By Lauren McDonald

The Golden Isles community lost one of its most benevolent leaders this week.

Pete Correll, who was well known as a local philanthropist, died Tuesday. He is survived by his wife, Ada Lee, who has been his long-time partner in creating change in Glynn County and beyond through their generosity and leadership.

Born April 28, 1941, A.D. "Pete" Correll grew up in Brunswick. He and his wife have served on numerous nonprofit boards in the area and supported many fundraising campaigns, including for the University of Georgia Foundation, the Georgia Aquarium, Emory University, College of Coastal Georgia and the Teen Center of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Georgia in Brunswick, which was named in honor of Pete's late mother, Elizabeth F. Correll.

He also played a crucial role in preserving the natural beauty of this area through his support of the St. Simons Land Trust.

"Pete's legacy in the Golden Isles is beyond measure," said Emily Ellison, executive director of the land trust. "From education to health care to the environment, he and his family have looked both at immediate and greatest needs while also taking a long-view of the community."

Locally, evidence of Correll's legacy of giving can be found in many places.

The Corrells were instrumental in the success of raising funds to acquire and protect Cannon's Point Preserve on St. Simons. The 608-acre peninsula on the island's north end was slated for development until community leaders, including the Corrells, solicited gifts from hundreds of individuals, foundations and businesses both locally and across the country.

Cannon's Point Preserve is now one of the largest unspoiled tracts of wilderness in the Golden Isles. The preserve includes more than 6 miles of shoreline and the last intact maritime forest on St. Simons.

The Corrells also endowed a need-based scholarship program in 2018 at the University of Georgia and were named honorary chairs of UGA's Commit to Georgia Campaign. The Correll family's gift established the Correll Scholars Program for students who demonstrate significant financial need.

Correll's impact at College of Coastal Georgia can be spotted by anyone driving past the campus on Altama Avenue. The Correll Center for Teacher Education and Learning was named in honor of his desire to benefit the community and invest locally in teacher education, said Michelle Johnston, president of CCGA.

"The Correll Center not only houses our education department but is used for a myriad of classes and instruction for our students," she said. "His impact is felt every time faculty, staff, students and visitors go through those doors."

Correll was a great advocate for education, Johnston said, and he believed that an educated workforce is vital for economic development.

"He and his family have been one of our most significant supporters, especially when the college transitioned into a four-year institution," she said. "Pete was generous, kind, and took a genuine interest in what our students were doing while helping them to succeed. His passing is a major loss for us, and he will always be a very important part of the college's history.

Correll served as president and CEO of Georgia-Pacific Corporation for 13 years.

He was instrumental in saving Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. In 2007, he led a $325 million campaign to build new facilities and services for the then-failing hospital. He also co-led the Saving Grady Task Force and served for eight years as the inaugural chair of the new board of directors of the nonprofit Grady Memorial Health Corporation.

Correll recently lent his support to Hand in Hand of Glynn, to which the Correll Family Foundation has donated $500,000 in a matching grant to help fund the construction of a tiny home village in Brunswick for the homeless.

Correll was honored in May by the City of Brunswick, when May 3 was proclaimed Pete Correll Day in honor of his legacy of giving in the community.

"Even in a community as benevolent as this one is, Pete and Ada Lee Correll and the Correll Family Foundation have been particularly generous," Ellison said.

Correll's contributions went far beyond financial support, she said.

"He was a brilliant and innovative businessperson, a thought leader and a thoughtful supporter who saw the big picture while also understanding the more nuanced needs of an organization," Ellison said.

Republished with the permission of The Brunswick News. Originally published in The Brunswick News.