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Atlanta philanthropist, businessman A.D. Correll dies at 80

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta philanthropist and businessman A.D. “Pete” Correll, known for leading one of Georgia’s biggest companies and helping to save Atlanta’s public hospital, has died. He was 80.

The Rev. Tony Sundermeier of First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta confirmed the death to The Associated Press. Correll died Tuesday at his home in Atlanta after a brief illness, Sundermeier said. Correll, a lifelong Presbyterian, was one of the church’s elders.

“Pete Correll’s impact on our state will be felt for generations to come,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Thursday.

Correll was “one of the most visionary and influential philanthropists in the city” and was instrumental in revitalizing Grady Memorial Hospital during a time when there were fears it could close because of financial woes, the church said in announcing the death.

“He served on numerous non-profit boards, and he lived his faith in ways that made us all better,” the church announcement said.

Correll was a Brunswick, Georgia, native who later moved to Atlanta and worked in paper mills before joining paper and materials manufacturer Georgia-Pacific in 1988, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“I had always had a very simple premise in my life that I might not be smarter than anybody else, but I can outwork anybody,” he said in a 2014 talk at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta’s northwest suburbs.

He rose to chairman and CEO of Georgia-Pacific in 1993. He later negotiated a $21 billion sale of the company to Kansas-based Koch Industries.

“Pete was a transformational leader in Georgia-Pacific’s 93-year history and his impact on the company is immeasurable and still with us today,” the company’s current president and CEO, Christian Fischer, said in a statement.

As a civic leader and philanthropist, Correll left a lasting imprint on many Atlanta institutions. He was co-chair of a commission in 2003 that led to the renaming of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to honor the city’s first Black mayor, Maynard Jackson.

“Pete’s impact on Atlanta, Brunswick and the entire state of Georgia was monumental,” Fisher said. His service to many of the state’s institutions such as Grady, the University of Georgia and Emory University “will benefit Georgians for many years to come,” he said.

Correll is survived by his wife, Ada Lee; their daughter Elizabeth Richards and son Alston.

A celebration of life is planned for June 2 at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta.

Jeff Martin, The Associated Press