Contact: Joel Nihlean, Marketing & Communications Manager, Texas Apartment Association
He went by Bland, but Lloyd “Bland” McReynolds’ life was anything but. The founding member and first president of the Texas Apartment Association died peacefully in his sleep in New Braunfels, Texas on September 27, 2012. He was 85.
A fourth generation Houstonian, Bland was born August 18, 1927. At age 5, he contracted polio and spent much of his childhood unable to walk. Like many of his generation, Bland stood up to life’s challenges and pushed forward. By the time he was a teenager he did more than stand up, he was sailing his Sunfish sailboat – the first one in Texas – near his family’s home on Galveston Bay, playing on a basketball team and helping lead a local Sea Scout troupe in civil defense drills during WWII.
After graduating from Southern Methodist University and spending some time working in the family printing business, Bland started a career investing in real estate. Along with a small group of apartment owners committed to elevating the standards of the industry, better protecting themselves against skips, the need to evict, and to fight city ordinances that were bad for business, he helped to organize the Houston Apartment Association.
During the National Apartment Owners Association convention in 1962, a group of Texas owners, including Bland, gathered to talk. They recognized the need for a statewide organization that would act as a network to assimilate information on legislative matters and provide a forum for discussing problems and methods for solving them.
At the time, there were four apartment associations in Texas: the Austin Apartment House Association, Dallas Apartment Owners Association, Houston Apartment Association and San Antonio Apartment Association. This small group of owners agreed that the strength of one unified voice to legislators would be far more effective than four smaller voices coming from all over Texas.
This meeting was the seed that grew into the Texas Apartment Association. Bland served as the first president in 1963, laying the foundation that took a loosely knit group of apartment owners scattered across the state and built them into one of the largest and most robust networks of multifamily professionals in the country.
“I was a leader with no followers,” he reflected in a column for Texas Apartments in 1982. “We were so busy organizing and getting everything together the first year, it never dawned on us that maybe we should grant formal association charters to our local affiliates. In May of 1964, at the very end of my term, we presented association charters to Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. I finally had followers!”
For some, such an accomplishment would be a fitting enough legacy, but Bland was not finished. He was appointed Chairman of the Houston City Planning Commission. He helped plan the development of Beltway 8 (now Sam Houston Tollway) and led the effort to build State Highway 242 in South Montgomery County.
He was Houston’s longest serving Director of Civil Defense (now the Office of Emergency Management), and also served as president of the Zoological Society of Houston. Bland also lead and served countless other organizations through the years
Bland leaves behind his wife, Judy, his three children, his 10 grandchildren and an indelible mark on Houston and the apartment industry in Texas as a whole.