Randall Presley, the first developer in Ahwatukee Foothills, passed away of complications arising from pneumonia in Newport Beach, Calif., on April 12 at the age of 93. Presley will be remembered as a smart developer and a gentleman.
“If I had to describe Randall in one word it would be ‘gentleman’,” said Presley’s wife, Cecilia. “He never said a bad word about anybody. He was one of the most upstanding, outstanding businessmen. He was honest, gave good pay and was just a gentleman. That’s what all his friends would say.”
Presley founded Presley Development Co., which eventually merged with William Lyon Homes, in 1956 and over the years was instrumental in the development of thousands of homes and communities in California, Washington, New Mexico, Maryland, Virginia and Arizona, including the first development in Ahwatukee Foothills.
Presley was born in 1918 in Pensacola, Fla., to a very poor family. He worked from the age of 6 years old, selling cookies his mother made, Cecilia said. Eventually he moved to New York to attend college and worked his way through college as a model.
He became a pilot and bombardier during World War II and after the war settled in Bakersfield, Calif. and began his real estate career.
Presley’s family said he was a wonderful athlete, enjoying skiing, tennis and golf. He was also very involved in charities including the Boy Scouts of America, City of Hope and the Construction Industries Alliance.
Presley is survived by his wife of 52 years, Cecilia, two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
See the Friday, April 27th issue of the AFN for a reaction from the Ahwatukee Foothills community.