Sir Charles Mander, the industrialist who transformed the shape of modern Wolverhampton, has died at the age of 84.
Sir Charles was a land-owner who became an astute property developer. As well as rebuilding the centre of Wolverhampton with one of the first large-scale shopping malls in Britain, the Mander Centre which opened in 1968, he established a township of 11,500 people on his Staffordshire farms at Perton outside Wolverhampton.
The third baronet of a family of public servants and manufacturers who were in the vanguard of the industrial revolution in the Midlands, he was born at the family home of Kilsall Hall, outside Tong, Shropshire, in September 1921.
After childhood years in the Swiss Alps recovering from tuberculosis, he was educated at Eton, where he was encouraged in his life-long passion for music and mathematics, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read Natural Science.
He left Cambridge after a year and was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1942, soon seeing action in North Africa and then with the Third Battalion at the Salerno Landings in Italy.
In November 1943, he was "nearly blown to kingdom come" when he was badly wounded in the grisly fighting which followed on, at Calabritto, on the slopes of Monte Camino, as his companions and CO were killed beside him. After recovering in North Africa and plastic surgery in England, the family friend Sir Malcolm Sargent wrote of him as "a grand fellow, freshly war scarred but undaunted".
He fought again with the Guards' Armoured Division in the Ardennes and ended the war as ADC to General Robbie Stone, supervising the destruction of U-boat pens in Norway.
In October 1946, he joined the family firm of Mander Brothers, manufacturers of paint, varnish and printing ink, which was established by his great-great-great-grandfather in Wolverhampton in 1773. He was soon a director in charge of its 57 shops and branches and found his main talent lay in property matters.
He pushed through a scheme to rebuild the company's central Wolverhampton factory and offices, and left others to finish off the four-and-a-half-acre Mander Centre.
Having succeeded to the baronetcy at the age of 28, he sold off the family house, The Mount, at Tettenhall Wood, as a hotel with 50 bedrooms.
He bought back farmland which had been requisitioned during the war years as an airfield, and after a series of planning appeals, won permission to develop 518 acres of land in the green belt.
This led to him being branded "the ogre of Wolver-hampton" by opponents, but he forged ahead with the new township of Perton.
As well as his property interests - he was also chairman of Arlington Securities - S ir Charles farmed in Gloucestershire and was High Sheriff of Staffordshire.
With his aunt Daisy, he was one of the first to visit Moscow in 1955 when Wolverhampton Wanderers played Spartak and Dynamo.
Sir Charles died suddenly in Newport on the Isle of Wight on August 9, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his widow, Dolores, three children, a daughter and two sons, as well as ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, the youngest born two days before he died.
He is succeeded in the baronetcy by Charles Nicholas, of Owlpen Manor in Gloucestershire.