Realtor Norma Nestler has five grandchildren but she's not about to tell a reporter how long she's been married nor her age. "Look, my mother was 89 when she died two years ago and she never told her age. She never looked it either."
That's authentic Norma Nestler, a 5-foot-8 woman who obviously looks younger than she must be. She grew up in Ohio and West Virginia. She was a model in Milwaukee and Chicago and had a woman's talk show on WTMJ in Milwaukee before moving east in 1951 to a successful career in Montgomery County real estate.
One of her colleagues in the Better Homes Realty (where she's now a semi-retired consultant) office in Bethesda remembers that Nestler was an enthusiastic leader as a broker. "She moved around so much she should have been on roller skates. Ond day she came into the office and saw one of the men reading the sports section of the morning newspaper. She grabbed it from him and smiled and suggested that he'd do better to make some business telephone calls," the associate recalled.
In recent years Nestler has been doing little real estate selling but spending more time taking care of investment properties that she and her husband Hans (he's the executive vice president of the Montgomery County Board of Realtors and a former land broker himself) own in the county. "I've got more time now and am having most of the properties repaired or upgraded," she said.
The Nestlers lives in what she describes as "a large, old-fashionedhouse" that they remodeled during 17 years of owner-occupancy. It's on Colesville Road, near Mrs. K's Toll House restaurant. "We had four grandchildren and their parents as our guests last week," she said. "The house has nine big rooms and high ceilings."
With their daughters grown and gone, the Nestlers had Norma's mother as a live-in guest for some years. Hans' mother, who's 93, still lives with them.
Norma Nestler smiles a lot and laughs often and easily. But she's also addicted to work. She has a leadership post with the Montgomery County Heart Association. Recently she got the Montgomery realtors into a CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) program of the heart association. She got 200 registrant and was herself among the first to learn the technique that has saved many persons in the preliminary stages of a heart attack.
Earlier this year the Maryland Senate passes a resolution citing Nestler for her work in civic and realtor activities.
Since she quit smoking some years ago, Nestler has been battling to keep her full figure from getting fuller. "I'm on another diet now and I'm trying to get back into tennis. I also like to swim and dance and travel.
If anything, Norma Nestler has been enjoying life because "I like people and I guess that's why they like me."