Created: Wed, 30 Oct 2013 06:13:00 EST
Updated: Wed, 30 Oct 2013 06:40:44 EST
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "He has his fingerprints all over a number of great things that have happened here in the Midlands over the last 20 years," says Holt Chetwood, Chair of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.
Chetwood says the loss of Ike McLeese is a loss for Columbia and the business community.
"Ike understood that it's those companies that provide paychecks, that pay taxes. They give money in the community," says Chetwood
Ike McLeese also had a passion for the military.
"Ike, I think, did a great job of connecting the soldiers at Fort Jackson. He was a big part of the reason that relationship is as strong as it is today," says Chetwood
Another passion, we're told were his dogs. Those who knew him well say, one of his favorite things to do was hang out with his four-legged best friends.
Back at the Greater Chamber of Commerce, McLeese was a champion for local businesses. His last day at the office was September 4, 2013.
Just weeks ago, McLeese announced he would step down as President and CEO at the end of the year. Sadly, he passed away before.
He was 69 years old.
Ike McLeese will be laid to rest Friday at Noon. A service will be held at First Baptist Church on Hampton Street, followed by a private burial with the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to PETSInc. in West Columbia.