Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann died last Tuesday morning.
Mann, 80, was the District 5 representative and a longtime resident of Lee County. Mann’s career in public service began in 1974, when he served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives and four years in the Florida Senate, representing Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties.
He then served twice as Lee County Commissioner. He was first appointed to the Lee County Commission in 1993 by the then Governor. Lawton Chiles replacing Vickie Lopez-Wolfe, who resigned. His second term on the elected council began in 2006. Over the years, he served as chairman of the Lee County Commission, Lee County Port Authority and Tourism Development Board.
Preserving the quality of life in the face of almost overwhelming growth was his priority during his career in public service.
“Commissioner Mann was a tireless defender of his district,” Commission Chairman Cecil Pendergrass said at the county commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday morning.
Pendergrass spoke about Mann’s involvement in a recent Conservation 20/20 acquisition in Lehigh Acres – in the heart of Mann District – which will help alleviate flooding in eastern Lee County and bring amenities such as a network of trails, a paddle craft area, pavilions and restrooms. A motion has been approved for the 624.91 acre site to be named “Frank Mann Preserve.”
Mann’s son, Frank Mann Jr., said a green space in his father’s name is a most fitting commemoration.
“I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that dad leaving us on the same day (the commission) chose to honor him with this most fitting honour,” said Mann Jr. “If there was one overriding theme of his entire career in public service, it was to maintain and enhance the quality of life here in Lee County by protecting and preserving the beauty he has enjoyed since he was born. he was a horse and cattle boy where Cape Coral Town Hall currently sits. »
Mann Jr. said he spoke to his father in the days before his death and wanted to let him know how much the naming of the reservation meant to him.
Mann Jr. said his father reiterated, “Please let them know how much this means to me and how much I appreciate it. And please also let the stewards know that (I) will be watching them.
Mann Jr. added that his father really enjoyed his time with the County Commission and was a co-worker to hundreds of dedicated county employees who make everything possible.
“It was the true honor of his life, and he wanted (everyone) to know it,” said Mann Jr.
Commissioner Brian Hamman said he remembers how hard Mann fought for the preserved property (GS-10) and how appropriate it was that the area now bears his name.
“I will never forget him saying his vision was to see grandfathers and grandchildren fishing together and enjoying the land,” Hamman said. “I will miss him, and it’s been a joy to sit next to him for the past few years.
“He was the real Lorax; the person who took care of the trees and the environment, and it really is an appropriate way to acknowledge and remember him.
A friend and former colleague of Mann’s, Porter Goss, said: “Frank was a great friend (and) a wonderful mentor. What you have done here to help preserve a legacy, which is going to be preserved in so many ways and benefit so many over the years, for the things that he has done and his public service is very close to my heart.
Mann and his wife, Mary Lee, celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary on the first of the month. Mann loved to spoil his three grandchildren. He was an active member of the Covenant Presbyterian Church. As part of his church activities, he was a member of the choir for over 50 years and also played the baritone horn in the church orchestra.
Services are scheduled for 11 a.m., Saturday, July 2, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2439 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.