David R. Emery of Nashville, Tennsesse and Boothbay Harbor, Maine, husband, father, son, brother, sailor, entrepreneur, real-estate developer, and Chairman Emeritus of Healthcare Realty Trust, passed away peacefully at home on Sept. 30, 2019 after fighting pancreatic cancer.
David was born Sept. 28, 1944 to Mary Edith and Grady Thomas Emery. The oldest of three siblings, he grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he graduated from Red Bank High School in 1962. His childhood included building forts, robots, and model airplanes, and taking apart cars and machinery and putting them back together. His mother, a professional seamstress, made sure he knew how to mend and iron clothes and sew on buttons. He helped pay for his first car by sacking groceries. David loved a project and was always fascinated by the technical aspects of how things worked.
David attended Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee and graduated with a B.S. in business administration in 1967. He met his beloved wife Glenda Allen, a 1962 graduate of Nashville’s West High School, on the University’s tennis courts. Married in Nashville on Dec. 31, 1964, they were wed for 55 years. During college, David held a variety of jobs, including working at a local drug store, a funeral home, an office supply business, and in the summer, for Southern Airlines at the Nashville airport.
After college, David began working with Nashville firm R.A. McDowell, buying and selling land along the interstate highway system. Real estate would be his professional focus for the next 50 years.
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After visiting Maine for many years by boat, David and Glenda spent a decade of summers together in the cottage they built on Spruce Point in Boothbay Harbor. David purchased a majority ownership in the Spruce Point Inn & Resort in 2010. Managing the renovation and marketing efforts, he enjoyed working with the ownership team and staff, and put his long-time photography hobby to use in enhancing the resort’s website.
David and Glenda both enjoyed volunteering for the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. David served as a board member and chairman of the board for the Gardens, leading the design and construction of the new visitor center, which opened in 2018, and the design and capital campaign for a new conservatory.
A lifelong learner, David taught himself to sail and enjoyed it immensely throughout his life. Some of his happiest times were halcyon days with family and friends cruising the coastal waters of Maine. He was an able and diligent captain of several boats, which he could dock with finesse in any slip under almost any condition. He was a member of the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club and a supporter of its youth sailing program.
David was a loving father and role model to daughter Angie, born in 1973. As a child, she was often by his side running errands and inspecting construction sites. He loved to read to her and take her to Nashville’s downtown library via the city bus. He built her a “tree house” in their Rokeby apartment and taught her how to sail. Her interest in the built environment piqued by observing her father’s real estate projects, Angie majored in Growth & Structure of Cities at Bryn Mawr College, and after years of community service, was elected to Nashville’s Metro Council. His daughter was his pride and joy, and he was likewise proud of his grandchildren.
David encouraged family and friends not to let their fears stop them from undertaking difficult projects and fulfilling big dreams. Creativity, preparation, tenacity, humility, and integrity were essential to his success. David’s legacy was not just in the businesses and structures that he built but most importantly in the people that he loved and encouraged. He will be greatly missed.
David Emery is survived by wife, Glenda Allen Emery; daughter, Mary Angeline (Angie) Emery Henderson; son-in-law, Arthur I. Henderson; grandchildren, Eleanor Emery Henderson and Owen Emery Henderson; sister, Martha Emery, of Chattanooga; and brother, Steve Emery, of Cincinnati.
The family is grateful for all the heartfelt cards and letters sent from friends in Maine over the last several weeks.
Please join family and friends in celebrating David Emery’s life on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 10:30 a.m. in the Wightman Chapel of Scarritt-Bennett Center, 1027 18th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee. Reception to follow in Bennett Hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to: Nashville Tree Foundation, nashvilletreefoundation.org, P.O. Box 58962, Nashville, TN 37205, or Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, mainegardens.org, 132 Botanical Gardens Drive, Boothbay, ME 04537.