Gary Angel, a homebuilder known for helping to develop the community west of Jacksonville that bears his family name, died Wednesday at 71.
Angel worked with his late father, Clytus, to construct homes around Calhoun County and in the Angel community, which surrounds Alabama 204.
Becky Craven, Angel’s sister, said Angel died in his sleep sometime before noon Wednesday.
“He went peacefully,” Craven said.
After attending Jacksonville High School and Jacksonville State University, where he was a hall of fame member of the university’s basketball team, Angel began helping father build houses.
With his business, Calhoun Development Company, Angel helped to build what his wife, Brenda, estimates at more than 1,000 homes. She said her husband, who loved to play golf and to fish, was a great leader for the employees of Calhoun Development.
“He had over 50 employees at one point,” Brenda Angel said. “He would always get comments that he kept everyone working when times were bad,”
Craven said Angel was still involved in the business right up until his death.
“He was still working,” Craven said. “Not physically anymore, he was beyond that, but he was still helping the business and the community.”
Craven said Angel and his father took the family business to Destin, Fla., for 10 years in the 1970s, but the draw to return to the community they helped create led them back to Calhoun County.
Craven said Angel treated his company as he did his own family.
“It started out as a family business,” Craven said. “Even though they’re not all related now, it still felt like a family business.”
Craven said she will remember her brother as generous.
“He was always helping people out, whether that was financially or otherwise,” Craven said. “He was always giving.”
Angel’s daughter, Amy, said the family has heard from countless friends and co-workers of Angel since Wednesday.
“He was my dad, but to so many people he just gave and gave,” Amy Angel said. “The outpouring of all the love and respect is overwhelming.”