NAHB Mourns Longtime Member Ralph Drees

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Ralph Drees, former CEO, president and chairman of Drees Homes, headquartered in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., passed away on March 27. He was an NAHB Senior Life Delegate and longtime member after taking over The Drees Company for his father and founder Theodore Drees in 1965.

Drees twice served as president of the BIA of Northern Kentucky in 1965 and 1979. His recognition at the local level included Builder of the Year in 1966, the Community Service Award in 1977, and the Donald M. Wiedeman Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

"Working with Ralph was like working with a brother," recalled Jack Miller, former senior VP of sales and marketing at Drees Homes and former chair of NAHB's National Sales and Marketing Council. "He was warm-hearted, humble, and always cared about the people working for him. Ralph was the most honest man and you could always count on his word." Drees was also active at the state and national levels, serving as president of the Home Builders Association of Kentucky (HBAK) in 1986. Drees was a Life Member of the HBAK Board of Directors and served as Kentucky's state representative for NAHB in 1981. Drees received the HBAK Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988, and in 1990 he was inducted into the Kentucky Housing Hall of Fame. He was also an influential thread throughout the local community and was recognized for his philanthropy. "He led the way to a lot of changes and improvements in the community," Miller said. Drees served as Kenton County Judge Executive, and was active with the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission, the Kenton County Airport Board, and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Current president and CEO David Drees shared, "Ralph was a bold innovator, forging the company to new heights, but on the other hand, he was also my father, a loving, devoted family man and an exceptional role model who will be missed by many." A private memorial service will be held for the family. Memorial contributions can be made to the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky.

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