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Holland Mangum was 'Mr. Seminole'

Friends and relatives remember the man who served as judge, mayor, civic leader and organizer.

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA
Published June 14, 2006


SEMINOLE - There was more to Holland G. Mangum than the public legacy he left behind.

To his family, he was a "source of strength."

"I lived with him this last year and got to know him as more than my grandfather. I got to know him as a man," said Dale Triplett, his eldest grandson.

Triplett recited a long list of adjectives that he said best described his "G-dad," some drawing laughter from the audience.

Mangum was honest, punctual and a bit arrogant, Tripplett said. He was also sympathetic, loving and sturdy.

With his closest friends, he could be a bit "uncouth."

More than 50 friends and relatives gathered at the United Seminole Methodist Church on Tuesday morning to remember Mangum and celebrate his life.

And what a life it was.

Lawyer, judge, city founder, council member, mayor ... the list could go on.

To the city of Seminole, he was the soul of the community.

Mayor Dottie Reeder recalled how Mangum pushed for Seminole to become a city and helped draft its charter in 1970.

Mangum was the first city's municipal judge and sentenced many of the young people who came before him to write essays, she said.

He later became a council member and then the city's longest-sitting mayor, serving for 12 years. He retired from political office in 1995.

"He touched many of us," Reeder said. "Talking about the city was one of his favorite topics. He was very proud of his accomplishments."

One of Mangum's most visible accomplishments was the purchase of the property that became the Seminole Recreation Center - or as it was recently renamed, the Holland G. Mangum Complex.

"He had a lot of opposition to buying that property, but it turned out better than he ever imagined," Reeder said. "Every decision he made was for the betterment of the city."

Reeder recalled Mangum often saying, "We may be a small city but everyone knows who we are."

She described Mangum as her political mentor and friend. She brought laughter when she recalled how much he enjoyed a video of him falling out of a golf cart at a Suncoast League of Cities gathering.

At the end of her eulogy, Reeder became emotional and struggling to speak, said, "If he were here, I would say, Holland, this was the hardest speech."

The Rev. John Denmark, who presided over the services, described Mangum as "faithful" to his community, his family and his God.

"He is here spiritually," Denmark said. "We will remember his spirit which will live on in this community for a very long time."

The services closed with a rendition of Mangum's favorite hymn, Amazing Grace, sung by his granddaughter, Anita Charles.

Mangum, 84, died June 7 during cardiac surgery. He is survived by two daughters, Suzanne Horn of St. Petersburg and Dayle Burger of Tarpon Springs; four grandchildren, Dale Triplett of Seminole, Kyle Triplett of Largo, Anita Charles of New Port Richey and Kimberly Hammock of Clearwater; and two great-grandchildren. He is to be buried in the Millwood Cemetery in Reddick.

Achievements:

Helped found and direct the Seminole Volunteer Fire Department and the annual Pow Wow Festival.

Served as chairman of the Seminole Improvement Committee, which founded the city in 1970.

Was named Mr. Seminole in 1969 in recognition of all his contributions to the city.

Served as Seminole's first and only municipal judge from 1972 to 1976, when county courts took over municipal court duties.

Served as Seminole's mayor from 1983 to 1995.