YAKIMA, Wash. — Joanne Almon, a fixture in the Yakima Valley real estate community, died Monday night after a long illness.

Almon, who was 68, was best known for running Prudential Almon Realty for more than two decades. She sold the business in 2007, but continued selling homes until she retired a few years later.

Almon built a strong reputation in the Valley for her ability to maintain a high level of sales activity for herself while developing a successful business. She was recognized numerous times for generating sales in the top percentile of all Prudential agents nationwide.

“Joanne was the consummate professional,” said Chris Pauling, the current owner and designated broker of Prudential Almon Realty. He worked with Almon for several years before she retired.

For Sharri Bailey of Windermere Real Estate and president of the Yakima Association of Realtors, Almon was a role model for professional women.

“In the early days, real estate was really a career that was more male-driven,” Bailey said. “In Yakima, she was one of the people who became an industry leader ... she set a standard for everyone to aspire to.”

Almon was also known for her philanthropic work. She sat on the boards of several nonprofits and put her full support behind several causes including Children’s Village, which opened in 1997 to provide special needs children with a wide range of medical services.

“Children’s Village, at the beginning, was untested; it was a different model based on collaborative partners,” said Anne Caffrey, president of the Yakima Valley Memorial Foundation, the hospital’s charitable arm. “Joanne just grasped it and became an advocate for it.”

And even toward the end of her life, Almon remained upbeat, said John Neidhardt, who worked with Almon at Prudential Almon Realty for 14 years.

“Her mind never quit, her positive attitude never quit,” he said. “You could see her smiling in her eyes.”

Survivors include her husband, Bill Almon, and three children, Craig Almon of Snohomish, Anne Almon of Olympia and Bill Almon of Yakima.

A celebration of her life will be at 3 p.m. April 10 at the Fourth Street Theatre in Yakima. Arrangements are by Keith and Keith Funeral Home of Yakima.

• Mai Hoang can be reached at 509-759-7851 or at maihoang@yakimaherald.com.

This online article has been updated with service information.