The past year has seen a number of notable Floridians pass away.
[Photo: St. Petersburg Times]
A two-time college All American for the Oklahoma Sooners, Lee Roy Selmon was the No. 1 pick in the 1976 draft, the first selection of the brand-new Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise. The defensive lineman went on to the NFL Hall of Fame, posting 78½ sacks and earning six consecutive Pro Bowl selections during his nine-year career with the team before retiring after the 1984 season because of a back injury. He remained in Tampa and helped establish the University of South Florida's football program, serving as associate athletic director from 1993-2001 and athletic director from 2001-04. He also served as a bank executive and started his own restaurant chain, Lee Roy Selmon's. In 1996, Tampa's Southern Crosstown Expressway was renamed the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway. Selmon died of complications from a stroke.
Thom Rumberger was a charismatic trial attorney, environmental advocate and political strategist. He helped build one of Florida's leading product liability law firms, Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, and was a tireless champion of the Everglades, serving as a key player in the multibillion-dollar Everglades restoration plan. A one-time candidate for attorney general, Rumberger was also passionate about politics. He chaired Florida Lawyers for President Bush and served as Florida general counsel for President George H.W. Bush in the 1988 and 1992 presidential campaigns, as well as in the Bob Dole campaign. He was a key player in the Republican Party's 1992 redistricting efforts.
He died of complications related to diabetes.
[Photo: Mark Wallheiser]