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John P. Imlay Jr.

1936 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
John P. Imlay Jr. Obituary
IMLAY Jr., John P. John P. Imlay Jr. loved his family, welcomed a healthy dose of competition in business and in sport, and reveled in extending hospitality at his homes in Atlanta and in Scotland. He prized the philosophy extolled by Bobby Jones that "the two most important words in the English language are friend and friendship." The entrepreneur, technology pioneer, godfather of angel investing, author, and philanthropist, died suddenly on March 25 at the age of 78 at his home in Atlanta. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, to John Prescott Imlay Sr. and Cora Sterchi Imlay in 1936, John completed a degree in industrial management at Georgia Tech. He was a successful businessman, avid golfer, and minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons NFL franchise. He is credited with helping create two of Atlanta's biggest technology industries - software and Internet security. John built one of the nation's most successful software companies - Management Science America, Inc. (MSA) - which became an incubator for technology executives and startup companies in Atlanta. MSA is credited with training more than 300 CEOs and spawn nearly 100 companies. After purchasing the bankrupt company in 1971, John restructured it to create a software powerhouse. MSA went public in 1981 and in 1990 was sold to Dun & Bradstreet Corp. To help cultivate new talent, John used proceeds from the MSA sale to establish Imlay Investments, Inc., to help fund startup companies, primarily in Atlanta. Over the next two decades, he worked with more than 120 technology companies, including Tradex and Internet Security Systems, Inc. John was also an avid sports fan, and in 1991 he became a minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons. An eternal optimist, he began each season declaring "this is it," always certain that the team would make it to the Super Bowl. John loved playing golf and was equally as passionate about preserving its history. He spearheaded the purchase of artifacts related to the legendary golfer, Bobby Jones, and chaired the Bobby Jones Executive Committee at the Atlanta History Center, helping develop the largest exhibition on Jones in the world. He was a founding member of the Robert T. Jones, Jr., Advisory Committee at Emory University and helped grow the Jones Scholar Program. He was a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, North Berwick Golf Club, Royal Troon Golf Club, Muirfield-The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, East Lake Golf Club, the Atlanta Athletic Club, and Peachtree Golf Club, among others. John retired from angel investing in 2010, but remained an active philanthropist through the Imlay Foundation. He has been the recipient of many honors including induction into the Technology Hall of Fame for Georgia in 1994 and the Entrepreneur of the Year lifetime achievement award in 1997. Author of Jungle Rules: How to Be a Tiger in Business (1996), John was a sought-after public speaker around the globe who was well known for his wit and self-deprecating humor. He often said, "Businesses succeed through the blunt natural forces of honesty, persistence and creativity in people. . . .Everything else is just a vine to swing on." John's belief in the human spirit, his warmth, and his entrepreneurial drive shaped the business community in Atlanta and beyond. John's love of golf led him to Scotland, where he and his wife, Mary Ellen, lovingly restored Westerdunes, a historic home in North Berwick built between 1908-1910. They often opened the home to friends and family, and John's hospitality was legendary. John is survived by his loving wife Mary Ellen; brother Gerard and wife Paula; son, John P. Imlay III (Scott) and his wife, Cindy and children Caitlin, Courtney, and Lucy; stepson Alan Zubay and children Daisy and Ellen; stepdaughter Wimberly Dayton; husband John and children Jay, Charlotte, and Luke. A service celebrating John's life will be held on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. at Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion (965 Fowler Street, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30313). Follow parking signs to Family Housing (ER66), North Deck/State St. (W23), or the Centergy lots (E82). Visit for more information. The service will be followed by a reception at East Lake Golf Club (2575 Alston Drive, SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30317). In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to the Atlanta History Center for the "John P. Imlay Jr. Gallery - Down the Fairway with Bobby Jones" at 130 W. Paces Ferry Road, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30305.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Mar. 29 to Mar. 31, 2015
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