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November 19, 2013

Community saddened by developers’ deaths

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

Troy resident Joel Garrett was not one to brag about his accomplishments.   

Garrett, 79, and his son Dale, 49, of Berkley, died following a plane crash in Minnesota Nov. 1.

According to a news release from the Houston County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota, the small twin engine Piper PA-23 aircraft the men were traveling in crashed southeast of the Caledonia Airport in Minnesota Nov. 1. John Bergeron, 50, of Birmingham, was also killed in the crash. Joseph Stevens, 61, of Bloomfield Township, was transported from the scene to a hospital for treatment of severe injuries.

Joel Garrett’s business, Ladd’s Real Estate and Development — one of the Troy Chamber of Commerce’s oldest and longest-standing members — was responsible for the development of many commercial and residential properties in Troy, including the Emerald Lakes subdivision and, in more recent years, Oak Forest and Oak Forest South, 40 detached condos currently under construction.

He also developed shopping centers and three office buildings in Troy, including the Professional Engineering Services building on Rochester Court, and the Troy Corners Shopping Center at Livernois and Square Lake. 

Joel Garrett started in the real estate business in 1959 as a salesman. He joined Ladd’s as a salesman in 1961 and purchased the company in 1967.

“Joel was here during the boom years,” said former Troy Mayor Jeanne Stine.

Joel Garrett served on the Oakland County Building Authority and Oakland County Business Finance Corporation.

Troy attorney Tom Sawyer, a longtime friend of Joel Garrett’s, described him as an exceptionally bright and a brilliant businessman. 

“He had tremendous talent for recognizing good real estate property and developing it. He never talked about what he accomplished. He was honest and modest. If you asked him about what he did, he would ask about you.

“He treated everyone well and had time for everybody,” Sawyer said. He added that Joel Garrett was an avid reader with diverse interests and knowledge, and a nearly photographic memory.

“He could talk about anything,” he said. “He loved life.”

At 79, Joel Garrett had no plans to retire, Sawyer said. “He loved to hunt, fish and golf, and was a very accomplished pilot.

“He contributed very generously to Troy,” Sawyer said.

He said Joel Garrett’s twin sister, Joyce, said that her brother had an entrepreneurial spirit at a very young age.

“He took property, mined the sand and gravel, and made a nice quality lake and nice quality homes,” Sawyer said.

“His friends were legion, and from all walks of life,” Sawyer noted.

Joel Garrett is survived by Janet, his wife of 58 years; his daughter, Ann; grandchildren Jace, Grace and Colin; and twin sister Joyce.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.