Former Mayor Kennedy “Ken” Legler Jr., who served nearly nine years on the Longboat Key Town Commission, died Sunday, Dec. 9. He was 89.
Legler was at the dais when the commission approved many key projects, including construction of a new Town Hall, police station and public works building, the completion of the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center and Joan M. Durante Park, beach renourishment and canal dredging. In 1997 he made the motion, which passed 6-0, to promote Bruce St. Denis to the position of town manager.
“He was instrumental in revitalizing the town,” said former Mayor Ron Johnson, who served with Legler on the commission.
He cited Legler’s role in the approval of new town facilities as one of his accomplishments.
Born Oct. 21, 1923, Legler grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. While stationed in the Philippines, he met and married his wife of 67 years, Erlinda.
He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Denison University, in Granville, Ohio, followed by the University of Cincinnati Law School, where he earned high honors and the Order of the Coif.
Legler practiced law for nearly 40 years and was a partner at Pickerel Schaffer and Ebeling. He served as president of the Dayton Bar Association and was also director of Goodwill Industries for 30 years.
He retired to Longboat Key, where he served from 1990 to 1994, on the Zoning Board of Adjustment and then from 1994 to 1996, on the Planning and Zoning Board. In 1996, he was elected to the commission and served for the next nine years, including two years as mayor from 2000 to 2002.
In October 2004, Legler, who lived in Country Club Shores, resigned from the commission to move to a Bradenton condominium.
Legler was a member of the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club and served on the board of governors of Bird Key Yacht Club.
Legler is survived by his wife, Erlinda; son, Kennedy Legler III, of Bradenton; daughter, Mary Ann Weiler, of Bronxville, N.Y.; and four grandchildren.
A service will take place at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3011 19th Ave., Bradenton, Fla.
Memorial contributions can be made to Goodwill Industries.