Roger Haley, the longtime city manager of Murfreesboro who was instrumental in bringing the Gateway to the city, died at 75 on Friday due to complications from the COVID-19 virus.
His wife, Holly Sims Haley, was in the hospital with the virus at the time but announced her husband’s death on social media. She said that a Celebration of Life for her husband will be scheduled and requested “prayers as I struggle with this unimaginable loss.”
Haley served as Murfreesboro City Manager from 1989-2009. The Tennessee City Management Association named him the City Manager of the Year in 2009.
As city manager, Haley supported the development of Stones River Mall. He also worked with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce and Murfreesboro City Council to create the retail space in the Gateway District where The Avenue shopping center is located.
“I had the unique opportunity to work with Mr. Haley for many years,” current Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland said through a spokesman. “He was a very determined man when he made up his mind on a certain direction he thought was right. His fingerprints are still ever present with decisions that are made in the City of Murfreesboro. The entire City Council and City staff extend our thoughts and prayers to the Haley family.”
Haley also served for 28 years on the Rutherford County Industrial Development Board. His efforts on that board helped the county attract the Nissan facility in Smyrna, which employed more than 6,000 workers at one time.
“It was such a joy to see Roger and Holly out walking,” Senior Judge Don Ash said. “They both glowed in each other’s company. Roger will be remembered as one of the great leaders in the history of our community. I will truly miss his great smile and kind heart.”