Stead Baxendale

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Irene Stead Baxendale (born June 29, 1910 in Lineville, Clay County - died January 11, 2008) was one of the first women to practice real estate brokerage in Birmingham and the first woman to join the Birmingham Board of Realtors.

Baxendale grew up in Clay County, picking cotton and other crops on the family farm until she was 10 and moved to Birmingham. After high school she got a job as a manicurist at a beauty shop in Norwood. From there she became a receptionist at Edwards Chevrolet and at Jackson Securities and Investment Company. Later she worked as resident manager at a Bessemer apartment complex.

In 1956 she became one of the first women to receive a real estate license in Birmingham and paved the way for a growing number of women in the field. She served as an officer in various local and regional women's real estate organizations during her career.

In the 1960s Baxendale pioneered the multiple listing service in the Birmingham market, borrowing the idea from Memphis. When not working she drove a bloodmobile for the Red Cross and knitted caps for kids at Camp Smile-A-Mile. Formerly a member of Walker Memorial Methodist Church she became a charter member of the Vestavia Hills Methodist Church and was also active in Alabaster's First United Methodist Church and, later in life, at Highlands United Methodist Church.

Baxendale died in January 2008 after a long nursing home stay. She was survived by her husband, Howard, son Joe, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She is interred at Forest Hill Cemetery.


  • Kent, Dawn (January 20, 2008) "She worked hard on job and at home." Birmingham News