When it came to naming the street in Ayrshire Woods, a subdivision we developed off Ayrshire Road in Ann Arbor, we had only one thought.
It would be named Lillie Lane in honor of Gary Lillie, a well-respected and well-liked commercial real estate broker whom we had known for years.
But Gary’s real passion was helping fellow veterans. He served in the U.S. Navy, fought in Vietnam, and was a strong advocate for veterans. For several years, he hosted a weekly broadcast program called Veterans Radio, a program he helped launch.
In his long real estate career, Gary specialized in vacant land.
Some years ago, he bought the Ayrshire Woods parcel with the intention of splitting it into lots. But then came the Great Recession and he put development plans on hold.
Sadly, tragedy struck as the recession was receding. On the night of August 4, 2011, Gary was killed by a drunk driver as he jogged along the road on which he lived.
We picked up where Gary left off, buying the property and splitting it into lots. Today, all are sold and homes are built on the street that bears his name.
Gary would never have named a street for himself. He was much too humble for that, but in this small way, we thought it was a fitting and appropriate tribute. Not only was Ayrshire Woods his idea, but he also had a big heart and wore a perpetual smile.
Simply put, Gary was an all around great guy . . . and we hope he would be proud.
- Betsy de Parry, VP Marketing and Sales