Mann’s Conservation Leadership Commemorated at Memorial | News, Sports, Jobs – FORT MYERS

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A few months ago, when Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann learned he had terminal pancreatic cancer, he visited the new pastor of the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers, Bill Teng, and said he would record a video message at church to his friends. and colleagues as a way to say goodbye.

So it was Saturday, when friends and many county leaders came to say goodbye to Mann at his resurrection witness service on Saturday, they had a chance to see and hear Mann once again.

Mann started with yogi-ism, remembering what a friend used to tell him, “If you don’t go to other people’s funerals, they won’t come to yours” as those in the church laughed, promising that he would come to their funeral, albeit in spirit.

Above all, he talked about the songs and anthems he loved and what made them so special and ended by talking about his wife Mary, whom he called “the wind under my wings.”

Mann was remembered as a civil servant and environmentalist whose drawl and Southern authenticity made him a dying breed in politics, someone who didn’t see you as red or blue .

Fellow county commissioners marveled at his legacy, which began with his hand in school desegregation in the late 1960s when he first ran for the school board, to his work to maintain the environmental standards in Lee County through Conservation 20/20 and other initiatives.

“He has always been a leader in our community. No matter the subject, we could have our differences, we would vote and then we would hug and laugh about it. Lee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Cecil Pendergrass said. “We both wanted the same thing for Lee County.”

“Frank Mann was an icon” said District 1 Commissioner Kevin Ruane. “We worked with him for 16 years, 14 of which were when I was a number and a city councilor in Sanibel. We have both helped to preserve the environment and we have defended it. He was something special,” said Rouane. “Conservation will be his greatest legacy.”

Former CIA Director and Florida Congressman Porter Goss and former State Representative J. Keith Arnold spoke of Mann as many others have, as a Southerner to the simple voice that you could debate fiercely over an issue for a moment and laugh. with that same person the next day.

Also speaking, Frank Mann Jr., who told a long but humorous story about the promise his father made while a state representative, where he said he would switch sides if the governor ran his bill, which would prohibit the death penalty for the mentally handicapped. people, for a vote on the last day of legislation.

He ended with a quote from Thomas Jefferson, who said “a brave man is a majority” and what it meant to him compared to his father.

“My father was the bravest man I have ever known. I will forever be proud to be his son. Like all of you, I will miss him.” Mann said.

Mann was a longtime Lee County resident who began his public service career in 1974 in the Florida House of Representatives, where he served eight years before moving to the Florida Senate for four years. He served as Lee County District 5 Commissioner for over 15 years.

Mann died Tuesday, June 21 at his home in Alva. He was 80 years old.

“The man was a legend in my book,” said Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno.


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