Allen Tate, Jr. rose from a modest upbringing in rural Gaffney, South Carolina, to lead the largest real estate firm in North Carolina, and become one of the state’s most important civic voices. On Friday, hundreds of friends, family and business associates gathered in the packed sanctuary of Myers Park Baptist Church to celebrate Allen’s life, five days after he passed away at the age of 84.
Tony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community College and a longtime friend of Mr. Tate, spoke of the real estate entrepreneur’s dedication to community service and mentoring others coming into the business. “I suspect every hand in this church would go up if I asked who Allen has helped,” Zeiss said during his eulogy.
Since launching his real estate career from an office on South Tryon St. in 1957, Allen Tate was a pillar of Charlotte’s business and civic community. He chaired the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission from 1970 through 1979, served on the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation from 1988 to 1989, and held a variety of leadership positions with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, including as its chairman in 1999. He received the state’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2008, and was inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 2010.
Mr. Tate also became a recognized leader among his industry peers. In the 1970s, he partnered with developer John Crosland, Jr., in establishing REBIC, to give the Charlotte real estate industry a voice in local politics and regulatory affairs, and to advocate for the cause of affordable housing.
In addition to his countless contributions to the business community, Mr. Tate was a longtime proponent of transportation issues, serving as chair of the Charlotte Chamber’s Regional Roads Committee, the Toll Roads Solutions Committee and the most recent Committee of 21. In 2008, he led the charge for I-485 to be completed ahead of schedule — and that tenacious leadership was recognized when the final section of the interstate was named in his honor earlier this year.
Today, The Allen Tate Company is the largest in the Carolinas based on volume and transactions, and the seventh-largest in the U.S., with more than 1,400 professionals in 45 offices from Greenville, S.C., to Raleigh.
Allen Tate, Jr., is survived by his wife, Bessie; four children, Allen III and wife Sha; Elizabeth (Libby) Gordon and husband Paisley; Lauren Campbell and husband Malcolm; and Frank Burgess and wife Heather; and nine grandchildren. Memorial gifts to help needy Charlotte families may be sent to the Tate Family Endowment, care of Myers Park Baptist Church, 1900 Queens Rd., Charlotte, NC, 28207.