Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Redgrave: A true gentleman

Former Longboat Key Mayor John Redgrave's impact stretched beyond the dais.

  • By
  • | 6:00 a.m. September 28, 2016
  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
  • Share

In 2008, John Redgrave sat next to me on the Planning and Zoning Board. John had served as a commissioner, vice mayor and mayor of Longboat Key, but for me he was a friend and a lifeline as I dealt with my husband’s diagnosis of lung cancer in November of that year. He was also one of the early members of my church, All Angels by the Sea Episcopal Church. During the year that my husband, Bob, battled for his life and after his death, John provided friendship and a friendly face when I entered Town Hall or was sitting alone in church. In his quiet way, he shared his journey through grief with me after the loss of his lovely wife, Nancy, and gave me hope that the pain would subside.

John was a true gentleman. A gentleman who quietly did great things for our community. 

He served as junior warden at All Angels (a title in the Episcopal Church for the vice chairman of the vestry) twice. The first time, he oversaw construction of the sanctuary at All Angels — a significant and important project that seemed like an impossible dream to many members of the parish. John was on-site regularly, overseeing every detail of construction. In less than one year, the new sanctuary was completed. In his second term as junior warden, he continued to oversee management of the building and grounds, working tirelessly and with little fanfare.

John was a nationally ranked tennis player well into his 80s. He joined Dick Schlorf, John Mrachek and others to realize the dream of a public tennis center on Longboat. He championed the cause as a member of the Town Commission and quietly put his own funds toward the initial project. When the Tennis Center’s new building was constructed in 2009, the Redgrave family personally funded the teaching court. 

Many people have moved to Longboat Key because of our wonderful public tennis center. I wish more of them could have known John.

John’s great joy in his life was his family. He was so proud when his granddaughter was married last spring at the Ringling Museum and thrilled to have his entire family gathered for that special event. Despite being scattered around the U.S., they were here often to visit with John. He was so proud of all of them and always had a story to share about his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

When John became ill, his ability to speak was slowly taken from him, but he never failed to light up when friends and family visited. His mind was as quick as always. We just could not have him share his wit and wisdom as easily.

John was a great friend — a true gentleman. I know he is happily reunited with his lovely wife, Nancy, who died in 2007 after 57 years of marriage. 

We were lucky to have them in our lives!


B.J. Webb Bishop is vice chairwoman of the Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Board and senior warden of All Angels by the Sea Episcopal Church.


Related Articles