Former colleagues and city employees are remembering former Hickory City Manager Gary McGee for his contributions to the city following his death on April 28 at the age of 73.
McGee served as Hickory’s city manager from 1984 to 2004.
He moved to the coast after leaving the role, going on to serve as the manager of the town of Kitty Hawk and chairman of the Currituck County Board of Elections, a role he held at the time of his death.
Mack McLeod, the retired head of Hickory’s parks department, paid tribute to McGee in a Facebook post.
“His partnership with former Hickory Mayor Bill McDonald led Hickory to unprecedented growth during their 20 years together,” McLeod wrote.
McLeod elaborated on McGee’s legacy in a Facebook message, crediting him with leading the development of such recreational facilities and institutions as the Highland Recreation Center, Henry Fork River Park, Catawba Valley Youth Soccer Association and L.P. Frans Stadium.
City Manager Warren Wood, who worked under McGee, said that McGee “will be deeply missed.”
“I learned a lot from him about city management as well as the importance of building positive working relationships with other local governments,” Wood said. “Many of his initiatives are still in place today, and Hickory is a better community thanks to his leadership.”
Scott Millar, president of the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation, said “strong planning, community involvement and regional leadership” were defining features of McGee’s tenure that have remained key principles for how the city operates today.
Kevin Griffin is the city of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.