Shannon Herlihy, Coronado’s 3rd Generation Realtor

Shannon Herlihy, a third-generation realtor, has burst on to the real estate scene here in Coronado. Photo by Brent Haywood.

When real estate icon Lee Mather bounced granddaughter Shannon Herlihy on his knee, with a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face, he seemed to know what was in her future.

Now, all these years later, Shannon is taking her many years of experience in property management and property sales and focusing 100% of her time working with buyers and sellers here in Coronado under the banner of Ascent Real Estate (formerly Lee Mather Co. Realtors).

This third-generation realtor has had a busy time of it. It didn’t take long for people to realize she had entered the real estate game. As the best-known property manager on the island, Shannon Herlihy makes the natural progression to real estate sales with the same institutional memory and dedication to her craft.

Shannon and her father, Mike Herlihy. Mike and Shannon’s aunt, Debbie Riddle, took over Lee Mather Co. Realtors after Lee Mather’s retirement. Mike was also a familiar sight as bar manager at the old Coronado Chart House for many years in his youth.

Shannon carries on the legacy of her grandfather and her father and, as Gilbert & Sullivan would sing, “Her sisters and her cousins and her aunts.” She has been groomed for real estate greatness in Coronado.

Ironically, Shannon Herlihy is the heir apparent to a real estate legacy that Coronado has never seen the likes of before and probably never will again. The agency began in 1953 and involved Lee’s wife, son, daughters and many grandchildren.

Shannon’s mother is Kitty O’Toole (Herlihy-Gaylord). Her father is Mike Herlihy, who along with Debbie Riddle (Shannon’s aunt) took over the company, Lee Mather Company Realtors, from the senior Lee Mather).

Grandpa Lee and Shannon. Little did she know she was being groomed to inherit his real estate dynasty here in Coronado.

“As a child, I used to take night walks around Coronado with my dad to walk off dinner. As we strolled the streets, he would ask me questions like, “What gives this house curb appeal? What do you think this house just sold for? What do you think could be improved to help this property shine its brightest? Only now am I realizing how important those walks and talks were, and how lucky I am to have been raised surrounded by so many passionate and knowledgeable realtors.

“From my property management background, I’ve got experience and professional memories on just about every block in Coronado,” said the 37-year-old realtor. That means her familiarity with Coronado homes is unparalleled. In many cases she knows the neighbors, the home’s place in history, and sometimes even the prior owners.

Watching the Coronado market evolve from such an extraordinary front seat, she has developed extremely fine instincts. Her institutional memory and network of resources are enviable, which allow her to provide buyers and sellers the most accurate information available before making decisions.

“The office of Lee Mather Co. Realtors was my playground growing up,” said Coronado’s third-generation realtor.

“It’s funny to look back at now, but as a young child, I was required, as were all my siblings and cousins, to work in the offices of Lee Mather Company. Little did we know at the time, but some of us, like myself, were being carefully groomed.”

She still has many memories of her well-known grandfather. “My grandfather Lee was a very special man. I remember him as far back as I remember in my life. I don’t think I ever saw him out of a suit and tie in those early years. It was Grandpa Lee who told me to get my real estate license. When the letter from the Department of Real Estate arrived, it was him who called me with the news.”

She remembers clearly how her grandfather would read the paper with her every morning, and show her in the back of the paper where public auctions were noted. “This,” he would say, “is where you find the deals.” During meals at her grandparents’ table, the conversations would almost always drift to the subject of real estate – what escrows were rolling, who is moving where, and so forth.

“I miss my Grandpa Lee terribly,” said Shannon. “He was such a light in my life, and an irreplaceable inspiration to me. Not a day goes by I don’t think of him.”

“Whenever I would speak of a friend, he would ask what is their address? He would close his eyes and say, Oh, yes, the so and so’s house, yes, I know their parents. And most of the times he would say he sold them their house, or the next-door neighbor’s house.”

All of this added to Shannon’s thorough understanding of the diversity of homes in Coronado – such as Palmer houses, little-known historical treasures (like the Winchester cottages), the Country Club original ranch houses, the Coronado Shores, the Coronado Cays and even the “long, tall & narrows” and “cloud condos,” as they are referred to as. In other words, she offers a distinctive familiarity of existing assets to her buyers.

Shannon’s experience has given her confidence, creative wisdom, and a network of venders to make available to sellers preparing to list their property. That sort of one-stop-shop guidance is invaluable to clients who might otherwise spend half their lives on Google trying to find out what this meticulous and experienced realtor is prepared to bring to the table.

Always on the move, a typical day might find Shannon exploring Palmer Houses, conducting open houses in the Long Tall Narrows, grabbing a quick lunch on the run, or, as is the case here, exploring Coronado’s hidden historical treasures. Photo by Joe Ditler.

When asked what she would like to say to future clients, she sat back in her chair, and with a whole-hearted laugh exclaimed, “Hello Coronado. I’m a realtor, hear me roar! I’m ready and eager to help you buy and sell your real estate.”

How refreshing it is to find someone like Shannon Herlihy, with her dedication to Coronado and to Coronado real estate, and her seemingly boundless energy and institutional knowledge.

Shannon Herlihy will continue the nearly three-quarter-century LMC legacy by working out of the same office her grandfather Lee Mather founded all those decades ago. She can be found at 944 Orange Avenue, formerly LMC, and now Ascent Realtors. She can be reached by phone at (619) 855-8655 or at

High atop the old Chart House cupola, Shannon surveys the Coronado Shores, the Bridge, the golf course and the Coronado Yacht Club – all major pieces on the chess board of her life. Photo by Joe Ditler.


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Joe Ditler is a professional writer, publicist and Coronado historian. Formerly a writer with the Los Angeles Times, he has been published in magazines and newspapers throughout North America and Europe. He also owns Part-Time PR (a subsidiary of Schooner or Later Promotions), specializing in helping Coronado businesses reach larger audiences with well-placed public relations throughout the greater San Diego County. He writes obituaries and living-obituaries under the cover "Coronado Storyteller." To find out more, write or call, or (619) 435-0767.