McHugh Realtors ends four decades of sales


Paul and Rochelle McHugh stand in front of McHugh Realtors on Washington Street. The company operated in Sequim for 43 years and recently closed to merge with Windermere East in Sequim.


As a child in the late 1960s and 1970s, Paul McHugh spent his Saturdays answering phones with his brother Mark at their father's business, McHugh Realtors, in Sequim.

Right after high school he married his high school, sweetheart, Rochelle, and both worked at the family business.

"This is where we wanted to make our home," he said.

Now, 43 years later, McHugh answers the phone to refer clients to Windermere Real Estate Sequim - East.

Four years ago the McHughs sold the company, which they took over from Paul's father in 1988, to Alan and Wendy Burwell. Alan Burwell worked at the company for six years prior to the sale and showed an interest in ownership, Paul McHugh said.

"It was a perfect match," he said.

McHugh and his wife considered themselves semi-retired after the sale, though they remained active in the operations.

On Aug. 1, Burwell discontinued operations at McHugh Realtors and joined Windermere Real Estate

Sequim - East.

'All about building relationships'

Burwell said the decision to merge largely was based on his friendship with Quint Boe, who is co-owner of Windermere Sequim-East along with Jeri Boe, Terry Neske and Jill Neske.

Burwell, a fourth-generation Clallam County resident, said he and Boe have been close friends since they met 31 years ago.

"Certainly the economy played a role but that was certainly second to the relationship," he said. "Realty is all about building relationships and some of the relationships we build aren't necessarily with clients."

McHugh Realtors was a success for so many years because of the honesty and integrity of the company and staff, he said.

"I saw so much of my family, my father, my grandfather, in the ethics and morals of the McHugh office and I see so much of that in the Windermere organization," he said.

McHugh said he thinks Burwell probably made the right decision and wishes him nothing but the best. He even listed his personal property for sale under Burwell, McHugh said.

While they are disappointed the company closed, they understand, he said.

"It's a little strange after all these years to not be involved in the real estate business," McHugh said. "But we'll continue to look for opportunities to serve a community that has been so good to us."

Caring for community

Paul and Rochelle McHugh have been active in the

Sequim community for decades and have no intentions of stopping now, they said.

Rochelle McHugh has served with the Sequim Irrigation Festival, on the United Way board of directors, as a board member and president of the Olympic Medical Center Foundation, as co-chairwoman of capital campaigns for the Boys & Girls Clubs, and multiple positions within the Rotary Club of Sequim. In 1996, she was named Citizen of the Year by the Sequim-Dungenesss Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Paul McHugh's community involvement has been more politically geared with eight years as a Sequim city council member, four years on the Clallam County Planning Commission and eight years as a Clallam County Parks and Recreation commissioner. He also has been involved in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce as president and on the board of directors, as well as a member and president of the Sequim Sunrise Rotary.

Paul McHugh said they both will remain active in Rotary.

"We really feel lucky we were able to grow up here and stay here," he said.

The McHughs raised two daughters, Melissa Cate and Kim Shea, in Sequim. Both are married and live in Western Washington with their families.

Rochelle McHugh said the whole family feels sentimental toward the business and its closure.

Paul McHugh said the hardest part is contacting clients and telling them about the change.

Clients can continue to reach the McHughs through the same McHugh Realty phone number: 683-4122. While Paul McHugh may not pick up the phone, he said he will return the voice mail.

Amanda Winters can be reached at

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