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.
Gainesville officials said Thursday that, despite previous statements to the contrary, they will continue to issue building permits to Corrections Corp. of America for renovations on the future North Georgia Detention Center.