Ray McRae was a courtly Southern gentleman. He gave his nod to business deals that ranged from a mom and pop grocery store to a company that made engines for missiles used to run Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in the first Gulf War.
J.M. "Ray" McRae, one of Hall County's most powerful business figures of the past century, died late Thursday night following a brief illness. He was 85.
McRae, who came to Gainesville in 1953, is remembered as the consummate deal maker. McRae was the key player in recruiting a number of industries, including Wrigley's and Rockwell International, which manufactured engines for the Tomahawk missile.
Hall County officials are now moving unilaterally on a proposal to scrap the Civil Service Board after the proposal stalled in the state legislature. The board hears and decides disciplinary appeals brought by terminated or demoted employees.
The cost of the proposed Glades Reservoir in North Hall has already exceeded $15 million, and taxpayers will likely soon pump more money into the project on consulting fees and additional environmental studies.