Mark A. Pirtle, a business icon who played a major role in the commercial development of Murfreesboro over the past three decades but who was known more for his engaging personality and generosity of time and money, died Monday, October 3, 2022 after an extended illness.
Funeral services were held Friday, October 7, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. at World Outreach Church. Speakers were Allen Jackson, James Vandiver, and Johnny Holden.
The husband of Anita Pirtle will be remembered as a giving family man, for his vision, his great business success, and for his immense willingness to share his fortune, time, and entrepreneurship with others. A son of Joyce Pirtle of McMinnville and the late Jack Edwin Pirtle, Mark is survived by a son, JD (Kimberly) and grandsons, Hawkeye and Caspian of Chicago; a daughter, Mary Bevin and grandson, Kieran; step-son, Bo Martindale of Nashville; three brothers, Mike (Sharon) of Murfreesboro, Tim (Mary) of McMinnville, and Jack (Margie) of Nashville; and a sister, Joy (Mike) James of Chattanooga; plus numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Pirtle focused his career on both real estate development and automobile sales. He developed over $400 million in new building construction and land sales in Middle Tennessee over the last 30-plus years. Notable projects include Stonegate Corporate Center, Mark Pirtle Gateway, the former State Farm property on Broad and Memorial and the Haynes property between Highway 231 and Thompson Lane in Murfreesboro.
His crowning achievement in that area, and likely the most beneficial for this community, was stepping up as the first major developer in Murfreesboro’s then new and unrealized Gateway project. While others balked or asked special concessions on the then farmland the city offered, Mark moved quickly and decisively on a large tract, building the community’s first Class A office building, Stonegate, a quick success which later led to other developments, producing the impressive Medical Center Parkway area.
He played a major role in the expansion of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, as he and Anita donated land on Broad/Memorial for the first professional chamber headquarters. The chamber includes the Mark Pirtle Economic Development Center at its current headquarters on Medical Center Parkway.
In addition, Mark was a General Motors Institute graduate and owned automobile dealerships in Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Cookeville, and Jackson, Tennessee, and Beckley, West Virginia. He was honored four times with the Honda President’s Award and earned Oldsmobile Elite Dealer status.
Pirtle was a member of the board of directors and executive committee for First National Bank of McMinnville and served as a 10-year board member for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rutherford County. He was a past president of both the Middle Tennessee State University Foundation and Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce boards of directors.
He was one of only 10 recipients of the Jennings A. Jones Champion of Free Enterprise Award, given to a business leader who has made a difference in his/her community, and was the 1996 Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year and 2016 Business Legend of the Year.
He was an avid sports fan and before failing health enjoyed water skiing, racquet ball, tennis, and golf, where he excelled as a near scratch player.
Raised in the Church of Christ, Mark attended Westwood Church of Christ in McMinnville and World Outreach Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mark’s memory to Alive Hospice of Murfreesboro, the Boys and Girls Club of Murfreesboro, or a charity of your choice.