A former Atlanta mayor, Sam Massell, died Sunday at age 94. In spite of his fame as the “mayor of Buckhead,” he resented being referred to as “the mayor of Buckhead.”
His tenure as the business-friendly Buckhead Coalition’s spokesperson from 1988 to 2020 was undisputed. His name was often included in media reports about Buckhead, “because I constantly answer their calls,” he claimed.
Still, he would assure everyone who asked that he (a) cared more about the city’s overall health than Buckhead’s, and (b) he would never accept an unofficial title that weakened his position as mayor.
When Mayor Shirley Franklin was receiving many complaints about Atlanta’s neglected infrastructure, Massell coordinated a highly publicized demonstration of support for her. Former mayors Ivan Allen, Maynard Jackson, and Andrew Young joined him in praising Franklin’s first year in office. Prioritizing water, sewage, and other repairs was a mistake made by past mayors, including Massell.
Services will be held in the Temple at 1589 Peachtree St. at 3 p.m., according to family members. Family spokesperson says March 16th.
Son of Samuel Alan Massell Sr., Samuel Alan Massell Jr. grew up in the Massellton, a Ponce de Leon apartment building. A home in Druid Hills, where he grew up and attended to high school, followed. Georgia State University awarded him a business degree and Atlanta Law School a law degree. While at Georgia and Emory, he stated he joined their alumni groups for “longer than I can afford.”