MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Memphis real estate investor and entrepreneur George Cates has died, Mayor Jim Strickland confirmed Monday afternoon.
Cates was the retired former chairman of Mid-America Apartment Communities. He was also a member of several local boards, including Overton Park Conservancy and Neighborhood Preservation, Inc.
“So saddened by this news. George Cates gave so much to Memphis, including creating a successful business and leading the efforts on the creation of @overtonpark Conservancy. My prayers are with his family,” Strickland said.
The Daily Memphian first reported that Cates was killed in a plane crash outside Jackson, Tennessee.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Department would not confirm a victim’s name, but said that one person had been killed in the crash of a single-engine plane en route from Memphis to Asheville, North Carolina.
The sheriff’s department said they received a call at 9:32 a.m. from the fire department about a missing plane. The plane was found about an hour later near Mercer, Tennessee.
The Overton Park Conservancy tweeted that Cates had been a founding board member. “Words are inadequate to describe the grief our team is feeling at the loss of our founding board member, George Cates. We will be eternally grateful for his intelligence, humor, and passionate belief that Memphians deserved a world-class public space.”