Retired CEO & Chairman of the Board Chateau Communities, Inc.
After serving as a corporal in the United States Army, 23 year-old John Boll saw opportunity in development, so he founded Lakeview Construction Company, an underground contracting firm in 1957. The young entrepreneur soon recognized the demand for affordable housing, so further capitalized on the necessity by founding Chateau Estates, a developer of manufactured home communities in 1964. This foresight and initiative produced over 20,000 homes for families throughout Michigan and Florida, and in 1993 presented the opportunity for it to go public, carrying the new moniker of Chateau Properties Incorporated, a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). Thanks to a booming economy, the New York Stock Exchange listed corporation continued to enjoy enormous growth and in 1997 merged with ROC Communities to become Chateau Communities, Incorporated, the largest developer of manufactured home communities in the United States. The multi-billion dollar conglomerate had a portfolio which consisted of 240 communities in 36 states with an aggregate of 100,000 residential home sites, and in 2003, was sold to the State of Washington Pension Fund under the name Hometown America Communities, which currently operates its portfolio. Active in a number of civic boards, Mr. Boll has served the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) for many years and been chairman for four years. Along with his wife Marlene, he established the Boll Family YMCA and is currently active in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Michigan Cancer Foundation. Mr. Boll has received numerous awards including YMCA’s Man of the Year (1968), Lakeview High School’s Citizen of the Year (1968), Who’s Who listing (1974-75), and National Manufactured Housing Institute Hall of Fame recognition in 1992, and was honored as Citizen of the Year for Vail/Beaver Creek, Colorado in 1996. This honor was presented to Mr. Boll by former President Gerald R. Ford. In 2004, John and Marlene Boll received the Max M. Fisher Award for Outstanding Philanthropists from the Greater Detroit Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and in 2006 they received the William Booth Award, one of the highest awards bestowed upon an individual by The Salvation Army. He and his wife Marlene recently celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary with their three children and eight grandchildren. They currently spend time between their residences in Key Largo, Florida; Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan and Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Philosophy of Life
I treat life as an adventure in which I use my time, talents and resources to glorify God while trying to engage, empower and love other people.
I am the son of Dutch immigrants who ended up in Detroit. I started my business in the 19 50s with a wheelbarrow and a shovel and, over the decades, was blessed to be able to pioneer a new type of residential community and build Chateau Communities, Inc. into the leader in the industry we created. Along the way, we helped tens of thousands of people throughout Michigan and across the country establish their own households.
My wife, Marlene, and I have strived to build our family, our friendships, and all of our relationships around the truth that every individual we encounter is loved by God and has value. Where we can, we try to help people discover that value and how they can use it for themselves and the benefit of the world.
For a long time, we pref erred to give back to our Lord and to our various communities in relatively quiet ways. But several years ago, in helping build the John and Marlene Boll YMCA in Detroit and some other projects, we realized that demonstrating we were behind something could help motivate others to give of their resources as well. It’s one of life’s greatest blessings for us to realize that honoring God has given us a reputation that benefits the endeavors we care about.
My loved ones know me as a bit of a daredevil when it comes to outdoor activities such as skiing and boating; I look at my approach as part of the “adventure.” But in life’s most important things, I take no chances: I lean on God, and as long as He’s in charge, I don’t have a care in the world.