Final farewells said to many notable people in 2003


Published: Thursday, January 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 at 11:26 p.m.
As 2003 drew to a close overnight, it's a safe bet many local residents paused to remember loved ones lost over the past year.
The Gainesville area said goodbye to a number of notable residents and others with ties to North Central Florida, including a former sheriff, several University of Florida professors, local business people and even an internationally famous television star.
By no means is this a comprehensive list, but here are just some of the area's biggest movers and shakers who died in 2003.
Hiram Williams Hiram Williams, 85, an influential artist and professor at the University of Florida, died Jan. 5 at his home in Gainesville.
Mr. Williams was a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1963. He was an artist and professor emeritus at the University of Florida, and the author of the widely influential book, "Notes for a Young Painter."
He retired from UF in 1982, and was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 1994.
Lucian J. "Lu" Hindery Lu Hindery, 78, a former sheriff of Alachua County, died Feb. 2.
Mr. Hindery was a graduate of the University of Florida and the FBI National Academy. He started work with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office in 1949 and became chief deputy in 1955.
He was first elected sheriff in 1976. He kept pace with the times by enlarging the Sheriff's Office, improving its equipment and better training the employees, and saw the office grow from a six-deputy operation to an innovative organization with hundreds of employees under his watch.
George Kirkpatrick George Kirkpatrick, 64, the builder-developer and state legislator who served the Gainesville area as a senator for 20 years, died from heart failure on Feb. 5.
He was remembered by colleagues as a master negotiator, a relentless advocate for his causes and an astute politician.
Kirkpatrick was first elected to the Senate in 1980 as a Democrat, and became a Republican in 1998. He left the Florida Legislature in 2000 because of term limits.
He was also a strong advocate of higher education and workforce development, and was serving as the chief executive for a state association representing private colleges and universities when he died. Shortly after his death, the Senate unanimously adopted a resolution, offered by Sen. Rod Smith, D-Alachua, citing Kirkpatrick for his efforts to promote statewide recycling programs, affordable housing, the Preservation 2000 land-buying program and the retention of the Rodman dam.
''His contributions to the state of Florida and the people of this state were numerous, and his legacy as a champion of children, a protector of the environment and an advocate for higher education shall live on for years to come,'' the resolution said.
Faye Safer Silverman Faye Safer Silverman, co-owner of Silverman's Clothing Store, one of Gainesville's longest-running retail stores, died March 2.
Mrs. Silverman was a graduate of Florida State College for Women (now Florida State University), and came to Gainesville in 1933.
She co-owned the department store with her husband, Joe Silverman, her husband of 54 years, who died in 1986.
She closed Silverman's three years later, but continued in the retail business as a buyer for her daughter's clothing store, Ilene's For Fashion, and coordinated many fashion shows for philanthropic organizations.
Louis Pennisi Louis Pennisi, 106, an Italian immigrant who took his mother's meatball recipe and created a hamburger that fed generations of Gainesville residents, died of heart failure April 7. He was 106.
The founder of Louis' Lunch, a downtown fixture for 75 years, Pennisi died 10 years to the day after one of his three sons, Freddie, was shot to death inside the SE 4th Street eatery.
Pennisi was born in Sicily in 1897, and immigrated to the United States when he was about 15.
Wearing an apron and his trademark folding paper hat, Pennisi was a familiar site working quietly at the grill and greeting customers as they came in to the restaurant.
Kimbel William Pofahl Kimbel William Pofahl, 85, a longtime resident of Gainesville and the former president of Gainesville Gas Co., died April 16.
Mr. Pofahl also owned Pofahl Studios, which he began in 1956.
He designed and built the first two studios, managed the books and provided sound for both Pofahl Studios and Dance Alive! Productions until 1980. Known as "Daddy P" around the studio, he was a major partner in the dance business.
Katherine Landry "Katty" Steele Katherine Landry "Katty" Steele, 85, a former university professor and pilot, died May 30.
