Remembering Larry Klairmont, Founder of Imperial Realty Company

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Pioneer of local real estate Larry M. Klairmont passed away peacefully on July 18, 2021. He was 94 years old.

Klairmont was born on December 17, 1926 and raised in the city of Chicago. Coming from a poor family, Klairmont did a series of odd jobs to support his mother and younger sister. Among them, memorably, Klairmont was a Chinese food delivery boy and a seller of women’s shoes. He then founded two successful companies: Imperial Cleaners and Imperial Realty Company, both based in Chicagoland.

When Klairmont was only 16, he enlisted in the military to fight in World War II. As a Combat Marine, the young Klairmont fought bravely in two of the war’s deadliest battles: Saipan and Iwo Jima. For his services, Klairmont received two Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars and one Bronze Star. Returning from the war, Klairmont was a determined young man. In 1952, he founded his first successful business, Imperial Cleaners. The 100-store dry cleaning chain was Chicago’s largest until 1962. It was while owning Imperial Cleaners that Klairmont purchased its first two buildings. And a love of real estate was born.

In 1956, Klairmont founded Imperial Realty Company. Focusing on redevelopment, the company quickly gained a reputation for identifying buildings with potential and transforming them. In addition, Imperial Realty Company manages properties and general real estate brokerage transactions. Currently, he is considered one of Chicagoland’s largest property managers as well as one of the largest office space managers. Klairmont’s sons Alfred and Robert joined him in the business in 1978 and 1980, respectively. In 2015, Klairmont and Alfred were both inducted into the Chicago Association REALTORS Hall of Fame. Check out the images from this touching ceremony below.

In addition to Alfred and Robert, Klairmont is survived by three adorable daughters, Alison, Lisa and Dorie Ann, 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Klairmont’s beloved wife of 57 years, Elaine, passed away in 2008. For 11 years, he has been the devoted partner of Joyce Oberlander. He will be missed by his family and the Chicago real estate community.

A celebration of the life of Klairmont is planned for the fall. Visit Chicago Jewish funeral for more info to come. Also look Klairmont Kollections Museum in Chicago, a non-profit organization founded by Klairmont in 2010 that features an impressive collection of vintage automobiles.

“The real estate sector is one of the golden opportunities in all industries for young people to come and start practicing. “- Larry Klairmont

Larry Klairmont addresses the Chicago Association of REALTORS


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