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Realtor in huge land buy for Disney World dies

Craig Linton, the real estate agent who helped secretly assemble the nearly 30,000 acres that became Walt Disney World, died Monday. He was 73.

Mr. Linton and his business partner, Nelson Boice, founded the real estate brokerage firm Florida Ranch Lands in 1954. In the mid-1960s, the company helped Disney secretly purchase the land southwest of Orlando, parcel by parcel, that eventually would become the theme park.

The land, bigger than Manhattan, sold for under $200 an acre. But it was held by several owners and required Florida Ranch Land to track them down one by one.

Speculation about the buyer ranged from Howard Hughes to Ford Motor Co. but no one got any hints from Mr. Linton or his company. Mr. Linton would say later that anyone who couldn't keep a secret shouldn't be in the real estate business.

Mr. Linton was president of the Central Florida Development Committee, director of the Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce and president of the Florida Symphony Society.

He was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Bucknell University with a bachelor's degree in commerce and finance.

He is survived by his wife, Linda Linton; his children, Craig Linton Jr., Leslie Linton Kerbs, Page Linton and Cameron Linton; and three grandchildren.