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Alan Lee Potter

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Date published: 2/2/2014

Alan Lee Potter

Attorney, philanthropist, developer and family man Alan Lee Potter, 84, of Lake of the Woods died quietly on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, after a long illness, surrounded by his family.

Alan was born in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 8, 1930, to I. Lee and Dulcie Horner Potter of Arlington. He was educated at Virginia Tech, receiving a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, and later at George Washington University, where he received his Doctor of Law degree, placing first in his class.

Alan and his wife of 62 years, Mary Louise Bryant Potter, were college sweethearts and married a few weeks after his graduation from Virginia Tech in 1951. He worked for General Electric, originally in Schenectady, N.Y., and later in Owensboro, Ky.

During the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Army at the Aberdeen Proving Ground Chemical Laboratory. Following his Army service, he and Louise moved to Greensboro, N.C., where he took a job as chief quality control chemist with Vicks Chemical Co.

Recognizing the need for further education, the couple moved to Alexandria, where he attended George Washington University School of Law, receiving his JD degree. He then accepted an appointment as clerk for Judge Lindsay Almond in the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals. Alan and Judge Almond (previously governor of Virginia) became lifelong friends, especially enjoying discussing politics from both sides of the political spectrum; Alan and his family were dedicated Republicans and Judge Almond was a Kennedy-appointed Democrat.

Alan worked for several years in Washington as a patent attorney and was then selected as CEO of Jelleff's Inc., a chain of eight women's specialty stores in the Washington area. Following the years in Northern Virginia, the Potters decided to move their young sports-minded family to Lake of the Woods in Orange County, where Alan practiced general and real estate law.

In addition to being very active in the growing community, he founded Potter Enterprises, a real estate development company. He was joined in the business by his wife, Louise, an architect, and his sons Richard, a CPA, and Kenneth, also an attorney.

After turning the management of that business over to his sons and later to his daughter, Janet Bonner, he founded Spotswood Construction Loans and finally Potter Homes, a residential development company.

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