Longtime friends of Griffin businessman John Carlisle, who died in an accident Tuesday in California, are mourning his death.

Carlisle, 79, a developer and former Georgia House of Representatives member, died after he fell off a cliff next to the ocean in Mendocino County, California, at about 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time Tuesday.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Greg Van Patten on Tuesday said that a man from out of state “slipped and fell about 60 feet into the ocean and died” near Albion, a small community on the Mendocino County coast.

In an email Wednesday afternoon, Van Patten confirmed that Carlisle was the accident victim.

“At this time the initial coroner’s investigation suggests this incident to be an accidental death,” Van Patten wrote. “Eyewitness accounts were that the decedent fell while taking pictures from a bluff near a rented residence where he and others were staying while on a trip to the Mendocino County coast. The decedent fell approximately 60 feet and was recovered from the ocean while deceased.”

Griffin resident Quimby Melton III said he had been in contact with Carlisle’s wife.

Melton said Carlisle was taking a picture and either tripped or got “tangled up” in some vegetation, causing him to fall into the ocean.

The Mendocino Water Unit, the Coast Guard and Reach air ambulance responded to the incident.

Carlisle and his son-in-law had been hunting in California, helping farmers at the area’s wineries clear predators that were destroying their crops, Melton said.

Mendocino County is on the North Coast of California.

Melton said that he had known Carlisle for about 60 years and said Carlisle “was almost like an older brother” to him.

Melton said Carlisle was a “superior lawyer” and a developer who left his mark on Griffin.

Carlisle was instrumental in remodeling the old Coca-Cola building into office space and in the development of The Dairy, a residential area south of city limits.

According to Melton, Carlisle helped many people and organizations in Griffin.

“He would give things to people and organizations that people didn’t know about,” Melton said. “John did so much for this community … and didn’t want to take credit for it.”

Carlisle spearheaded the effort to form an Honor Our KIA committee, which honors the 165 men and women who died serving the United States in various wars, Melton said.

Griffin resident and attorney John Newton called Carlisle’s death “tragic.”

Newton said he and Carlisle practiced law together from 1972 to 1986.

Newton said he and Carlisle were “close personal friends” who went on trips and hunted together.

He said he had talked to Carlisle twice in the week before Carlisle’s death and had sent him a text message at about the time of the accident.

Arrangements had not been announced at press time Wednesday.