Dick Marchbanks, longtime owner of Marchbanks Reality on the Square, has witnessed a lifetime of local and national history in his 60 years as an Oxford resident. The Ole Miss and University High School grad has been a real estate broker for more than 40 years and has had an appraisers license for 32 years. His company has been involved in commercial, residential and farm property sales since the mid-1960s, when Marchbanks’ father started the business.
Marchbanks fondly recalls the first of three national championships Coach Johnny Vaught brought to Oxford while he was still in high school — a time of great pride and triumph. But the experienced property expert also remembers the dark days of confusion and fear during the civil rights riots on the Ole Miss campus in 1962. “The looks of terror and disbelief and uncertainty still stand out in my mind,” he said.
After college, Marchbanks threw himself passionately into his family business, completing real estate appraisals, insurance sales and property brokerage transactions. This was his main focus for over forty years. In the 1970s, Marchbanks was a part of the team of real estate brokers who created the North Central Mississippi Board of Realtors. He became the organization’s first president.
Today the father of two girls and grandfather of two continues to lead his real estate team of six brokers at Marchbanks Reality. “It’s like going to work with family every day,” he added flashing a bright smile.
As someone who has observed real estate trends in the area for many years, Marchbanks believes sales and property values are on the upswing. “I’ve been fortunate to be involved in the sales of older homes in Oxford that were originally purchased for $10-$12 thousand, and, after renovation, were appraised for more than $400,000,” he said. “The market in this area is certainly on the way up.”
When he’s not busy with his real estate family, Marchbanks and his wife, Marybeth, love to spend time with their daughter who lives in Oxford and his grandchildren. His other daughter is pursuing a music career in Nashville and the Marchbanks enjoy traveling often to the the Music City to see her creativity in action.
Towards the end of our interview, Marchbanks laughed heartily and said, “You know, I still haven’t grown up yet.” He was referring to a kid-at-heart attitude that led him to buy a Harley for his 60th birthday. The still energetic family patriarch and businessman drove the bike from Oxford to Washington, D.C. for a Memorial Day weekend a few years ago.
Some people spend their life traveling from location to location looking for their rightful place in this world. Dick Marchbanks has spent his full and successful journey mostly from the friendly surroundings of good old Oxford, Miss. He wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
Story by Mike Watkins, HottyToddy.com contributor. Photos by Andy Knef