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In this file photo from October 2017, World War II vet Sam Spector, in passenger's seat, waves to the crowd as he leads the parade of veterans down the runway at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport during the Wings Over North Georgia Airshow. (Doug Walker, RN-T)

Spector, who grew up in Manhattan, was a veteran of World War II, spending considerable time as a radio operator in Myanmar, which was at that time known as Burma. He fought with the Kachin rebels against the Japanese and stayed in close contact with the people of that region throughout his life.

After the war he returned home and met Virginia Elliott in Washington D.C. She later became his wife and they came to Rome to assist his father-in-law, the late B.C. Elliott, with the rapid growth of the Garden Lakes Co. He became head of the Garden Lakes Co. after Elliott's death and ran it for approximately 25 years.

In 2008 he was named an honorary alumnus of Berry College, where he led the effort to create the college's Masters of Business Administration program. Spector served as head of that department for a number of years before returning to the Garden Lakes Co.

At one time, Garden Lakes was recognized as the largest planned subdivision in the state of Georgia. Much of the growth of the community came as a result of Spector's longtime relationship with Berry College.

"Sam's story is amazing," said Mark Brewster, current president of Garden Lakes Co. "He was a military hero, an amazing entrepreneur and an educator. Mostly he treated people so well. He did it right."

He is survived by his daughter, Julie Windler and a son, Tom Spector

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Daniels Funeral Home.