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What's in a name? John F. Germany Library

Only the downtown library calls John F. Germany by his middle initial, but the civic booster earned the honor.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 28, 2002


An old colleague once advised John Germany to drop the "F." middle initial from his name for official use. "How many John Germanys do you think there are in town, anyways?" Germany remembers being chastised.

So he dropped it.

But darned if that F. didn't make it back up on the building downtown that bears his name. The Plant City-raised Germany confessed, "I'm an old Southern boy, and growing up you always had a double name."

Shortly after he was born in Daviston, Ala., Germany's family moved to Plant City. Germany enrolled at the University of Florida in 1940 and earned credits for graduation while serving in World War II as an Army tank commander. He left the Army in 1946 and attended Harvard Law School.

He graduated in 1950 and moved to Tampa to practice law. Throughout the '50s he also served as a legislative aide to Gov. LeRoy Collins, and as county attorney. From 1959 to 1966, he was a judge for the Hillsborough County Circuit Court.

About the time he was appointed to the bench, Germany was recruited by the Friends of the Library to spearhead the building of a new main branch for the Tampa-Hillsborough County public library system. In 1968, after years of petitioning and personal appeals to two Tampa mayors, it was opened at 900 N Ashley Drive.

At age 79, Germany is now a grandfather to eight, and practicing law for Holland and Knight. He plans to retire at the end of this year.

By the way, it stands for Fred.

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