Sam Massell’s retirement as president of the Buckhead Coalition, made in a surprise announcement early this year, will become official June 30. A successor is scheduled to be named next week, he said.

Massell, 92, served as Atlanta mayor from 1970 through 1974. In 1988, he became the founding president of the Coalition, a 100-member, invitation-only group of community leaders that works on local advocacy and charitable campaigns.

Sam Massell is embraced by his wife Sandy Gordy shortly after announcing his retirement as president of the Buckhead Coalition at its Jan. 29 annual meeting. (File)

While Massell is well past the typical retirement age, his announcement at the Coalition’s Jan 29 annual meeting came as a surprise, as many locals expected him to remain in the position for the rest of his life due to his appetite for work and love of the neighborhood, where he is known as the “mayor of Buckhead.”

Massell said in an email that, after June 30, he will remain a consultant to the Coalition for two years.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.