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Greenville Business Magazine

OTO Development CEO Corry W. Oakes III Dies at 55

Aug 09, 2022 01:13PM ● By Donna Walker

By Birgit Preuss 

Corry W. Oakes III, 55, co-founder and CEO of OTO Development, died Aug. 7, according to OTO officials.

Oakes and his partner Todd Turner, along with Jim Ovenden, provided their initials and founded OTO Development together with George Dean Johnson Jr. and the late Wayne Huizenga in 2004. 

Throughout his lifetime, Oakes held roles of increasing responsibility with Johnson’s WJB Blockbuster Video and then Extended Stay America, where he served as president and chief operating officer. 

As an NYSE-listed lodging chain, ESA thrived under his leadership, becoming the fastest-growing owner-operated hotel chain in lodging history prior to its sale to Blackstone. OTO Development was founded on the day the ESA sale closed. 

Johnson was not only Oakes’ business partner for many years, but he was also his mentor. A statement shared on behalf of the Johnson family read, in part, “Corry was more than just the consummate professional and leader in the lodging industry. He was a tremendous community servant, a mentor to all he worked with, a loving father and family man, and a most trusted advisor on so many different levels to our family. Words cannot describe how deeply he will be missed.”

As a Wofford College graduate with a degree in business economics, Oakes returned to his alma mater to serve as member of Wofford’s Terrier Club Board of Directors, President’s Advisory Board and Wofford College Board of Trustees, in which he served as Chairman from 2019-2021. 

Wofford College President Nayef Samhat said, “Corry’s impact on our community will stretch far beyond the 37 years he’s been a Terrier. Future generations will have opportunities for a Wofford education and for international travel, study and internships because of his legacy. He was a champion for student success, dedicated to the educational mission, and we will always remember his commitment, generosity and love for Wofford College.”

Oakes is survived by his wife Amy, and three daughters Ashley, Elizabeth and Lauren. 

Memorial services will be held at 3 p.m. Aug. 12 in the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium, 601 Cummings St., Spartanburg.