Joseph “Joe” Bondi died Tuesday night after a struggle with leukemia.
Bondi, 76, was the father of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and a part-time Longboat Key resident.
On Wednesday morning, Pam Bondi posted the following message on her Facebook page:
“My beautiful Daddy went to Heaven yesterday. He was surrounded by all his family. He fought a great fight with Leukemia. Thanks for all of your prayers and support. We are so heartbroken but comforted to know he is with our Lord. Please continue to pray for my family during this most difficult time in our lives.”
Bondi grew up on the Gulf Coast and met his wife, Patsy, who taught kindergarten, in Tampa.
He was a professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Education from 1965 to 2003 and wrote 25 textbooks.
Bondi also served as a Temple Terrace city councilman from 1970 to 1974 and as the city’s mayor from 1974 to 1978.
Bondi listed his accomplishments as mayor in a May 2012 interview with the Longboat Observer, saying he was responsible for the building of City Hall, a library, a family recreation center and a police station.
“I did it all in four years without raising taxes,” he said at the time.
Bondi vacationed on Longboat Key since childhood and also recounted the summer days he spent on the island’s beaches during World War II. He and his best friend, Tommy, would disappear for hours at a time playing with turtles, fishing, swimming and romping around on the shores.
The Bondis purchased their unit at Continental’s Sea Club III in February 1987, according to Manatee County property records.
Bondi told the Longboat Observer that his three children, Pam, Beth and Bradley continue to visit the Key every year and rent the apartment above their parents’ unit.
Joan Webster, a former Longboat Key mayor and retired education administer, said that she became friends with Bondi and attended various meetings with him.
“He’s a gentleman’s gentleman,” she said, referring to him in the present tense. “He’s very bright and he cares about the people he’s serving.”
While the Bondi family has maintained a low profile in the area, “they have a certain love for Longboat Key,” Webster said.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].