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Published: Sunday, 4/10/2011

James D. Sahadi, 1928-2011: Developer built houses in Springfield Twp.


James D. Sahadi, a Toledo-area residential developer and builder who brought to his projects a concern for details, died Feb. 23 in Mill Creek, Wash., Adult Family Home of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 82.

He and his wife, Teresa, moved in September from their home in Timber Ridge, one of his Springfield Township subdivisions, to be near their daughter, Darlene, in Washington.

Besides Timber Ridge, other projects late in his career included Pine Ridge Estates and the condominium complex Wingate Village.

Springfield Township became a prime growth area, Mr. Sahadi told the Blade in 1997, because of "the natural beauty of this area -- it became a very important draw."

Houses in many of his developments were planned around multi-acre lakes, which he stocked with fish. And in the houses, he brought "really nice attention to detail," his daughter said.

"It's quality. It's solid doors versus hollow doors."

"My dad loved the creativity, but I think he just loved working with people, making them happy," his daughter said. "He was always bringing people food and bringing people jokes."

And when he wasn't phoning to tell the joke he'd just heard, longtime friend Robert Borger said, "he would exaggerate stories about things he did, and he did it in such a way you knew he was kidding."

Mr. Sahadi's granddaughters got notice in his developments: Joelle Drive was named for Joelle; Ann Wesley Court was named for Annie, and Kitlou Court for Kitty and Lulu.

He was born April 26, 1928, and grew up in North Toledo, where his parents, Sophia and Solomon Sahadi, settled after immigrating from Lebanon. He attended St. Francis DeSales School and Woodward High School.

He was employed at the former Electric Auto-Lite, as was his father.

"My dad was really a smart guy, a genius business-wise, and I think he realized he didn't want to work in a factory, and he was really creative," his daughter said.

He started a business remodeling bathrooms and kitchens and drummed up customers by going door to door.

Work in the late 1960s on the Cedars apartments on West Central Avenue as they were planned and built sparked his interest in development.

He liked to play golf, and fishing and boating on Lake Erie were favorite pastimes.

Every few years over the last two decades, he took his family -- wife, daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters -- on a cruise just after Christmas.

"My dad was very much a family man," his daughter said.

"My dad said what was really important was that we stay together as a family."

Surviving are his wife, Teresa, whom he married in October, 1948, daughter, Darlene McCourt, sister, Jennie Brack, and four granddaughters.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. April 27 in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, where he was a member.

The family suggests tributes to the Alzheimer's Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington 20090-6011

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

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