Hillsborough County is mourning the loss of one its longstanding leaders today, March 7.
Fred Karl, a former county administrator, county attorney, state legislator and Florida Supreme Court justice, was 88.
His public service career continued long after the war was over.
The Stetson Law graduate served in the Florida House from 1956-64 when he attempted a bid for the governor’s office. After that, he ran for the Florida Senate in 1968 and served until 1971, according to web sources. Karl then sat on the Florida Supreme Court from 1977 until 1978 when he opted to go back into private practice.
Karl eventually made his way to Hillsborough County. He served as county attorney, but is perhaps best known for his time as county administrator.
During his tenure as administrator, Karl was instrumental in the creation of Hillsborough’s healthcare plan for the poor, The Tribune reported. He also was a driving force behind the construction of a hockey arena in downtown for the Lightning and the creation of a spring training facility for the New York Yankees.
One of Karl’s biggest undertakings involved the county’s consolidation of numerous operations into a single building in downtown, which is known today as the Frederick B. Karl County Center at 601 E. Kennedy Blvd.
Karl was also active in a number of other positions and even served as president of Tampa General Hospital for a time.
“Today, we have lost one of the giants in leadership and dedication to Hillsborough County with the passing of Fred Karl,” wrote Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan. “On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to his family and his many, many friends.”
Hagan said Karl “championed fairness, and was a confident, calming force whenever crisis occurred. He brought a breath of vision and direction to every challenge. A genuine gentleman in every interaction, Fred Karl always respected the dignity and position of each person with whom he had a conversation.”
A service for Karl will be held at County Center in the near future. Arrangements are still being made.
What do you remember most about Fred Karl? Share your thoughts and condolences for the family below.