OCALA – At age 81, Landis Curry, a lifelong Ocala resident, is still practicing real estate law. Just last month, he was honored by the Florida Bar for 50 years of service.
“It just means I am getting old," Curry told the Florida Record when asked if the honor had any significance for him.
Far from it.
The longtime attorney, who works at Ayres, Cluster, Curry, McCall, Collins, Bank and McClean PA in Ocala, has no plans to quit any time soon to enjoy full-time retirement.
One thing is for sure: Curry has not lost his sense of humor.
“I don’t know; I will play it by ear,” Curry said when he was asked about his retirement plans. “My health is good and I continue to work at a professional level where my customers don’t think I have Alzheimer's.”
Curry continues to represent major land developers that have transformed Ocala and Marion County to more of a bustling metropolis.
Curry has represented On Top of the World and a local Toyota dealer. He also has represented a number of horse owners who were looking to buy or sell their farms.
One of the biggest transactions was the sale of Mockingbird Farm in Ocala.
“I represented Harry Mangurian, who used to own the Boston Celtics and the hockey team in Buffalo, and I represented him in the sale of Mockingbird Farm,” Curry said. “He won an Eclipse Award (horse racing’s highest honor).”
The professional highlight, though for Curry was near and dear for every Ocalan. In 1984, Curry represented the American Broadcasting Co. in the sale of Silver Springs, Florida’s oldest tourist attraction. Silver Springs is a group of artesian springs that flow into the Silver River.
“I represented ABC and we sold the property and several thousand acres around the property,” Curry said.
And yet another highlight was that Curry was instrumental in moving the Johnny Reb statue to the Ocala-Marion County Veterans Memorial Park. The statue has a little extra meaning for Curry, who has a number of relatives who were part of the Confederacy.
“It means a lot to some people in the community,” he said. “I helped raise $50,000 to make the move.”
Curry joined his current firm in the 1970s; and there was one thing he always thought about when he was negotiating with county officials while trying to make a deal for one of his customers.
“I try to treat everybody with respect, and I expect everybody to treat me with respect,” Curry said.
The law profession has changed quite a bit over the years. There has been an influx of attorneys and sometimes that is bad for business, he said.
“Sometimes they lack the education or don’t have the proper training,” Curry, who spent five years in the Navy as a diving specialist, said.
Throughout his career, Curry, who graduated from the University of Florida and passed the bar exam in 1966, has seen the technical advances, and he rolls with the punches with the advent of the internet and digital media.
Through it all, though, Curry, who is married with two children and three grandchildren, remains principled. But his sense of humor is not too far away either.
“The internet has expedited the process,” Curry said. “It has eliminated the excuse that we have not gotten your letter yet.”