From political colleagues to friends to family, no one was short on kind words when it came to memories of Tampa native Sam Gibbons.
The former Florida legislature and member of the United States House of Representatives passed away on October 10th at the age of 92. A memorial service was held in his honor on Saturday.
"He was not ashamed or embarrassed or afraid to speak out," explained Congressman Bill Young.
Gibbons began serving his country during World War II when he joined the Army. He would eventually parachute into Normandy on D-Day. His son Clifford spoke about his father following Saturday's event.
"[He was] so down to Earth in terms of having his feet on the ground at all times," he said. "That's what I'm going to miss the most."
After leaving the Army Gibbons employed the same patriotism and dedication to his country by spending 34 years representing Tampa Bay in Congress.
Folks who knew him best said he always put others' needs ahead of his own.
"He did more for international trade to benefit the U.S. and our economy than anyone in congress," Young said of his fellow lawmaker.
Gibbons is also considered by many as the father of the University of South Florida. The school's president Judy Genshaft was among a handful of dignitaries who attended Gibbons Memorial.
"His vision, his tenacity and his caring for others has made for a lifetime of accomplishments that we'll will cherish and remember," Genshaft said.
Gibbons truly embodied the ‘greatest generation,' even inspiring a book written by journalist Tom Brokaw. His life was long and full of accomplishments, those who knew him believe his legacy will live on thru others working to make their communities better.
"A lot of passion," son Cliff recalled. "His last words to us were guys we have a lot of work to do. Call me in the morning.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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