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Carl J. Grant — who with just $267 to his name started his first company after graduating from high school before becoming a successful builder and president of both his local and state home builders associations — died on Oct. 13 after a brief illness. He was 92.
Born in Duck Hill, Miss., Grant served in the Navy from 1942 until the end of World War II. In 1948, he founded his home building company, Carl Grant Homes, and built more than 1,000 single-family homes as well as apartments and light commercial in the Memphis, Tenn., area before retiring.
In 1957, Grant was named the Home Builder of the Year by the Memphis Area Home Builders Association. He became the HBA’s president two years later. In 1960, he helped organize the Home Builders Association of Tennessee and served as its first president. He was inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame in 1994.
Grant also served as an NAHB director for eight years before being named a life director.
Grant was president of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors® in 1980 and was selected its Realtor® of the Year in 1981.
With only a high school degree, Grant believed in the importance of education and a strong work ethic and, upon retiring from the building industry, established the Carl J. Grant Scholarship Trust at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. He also donated generously to the university building fund to help rebuild it after a tornado in 2008. The university named its new student center the Carl Grant Events Center in his honor.
Grant is survived by his wife, Peggy Jo Grant; three children, Phyllis G. Taylor, J. Richard Grant and Milton C. Grant; six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Nancy L. Grant.