About GKAR

REALTOR® of the Year

The GKAR REALTOR® of the Year is recognized by their peers for their contributions to the real estate profession and to the greater Kalamazoo community.


Suzzette Deaux

2023 REALTOR® of the Year


Suzzette has been a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson from 2003 to 2015. She passed the Brokers Exam in 2015 and has been an Associate Broker with Jaqua Realtors since. In 2014, she was hired as Sales Manager. On March 31, 2023, Suzzette will celebrate her 20th Anniversary with Jaqua Realtors.

Suzzette graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. Her goal was to become a physical education teacher and coach. Although she was not able to find a “teaching” job after college, she revised her plan and utilized her teaching and coaching skills towards every career that she has had. In 2003, she fell in love with real estate and it was there that she discovered her ability to implement her teaching and coaching skills by helping clients and new agents. She loves educating first time homebuyers and sellers who have been in their homes for many, many years. Suzzette looks at real estate not as a sales transaction, but rather a relationship between buyers, sellers, and many other real estate professionals and service providers.

Education continues to be important to her as noted by her designations, certifications and endorsements that include: CRS, ABR, SRES, SRS, RENE, AHWD and C2EX REALTORS® Commitment to Excellence.

Suzzette has been on the GKAR Board of Directors for the past 8 years and has been elected to the positions of Treasurer, President-elect, President and appointed as a Director-At-Large. She has been a member of the Budget and Finance Committee, chairperson for 4 years and Risk Management Committee as Board Liaison since 2014. She has served on the Flex/MLS Implementation Task Force as a trainer & Lockbox upgrade implementation Task Force. She participated in Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers/Sisters Bowl for Kid’s Sake & HRI Walk to end homelessness. Suzzette has also participated in several MR Conventions, NAR Conventions as well as several Michigan REALTORS® Capital Day in Lansing. She is also an RPAC Major Investor.

Suzzette and her wife, Kristen, have been together for 27 years. She is also a proud parent to daughter, Andrea, who is a Senior at Portage Central High School.

Nomination Form

The nomination period for the 2023 REALTOR® of the Year has passed.

Important Details:

  • Nominees must be a Primary Member of GKAR.
  • Nominees must possess a current Michigan Real Estate License.
  • Nominees must have been a GKAR Member for a minimum of five consecutive years.
  • Self-nominations are permitted.
  • Nominees cannot be a current officer, newly-elected officer, or former REALTOR® of the Year.
  • The recipient will be honored at the local level and recognized at the GKAR Installation & State of the Association Holiday Luncheon. 
  • The REALTOR® of the Year name will be submitted to Michigan REALTORS® (MR) for consideration as MR of the Year and shall be the guest of GKAR at the appropriate MR Convention.

Past REALTOR® of the Year Recipients

1958     Orville B Schroeder
1959     Clarence Hawthorne
1960     C Ray Clapper
1961     Ty Carter
1962     Robert Early
1963     Harry Hurni
1964     Arthur Warly
1965     Lowell A Swanson
1966     ---
1967     BW Borkenstein
1968     Robert E Greene
1969     Dale O Wheeler
1970     Kenneth S Bright
1971     Bruce R Perry
1972     Arthur C Early
1973     John W Bosch
1974     Philip C Keelan
1975     Meryl Weimaster
1976     Philip P Perry
1977     Douglas R Preston
1978     Frank R Stokes
1979    John B Olheiser
1980     John W Bosch
1981     Rod O' Brien
1982     Tom Tobin
1983     Jerry Carlson
1984     Lowell I Swanson
1985     Marian E Greene
1986     Robert L Walton
1987     Sam Cupps
1988     Woody King
1989     Phyllis Bogren
1990     Kathy King
1991     Tim Brown
1992     Nick Pratt
1993     Judy Haugh
1994     Jared Arnold
1995     Lonnie Palleschi
1996     Sally Elser
1997     Al Rowe
1998     Tim Brown
1999     Marty Wagar
2000     Ray Becker
2002     Don Cain
2003     Sue Cornell
2004     Wayne Wilkinson
2005     David Maturen
2006     Dennis Field
2007     Rose Rook
2008     Rick Hoffman
2009     John Jackson
2010     Rick Berner
2011     John Buttery
2012     Audrey DeVault
2013     Cheri Schulz
2014     Cathy Gasper
2015     Nancy Fish
2016     Lee Crossley
2017     Gayle Zientek
2018     Dan Jaqua
2019    Natalie Rowe
2020    Greg Miller
2021     Bill Evenboer
2022    Shelly Pattison
2023    Suzzette Deaux