Rolland L. King, 98, passed away November 3, 2019. He leaves a legacy of shaping communities as a pioneer residential developer and entrepreneur. Born in Battle Creek, Michigan on October 3, 1921, Rolland grew up in Detroit. After high school Rolland went to work full time as a machinist for Harry W. Dietert Company who made equipment important to the World War II effort. Rolland married his high school sweetheart, Winifred and soon enlisted in the Army to serve his country. After basic training at March Field, California, he was eventually deployed to Guam where he assisted in building air strips and ran five mobile machine shops. He was called home from the service when his mother became ill and eventually passed away.
In 1950 Rolland decided to move his family to Sarasota, Florida, for the warmer weather and to seek out more lucrative career opportunities. This was the beginning of a long career shaping Sarasota’s residential community landscape.
In the early 1950’s Rolland formed a partnership with Frank Smith and obtained options on buying 100-acre parcels south of downtown Sarasota. King and Smith then developed South Gate and the South Gate Shopping Center in a partnership called King and Smith which opened the way for Sarasota’s residential development move south. Many future Sarasota developments by that partnership followed.
Around 1955 Rolland purchased lake front property and an estate in Lake Lure, North Carolina. The family enjoyed this summer home for many years. In the 1980s along the north shore of Lake Lure, Rolland developed The Mountains and golf course, which today is called Rumbling Bald Resort. On that land he also developed Bald Mountain Lake by building a dam on Buffalo Creek running through the property. The mile long lake surrounded by private homes, condos and the natural beauty of the site is enjoyed by residents and guests of the resort.
Rolland and his wife, Francine, were active members of Fairfield Mountains Chapel. They hosted many annual church picnics on their farm property.
In 2010, Rolland wrote his autobiography, “My Family” available at Mountains Branch Library. Many interesting stories and facts about Lake Lure and the surrounding community since the 1950’s can be found in it. He is survived by his third wife, Vicki, and current wife Francine, six children, fourteen grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.
Many call Lake Lure home because of Rolland King’s work and legacy. A Celebration of Life service for Rolland was held December 14, 2019 at South Gate Community Center, Sarasota, Florida. Peace to his memory.