Experts droned on for 23 days about everything from density requirements to traffic and economic impacts associated with the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s proposed $400 million Islandside project.
Midway through the 22nd day, Jim Greer stepped to the podium, aided by a cane, and urged the Longboat Key Town Commission to get on with it. Then 86, he was still an avid golfer who wanted to play on a new Rees Jones-designed golf course. He’d venture out to the golf course and set down his cane to take a swing.
“I don’t have many summers left, so let’s get moving,” Greer said June 28, 2010, drawing laughter and applause from the crowd.
Greer was a passionate supporter of the Key Club’s plan who timed his comments well, according to Kristi Bonsack, who got to know Greer while she consulted for the Key Club.
“He would bring needed relief to the tension in the room,” she said.
James “Jim” Greer, of Longboat Key, died April 19. He was 89.
Born Sept. 10, 1923, in Sioux City, Iowa, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private in 1942 and served in combat as a member of the 66th and 42nd Infantry Division in France and Germany. In his final assignment in Europe, he guarded German prisoners of war. A prisoner drew a caricature of Greer that all the prisoners signed in recognition for the dignity with which he treated them. That caricature became one of his most treasured items. He received a Bronze Star for his service.
In 1947, Greer graduated from the University of Iowa, where he met Miriam Leighton. The couple married and had nine children; they were married for 37 years until her death in 1985. He married Suzanne Sullivan in 1986.
Greer went on to become general agent for Aetna Life & Casualty before retiring in 1983 and moving to Longboat Key from Orchard Park, N.Y.
A Fairway Bay resident, Greer advocated for continued development on the Key.
“He thought revitalization of the Key was just so essential, not just for the club,” Bonsack said. “He wanted this place back to what it used to be.”
That wasn’t the only cause about which Greer showed passion. He was an active member of St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church, who attended daily Mass and was an avid supporter of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School.
“He tried to make sure that youngsters would be able to go there, making sure they had the support they needed,” said Msgr. Gerard Finegan, of St. Mary, who officiated at Greer’s funeral Mass Wednesday, April 24.
Greer was preceded in death by his son, James P. Greer.
He is survived by his wife, Sue; sons John, of Falls Church, Va., Thomas, of Bradenton, Daniel, of Orchard Park, and Joseph, of Annapolis, Md.; daughters Margaret Creamer, of Manlius, N.Y., Mary Greer, of Iowa City, Iowa, Constance Greer, of North Tonawanda, N.Y., and Molly Brady, of Valrico; and 16 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in the name of his son, James P. Greer, to Father Martin’s Ashley, Attn: Sue Tucker, 800 Tydings Lane, Harve de Grace, Md., 21078, or fathermartinsashley.org.
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