Memphis entrepreneur George Cates dies after plane crashes near Jackson, TN

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis real estate investor and entrepreneur George Cates has died, Mayor Jim Strickland confirmed Monday afternoon.

The National Transportation Safety Board told WREG it is very early in the investigation and they are working to gather medical records, radar data, weather information, air traffic control communications and airplane maintenance records. Part of that investigation will also be combing over the crash site and examining the aircraft.

A preliminary report on their findings is expected to be released in 12 days. It could take a total of 24 months for the final report to be completed.

Cates was the retired former chairman of Mid-America Apartment Communities. He was also a member of several local boards, including Overton Park Conservancy and Neighborhood Preservation, Inc.

“So saddened by this news. George Cates gave so much to Memphis, including creating a successful business and leading the efforts on the creation of @overtonpark Conservancy. My prayers are with his family,” Strickland said.

The Daily Memphian first reported that Cates was killed in a plane crash outside Jackson, Tennessee.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department would not confirm a victim’s name, but said that one person had been killed in the crash of a single-engine plane en route from Memphis to Asheville, North Carolina.

The sheriff’s department said they received a call at 9:32 a.m. from the fire department about a missing plane. The plane was found about an hour later near Mercer, Tennessee.

The Overton Park Conservancy tweeted that Cates had been a founding board member. “Words are inadequate to describe the grief our team is feeling at the loss of our founding board member, George Cates. We will be eternally grateful for his intelligence, humor, and passionate belief that Memphians deserved a world-class public space.”

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