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Gainesville titan Ray McRae dies at age 85
Funeral services have not been announced
0418ray mcrae
J.M. "Ray" McRae
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.

McRae's bank, First National Bank of Gainesville, grew to control more than half the deposit business in the Hall County market. A stickler for customer service, McRae insisted that every employee wear a company name tag, something he did daily, and to know the names of their customers.

McRae served as chairman and president of First National and its company, First National Bancorp, until its merger with Alabama-based Regions Bank.

McRae was named in 2008 as one of The Times "Titans," a group of leaders who shaped the county.

Funeral services have not been announced.

This story will be updated throughout the day.