In Memoriam: John Crosland, Jr.

In 1971, John Crosland, Jr. took the reins of the thriving home building company started by his father 34 years earlier, and grew it into a nationally recognized leader in real estate development.

The John Crosland Company soon became Charlotte’s largest home builder, its legacy still evident today in communities from Blakeney in South Charlotte to Birkdale Village in Huntersville.

Mr. Crosland passed away at his Eastover home yesterday, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. But his mark on Charlotte, and on North Carolina’s housing industry, will be with us for generations to come.

A graduate of Davidson College, John returned to Charlotte in 1954 after two years of service in the Army to build some of the city’s most enduring neighborhoods and commercial developments, including Beverly Woods, StoneCrest, Sharon Corners and Latta Arcade. In 1987, after building more than 13,000 homes throughout the Southeast, he sold the company’s single-family homes division to Centex, and rebranded the business with a focus on commercial, retail and multifamily development.

A champion for the cause of affordable housing, John worked to ensure his company was delivering homes that young Charlotte families could afford. In the 1970s, he partnered with the late H. Allen Tate, Jr., to establish the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition (REBIC), to give home builders and Realtors® a voice in local politics, and to stand up against regulation that unnecessarily added to the cost of new homes. He was also the founding chairman of Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte, and worked with former President Jimmy Carter to expand the group’s national outreach.

“John Crosland was a giant in our industry,” said REBIC Executive Director Joe Padilla. “He had a passion for the building business, and understood the importance of making homeownership accessible to Americans of modest incomes. He was a generous man who will be deeply missed by all of us who knew him.”

A former president of the Charlotte Home Builders Association, John Crosland was the first inductee into the North Carolina Housing Hall of Fame, in 1994. He was also inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 2008.

Having overcome dyslexia as a child, John made a $1.1 million donation in 2012 to The Dore Academy, the first school in Charlotte for children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders. The school, now located on a six-acre tract in West Charlotte, has been renamed the Crosland School in John’s honor. John also endowed the John Crosland, Sr. Real Estate Chair at UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business in honor of his father, and was a driving force in initiating and funding the University’s Real Estate Department.

John is survived by his wife of 37 years, Judy, his son, John Crosland III, his stepsons, William (Rocky) and Michael McClamroch, and five grandchildren.

Services celebrating his life will be held on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 1:30 p.m., at Christ Episcopal Church, 1412 Providence Road. A reception will be held in the Church’s All Saints Hall following the service.

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