Glen Cross had a knack at identifying property that had potential — not only for the developers but for future homeowners.
Cross was involved in two major projects that helped redefine the Tampa area: FishHawk Ranch and Town 'N Country.
"He was sensible, down to earth and very honest," said his friend and business partner Mandell "Hinks" Shimberg. "He was universally loved in the business world."
Cross died Tuesday morning in a car crash in North Carolina. According to the High Country Press in North Carolina, a man hauling two cars on a trailer lost control of his vehicle on the Beech Mountain Parkway about 10:20 a.m. The two vehicles flew off the trailer and one struck Cross' car.
Cross, 72, died at the scene.
Cross and his wife, Sandy, had a summer home in Banner Elk, N.C. They also lived in FishHawk Ranch in Lithia, where they were an original buyer with Shimberg of the land that would help boost development in eastern Hillsborough County.
Friends said Cross was a quiet man who touched many lives. They said his philosophy was not only to help develop the area but to improve it.
Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio said Cross didn't settle for second rate.
"For Glen it was about quality," said Iorio, who met Cross in 1984 when she was first seeking public office. "If it had his name associated with it, it had to be something of quality."
Cross was kind and unassuming, Iorio said. He might attend a meeting and say little. But when he spoke, "everyone listened," she said. "What he had to say was something of substance."
Cross was born in Indiana. In the 1960s, he worked evaluating property for Shimberg at a Tampa development company, LaMonte Shimberg.
The two became friends, and in 1975 they formed Shimberg Cross, a Tampa development company that remains minority partners in the FishHawk Ranch project. Cross was the president and had retired. Shimberg is the chairman.
"He was extremely knowledgeable," Shimberg said. "People dealt with him with no question about his business ethics."
Outside of the business world, Cross wanted to help others and see the community grow, friends said.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn remembers when Cross helped him get his first professional job in Tampa in 1985 with the Builders Association of Tampa. Buckhorn was the director of government affairs. Cross was on the organization's board.
"He believed in me," Buckhorn said.
Cross was reserved and never sought the limelight, headlines or attention, Buckhorn said. But he was always willing to help, he said.
In business deals, he wanted everyone involved to benefit.
"He believed in this community and he believed that in every deal everyone should walk away a winner," Buckhorn said.
"He was just a kind, gentle person who never asked for anything," Buckhorn said. "He just wanted to help."
Along with his wife, Cross is survived by a son and daughter.