that she would let them know that [she] was somebody special,” Louise said. “If there was a contest, I entered it and won it. If there was a program going on at school, I was participating in it.”

Growing up in Needham, Sandy Robinson knew of Louise. It was after Robinson joined the Needham Community Council as executive director in 2002 that she began working closely with Louise, who served on the board of directors.

When the NCC outgrew its building on Lincoln Street, Louise’s real estate expertise proved handy. The council secured its current location at Hillside Avenue with her help, Robinson said, and have since expanded their services as a result.

Sandy Robinson, director of the Needham Community Council, honors Louise Condon with the Stephanie J. Kalin Distinguished Service Award for Condon’s contributions to the NCC in March 2009. (Courtesy Sandy Robinson)

Louise’s professional knowledge, along with her “incredible energy,” made her an essential part of the NCC, Robinson said.

“She’s always been phenomenal at the connections,” Robinson said. “She’s probably the most connected person I know in Needham.”

Louise herself remembers interviewing Robinson for the position, and seven years later, with Robinson at the helm, Louise earned the NCC’s Stephanie J. Kalin Distinguished Service Award.

With Louise in your corner, “good things come your way,” she said.

“To have somebody that is so well-respected in the town respect us, it gave us accountability,” Robinson said of the NCC. “People knew we were a worthwhile organization because Louise Condon believed in us, so they had more faith in that we were an organization that should be supported and honored.”


“I’ve been president of a lot of things,” Louise said with a laugh.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Louise arrived back at her office from a meeting of the Needham Rotary Club, a regional and international service group intent on giving back.

With Rotary, Louise helps organize a flower drive for the elderly, delivering daffodils to nursing homes in town every spring, member Bill Paulson said.

Louise Condon discusses property listings in her office Feb. 2, 2024. (Cameron Morsberger)

Before the Rotary Club rings its bell, signaling the end of each meeting, Louise closes out with a joke she reads out of a joke book, Paulson said. Her humor, alongside her service-minded spirit and kindness, has served the club well.

“Whatever kinds of projects we’re trying to do, she is always there to contribute,” Paulson said. “She’s very much a supporter of the community.”

Besides previously serving on the Needham Business Association, Paulson also works as a realtor, and when he first obtained his license, Condon Realty was his first stop.

At the time, Louise told Paulson she simply didn’t have a desk for him, but Paulson proceeded to run into her “all over the place,” he said.

“She’s an amazing person, really is,” Paulson said, “and she’s given so much back to this community.”

Maureen Murphy Olsen bought her first home in 1993, sold her Needham property and bought a new one in Medfield, all through Louise Condon Realty.

So, when she herself became a realtor in 2019, Murphy Olsen knew she wanted to work with Louise. Her dedication and service to the community, as well as her “depth of experience,” made the decision easy, Murphy Olsen said.

Pamela Condon hands her mother Louise property listings to discuss. (Cameron Morsberger)

“She’s a pillar of the community. She sees beauty in all homes, and she’s a great matchmaker for buyers and sellers,” Murphy Olsen said. “She’s a fountain of knowledge about Needham and about working local.”

The Chestnut Street office keeps things “old school,” Murphy Olsen said — while most of its brokers opt to work remotely, Louise and her daughter Pamela Condon maintain a regular in-person presence.

Over the last two decades, Pamela Condon said she feels fortunate to have her mom as her mentor. It was Louise who inspired her to obtain her real estate license in her 20s and eventually move back to Massachusetts to join the business.

She is one of seven siblings, one with whom — her sister Maura Carson — she also works alongside. From Girl Scouts to the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham Board of Advisors to about 50 years of teaching religious education, Louise has always occupied free moments with good deeds. Her “endless amount of energy” is enviable, Pamela Condon said.

Louise Condon, left, and her daughter Pamela Condon work together at Condon Realty. They stand in front of a Needham tapestry hanging in their Chestnut Street office. (Cameron Morsberger)

Needless to say, “my mom can multitask,” she said. During her childhood, “my mother was super active, and I probably, as a youngster, didn’t appreciate all the balls she could juggle,” she said.

“I’ve never been one to sit still,” Louise said.

Real estate remains “a fun business,” Louise said, and she still loves to sing Needham’s praises to prospective residents.

“I’m always here,” she said, sitting in her office, “and I will help anyone who needs help.”


By all accounts, Louise is “an institution,” said Greg Reibman, president and CEO of the Charles River Regional Chamber, which connects businesses across Needham, Newton, Wellesley and Watertown.

Louise serves as much more than a local, go-to realtor, Reibman said — she’s intent on bettering the lives around her, both through beautification efforts and helping other business owners in need.

“What’s most impressive is how much she cares for and loves this town,” Reibman said, “and it shows in everything that she does.”

Louise Condon speaks during a Needham Business Association meeting. The NBA has since joined the Charles River Regional Chamber. (Courtesy Louise Condon)

Reibman, who previously published the now-defunct Needham Times, remembers learning of Louise through her involvement across community and civic groups. Louise served as president of the Needham Business Association, where she oversaw the historic blue tree lighting in the Common for several years.

The NBA merged with the chamber in 2017, but its spirit that Louise helped cultivate lives on. The chamber has continued the NBA’s annual Needham Night tradition, where, in 2018, they awarded Louise a lifetime achievement award.

Louise still belongs to the chamber’s Needham Business Alliance and shows up for other town events, such as the Spooky Walk.

“The Harvest Fair wouldn’t be the same without Louise and her pumpkins,” Reibman said.

The facade of Louise Condon Realty, taken several years ago. (Courtesy Louise Condon)

In preparation for Valentine’s Day, the office was decorated in reds and pinks for their annual holiday party through the Charles River Center. It was Louise’s 30th year hosting the event.

A constant throughout her life in Needham is her Catholic faith as a decades-long parishioner of St. Bartholomew Church, which has since merged with St. Joseph Church.

That faith has persisted since childhood, when she and her family never missed a Sunday Mass. Without transportation, they walked to church, even through rain and snow, she said.

Louise taught CCD — Catholic youth religious classes, or Confraternity of Christian Doctrine — at St. Bartholomew’s for close to five decades, until last year, just before the merger.

Though new to St. Bart’s, Rev. Bryan Parrish applauds Louise’s “generosity of time, talent and treasure,” he wrote in an email. Her contributions to the church do not go unnoticed, he added.

“She is an inspiring example of faith in action,” Parrish wrote.


Louise Condon reads her tablet at her office desk. (Cameron Morsberger)

The community has changed over the course of her tenure, and not only with the real estate market. Louise said she’s seen a number of businesses close up shop, including Woolworth’s, Taylor’s Stationery and recently Harvey’s Hardware.

“Things have really changed over the years,” Louise said.

Louise Condon could have ended up in Dover, but her strong voice and convictions grounded her family in Needham, which still has street lights, sidewalks, a train and much more.

“It’s a very good place to live,” she said.

Louise Condon Realty is a past supporter of The Needham Channel, of which Needham Local is a part. This article was developed independently of that affiliation.

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