Dr. Steele was the retired associate director of the Office of Instructional Resources at the University of Florida.
She began teaching full time at UF in 1968 and retired in 1987.
Buddy Ebsen Christian "Buddy" Ebsen Jr., 95, who starred on television in "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Barnaby Jones," died July 6.
Ebsen attended the University of Florida for two semesters before a sour economy in 1927 sent him back home to Orlando.
Ebsen was named a distinguished UF alumnus in 1983, and returned to UF in 1970 to host Gator Growl.
Edgar Leo Johnson Edgar Leo Johnson, 80, a former Alachua County commissioner, died Aug. 25 in Ocala.
Mr. Johnson was born in Hawthorne and practiced law in Gainesville before moving to Ocala in 1972.
He was a graduate of the University of Florida law school and was a 50-year member of the Florida Bar Association.
He was on the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners from 1956 to 1964, and also served as its chairman. He was also a teacher at Howard Bishop Junior High School in Gainesville and Vanguard High School in Ocala.
Mary Hawley McCaulley Mary Hawley McCaulley, 83, an internationally known clinical psychologist and noted University of Florida professor, died Aug. 26 at The Village retirement community in Gainesville.
Dr. McCaulley, who served on the UF faculty from 1964 to 1985, co-founded the Center for Applications of Psychological Type in 1975 with Isabel Briggs Myers, the author of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a widely used psychological type test.
L. Latham Davis Jr. L. Latham Davis Jr., 82, retired owner and operator of University Chevrolet in Gainesville, died Oct. 8.
Mr. Davis was owner of the dealership until his retirement in 1972, and was an avid Gator booster and one of the founders of the Gator Quarterback Club in Gainesville.
He was past president of the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, Gainesville Rotary Club and National Auto Dealers Association, and also a member of the University of Florida Foundation, where he was a member of the President's Council.
John K. Mahon John K. Mahon, 91, a former chairman of the University of Florida history department, died Oct. 11.
Mr. Mahon was born on Ottumwa, Iowa, and moved to Gainesville from Washington, D.C., in 1954 to teach at UF. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from Swarthmore College in 1954 and a doctorate from the University of California at Los Angeles.
At UF, Mr. Mahon wrote and co-wrote several influential books and articles, and was promoted to department chairman in 1965. He retired in 1982. The annual John K. Mahon Teaching Award was endowed in his honor.
Pershing Day Pershing "P.H." Day, 89, a former mayor and city commissioner from Cedar Key, died at his home Oct. 31.
Mr. Day was a 1937 graduate of Cedar Key High School, and was a retired seafood merchant.
He was past president of the Jaycees, a former member of the Cedar Key City Commission, and served as mayor of Cedar Key several times from the 1950s to the 1970s. He also served on the Cedar Key Water Board.
W. Travis Loften W. Travis Loften, 100, one of Alachua County's pioneers in vocational education, died Nov. 12 at his daughter's home in Gainesville.
Mr. Loften graduated from the University of Florida in 1931 with a degree in agriculture education.
He joined the UF agriculture faculty in 1947 and retired as professor emeritus in 1975, continuing to help students in the area. His efforts were recognized in 1988 when the Gainesville Agribusiness Center was renamed W. Travis Loften High School, which serves as a vocational education center and high school.
Norm Sloan Norm Sloan, 77, the University of Florida's first full-time basketball coach who sandwiched an NCAA title at North Carolina State between his two stints with the Gators, died Dec. 9 at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., where he had retired.
Sloan first coached at Florida from 1960-66, then came back to coach in Gainesville from 1980-89 after leading North Carolina State to a national title in 1974. His 253 wins at Florida rank first all-time.
He guided the Gators to their first SEC Championship and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1987.
Sloan was hired as Florida's first full-time basketball coach in 1960. Before then, Florida picked its basketball coaches from assistants from the football staffs or volunteers from the physical education faculty.

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