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In Memoriam: William Spry, COO and President, Self-Storage Division, Johnson Development Associates

William Dennie Spry III, chief operating officer and president of the self-storage division for Johnson Development Associates Inc. (JDA), passed away on Aug. 22 while in Los Angeles for business. He was 34.

Spry was born March 28, 1985, in Winston-Salem, N.C., to William Dennie Spry Jr. and Penelope Orr Spry. He graduated from Forsyth Country Day School in 2003, where he was captain of the soccer team and president of his senior class. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 2007. While in college, he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and a secret society. He completed a juris doctor degree and Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014.

Spry began his career in real estate development at The Pence Group Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based commercial developer. Following graduate school, he became an investment banker in New York City for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, now known as BofA Securities. He joined JDA in 2016 as a real estate manager in the industrial division, where he focused on sourcing, development, investment management and leasing industrial projects in North Carolina and Virginia. He served in several leadership roles at JDA including chief financial officer.

His hobbies included skiing, sports-car racing, golf, reading and, most recently, surfing. Spry visited all seven continents, swam with great white sharks in South Africa, and went skydiving in the Swiss Alps. His next planned trip was to outer space, according to his obituary.

Spry is survived by his parents, three brothers, a sister and other family members. A celebration of his life will be held Aug. 28, 4:30 p.m., at the 17th green of Roaring Gap Club in Roaring Gap, N.C. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Children's Law Center of Central North Carolina in Winston-Salem or Meeting Street Academy in Spartanburg, S.C. Online condolences may be sent to

Spartanburg, S.C.-based Johnson Development operates 31 self-storage properties in the Southeast, all of which are managed by real estate investment trusts CubeSmart, Extra Space Storage Inc. and Life Storage Inc. Its development portfolio of commercial and industrial properties includes self-storage facilities, multi-family rental communities and single-tenant industrial space.

Winston-Salem Journal, Spry III, William Dennie
Johnson Development Associates Inc., William Spry, COO and President, Self-Storage Division

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