LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Some sad news out of Lee County, where county commission chairman Larry Kiker has died.
Kiker had been in Hospice care. The county says he passed away Tuesday morning.
Kiker was a long-time public servant who has been on the county commission since 2012. Before that, he had been the mayor of Fort Myers Beach for five years.
According to the board of commissioners, his biggest accomplishments include improving county water quality, reducing flood insurance rates, and cutting taxes and fees. Kiker also spearheaded the effort to reconstruct the entire length of Estero Boulevard on Fort Myers Beach.
Kiker earned his MBA from Northeastern University in Boston. Prior to public service, he worked for large companies across the country. After leaving corporate America, Kiker moved to Fort Myers Beach where he operated a charter service for 10 years as a licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captain and Dive Master.
Kiker was 67 years old.
Regarding his passing, Lee County Commissioners released the following statements:
“It’s rare in the world of politics to find a friend like Larry Kiker. On top of his passionate service for Lee County, he had an amazing sense of humor and always delivered the right quip with the perfect timing. We will miss our Chairman and will work to honor his legacy.” -- Vice Chairman Brian Hamman
“Larry was passionate about serving his community and devoted his heart and soul to the county commission. But above all he was a great friend and I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve with him over the last seven years. He will truly be missed, but never forgotten.” – Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass
“I never met a public official who seemed to enjoy the political arena more than Larry. And he played skillfully in that arena. He was a strong and effective advocate for whatever battle he was fighting. I will miss him on the commission.” -- Commissioner Frank Mann
"What I will always remember about Larry was his compassion and caring about all of the issues we face on an almost daily basis. His constituents were well served by him and were well represented. I will miss his analytical style of looking for answers." -- Commissioner John Manning
The Town of Fort Myers Beach issued the following statement:
"Commissioner, Mayor, Captain, Friend
Larry Kiker was many things to many people but to the Town of Fort Myers Beach he will always be remembered as a fearless leader, an innovative thinker and someone who left his mark on every project he was involved with. He was a force to be reckoned with.
Commissioner Kiker leaves an enormous hole in the political world of Lee County and in the lives of those of us who called him a friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife, Paula. His footprints are on the main street of our Town and in our hearts forever." --Anita T. Cereceda, Mayor
Information about a memorial service is pending.