MANALAPAN — Albert C. Ebert's family have long told the story of his very first business venture.
With the Great Depression still gripping America, the 3-year-old entrepreneur used to dig up clumps of grass from the neighbors' lawns in his native Chicago, transport them to the next block in his wagon, and sell them.
A resident of Manalapan for 23 years, Mr. Ebert died Nov. 20. He was 76, and a man whose early knack for business only grew with time.
"He was a sharp businessman," recalled his sister-in-law, Linda Rawls, of Boynton Beach. "He bought his first property when he was 13."
At 18, Mr. Ebert opened his first real estate office, which employed more than 40 representatives. Over the next 50 years, Albert C. Ebert & Associates became well-known in major commercial property development in downtown Chicago, buying, building, remodeling and selling more than a thousand properties in the city's Lakeview, Northwest and Loop areas.
"But he always found time to have a good time," Rawls said. "He had an incredible joy in life. He loved to have fun, and when you were around him, you had fun, too."
Mr. Ebert is also remembered for his many social and philanthropic interests. Locally, he served on the board of governors of Palm Beach Opera and was a member of the International Society of Palm Beach and of Club Colette, a Palm Beach social club.
He was also a Grand Benefactor of Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), a sister organization of the Lois Pope Life Foundation.
In Chicago, Mr. Ebert was an "Old Guard" member of the Chicago Yacht Club, as well as a sustaining member of the Los Angeles Opera and a benefactor of the Thalians Mental Health Clinic at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Mr. Ebert is survived by his wife of 40 years, Terry L.; another sister-in-law, Chris Armstrong, of Toronto; five nieces, and many great nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to a charity.