PLANT CITY —
David Hawthorne, who played a key role in historic downtown’s redevelopment, was discovered dead Jan. 17 at a South Pasadena condominium.
Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies who were called to check on Hawthorne’s welfare found the 62-year-old’s body shortly before 11 a.m., sheriff’s spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said. He died from a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted, she said.
Hawthorne was born and raised in the eastern Hillsborough County community of Knights on a farm his ancestors homesteaded in the 1840s. He graduated from Plant City High School.
“I left to go make my fortune as soon as I got out of the Army,” he told a reporter in 2006.
He worked in the investment field turning around troubled companies before he returned to Plant City in about 1996. With his wife Vicki, Hawthorne started buying and renovating decades-old downtown buildings, including his premier property, Olde Village Shoppes.