150 Years in Polk — 1861-2011
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Profiles

Polk's Pride: Our Heroes, Pioneers, Role Models

Each of us contributes something special to society, but some of us have made a huge impact in our fi elds. They are athletes, politicians, businesspeople, actors, singers and educators who broke barriers and records. Following are profi les of some people who made a difference in Polk's rich history.

Arts& entertainment

NAT ADDERLEY

Nat Adderley (1931-2000) was a jazz musician best known for his work with his brother, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. Nat, a cornet and trumpet player, and Cannonball, a saxophonist, were considered pioneers in the soul jazz genre that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. Adderley's best-known compositions were "The Work Song" and "Jive Samba," both recorded with his brother. A Florida native, Adderley moved to Lakeland in the mid- 1970s and spent the rest of his life here. In 1988, he helped establish the Child of the Sun Jazz Festival at Florida Southern College, which was held annually until it folded in 2007. Adderley and his quintet performed at the festival until 1998, when ill health forced him to stop.

[ CARY MCMULLEN/The Ledger ]

EDWARD BOK

Edward William Bok was a Dutch immigrant who came to the United States at age 6 in 1869 and became a noted author, magazine editor and philanthropist. He was editor of The Ladies' Home Journal for 30 years. His autobiography won the Gold Medal of the Academy of Political and Social Science and the Joseph Pulitzer Prize. In 1927, Bok and his wife, Mary Louise, began construction of Bok Tower Gardens, near their winter home in Mountain Lake Estates. It was dedicated on Feb. 1, 1929 by President Calvin Coolidge. The tower and gardens are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

[ BILL RUFTY/The Ledger ]

BOBBY BRADDOCK

Bobby Braddock, 70, spent his youth in Auburndale and began playing in rock bands as a teenager. He moved to Nashville at age 24 and soon achieved great success as a country-music songwriter. Braddock cowrote Tammy Wynette's 1968 hit "D-I-V-OR- C-E" and George Jones' 1980 hit "He Stopped Loving Her Today," often lauded as the greatest country song ever recorded. In recent years, Braddock has written chart-topping songs for Tracy Lawrence and Toby Keith. In 2007, Braddock published a memoir, "Down in Orburndale: A Songwriter's Youth in Old Florida."

[ GARY WHITE/The Ledger ]

RHEA DURHAM

Rhea Durham, 32, is a former fashion model now best known as the wife of actor Mark Wahlberg. Durham, a 5-foot-9 brunette, was born in Lakeland and first gained attention af ter a modeling show at the Lakeland Square mall. She briefly attended Lakeland High School. Durham has four children with Wahlberg, whom she married in 2009.

[ GARY WHITE/The Ledger ]

ZORA NEALE HURSTON

Zora Neale Hurston, an Alabama native who grew up near Orlando in Eatonville, was a writer and social luminary associated with the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. Her books, including "Their Eyes Were Watchi ng God," published in 1937, became treasured chronicles of black oral history. Hurston's 1944 musical, "Polk County," is considered a celebration of black culture and dialect. It's based on the colorful characters she met while staying in a sawmill community in Loughman in 1927. Despite her fame, fortune eluded Hurston, who died penniless on Jan. 28, 1960, in Fort Pierce, following a stroke at the age of 69.

[ ERIC PERA/The Ledger ]

GEORGE JONES/TAMMY WYNETTE

On their way to the Country Music Hall of Fame, singers George Jones (born in 1931) and Tammy Wynette (1942-1998) spent several years living in Lakeland, and they were eventful. Jones, notorious for his drinking binges, married Wynette in 1969. The following year, they bought a 16-room two-story house on County Road 540A in South Lakeland. The house sat on 40 acres of land, which was occasionally the site of performances by famous country music performers, such as Charley Pride and Merle Haggard. Wynette was near The peak of her career and had several No. 1 hits during the time she lived here. The two also recorded some hit duets, including "Golden Ring." According to a near-legendary story, Wynette had taken Jones ' ca r keys to keep him from driving off to buy booze, so one night he started up a riding lawn mower and drove it to the nearest bar. The two divorced in 1975, moved away and sold the house, but Jones memorialized it in a couple of songs, "The Grand Tour" and "Two Story House."

[ CARY MCMULLEN/The Ledger ]

Frances Langford, singer and performer, was born April 4, 1913 . She attended Lakeland High School and studied music at Florida Southern College, and was noticed by singer and band leader Rudy Vallee in the early 1930s. She had a major breakthrough when she sang "I'm in the Mood for Love" early in a career spanning radio and movies. She traveled with Bob Hope's USO tours during World War II and did a concert for U.S. Forces in Vietnam. She warried to actor Jon Hall, Ralph Evinrude of Evinrude boat motor company and Harold Stuart, former assistant secretary of the Air Force under President Harry Truman. She died in 2005 in Jensen Beach.

[ ROBIN WILLIAMS ADAMS /The Ledger ]

NEVA JANE LANGLEY Neva Jane Langley, Miss America 1953, was born Jan. 25, 1933 in Lakeland. She was an accomplished piano player and water skier. Langley graduated in 1950 from Lakeland High School, s p ent one year at Florida Southern College, and transferred to Wesleyan Conservatory (now Wesleyan College), in Macon, Ga. She was chosen Miss Macon and Miss Georgia, which brought her to the Miss America competition. She married Bill Fickling and became the mother of four children. Settling in Macon, Langley founded Georgia Women of Achievement, initiated the Macon Arts Alliance and helped to establish Georgia Citizens for the Arts. She earned an honorary doctorate of fi ne arts in 1984 from Wesleyan and resumed piano performances 1989.

[ ROBIN WILLIAMS ADAMS/The Ledger ] BILL MARTIN

Bill Martin, 47, has worked as a writer and producer on several network TV shows. Martin, a Lakeland nat ive, got his start as a writer for the Fox comedy series "In Living Color" in the early 1990s. He served as an executive producer on "3rd Rock From the Sun," a comedy about a colony of space aliens living in disguise as humans. Martin's other credits include "Grounded for Life," "Cavemen" and "Hank," a 2009 comedy starring Kelsey Grammar.

[ GARY WHITE/The Ledger ] KEN MORRISON

Kenneth Douglas Morrison came to Polk County in 1956 from New York to become director of Bok Tower, where he remained until retiring in 1983. Morrison, who is considered the dean of the Polk County environmental movement, lives on Crooked Lake in Babson Park. He was born April 1, 1918 in Minneapolis, Minn. Before coming to Florida, he was editor of Audubon magazine. He is past president of Audubon of Florida and is one of the founders of Ridge Audubon Society and Defenders of Crooked Lake and was responsible for the lake's designation as an Outstanding Florida Water. Morrison wrote several books and was active in The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife.

[ TOM PALMER/The Ledger ]

KAREN OLIVO

Karen Olivo, 34, was born in New York and moved with her family to Polk County at age 7. She acted in productions at Theatre Winter Haven before entering Lakeland's Harrison School of the Arts.

Olivo attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, leaving in her junior year for a role in the original Broadway production of "Rent." Olivo's acclaimed performance as Vanessa in the musical "In the Heights" led to her casting as Anita in a revival of "West Side Story," for which she won a Tony Award in 2009.

[ GARY WHITE/The Ledger ]

GRAM PARSONS

Winter Haven native Gram Parsons was often called the fi rst country-rock Star. He was born Nov. 5, 1946 and was a singer, songwriter and guitarist with the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Byrds. He died of a drug and alcohol overdose in the California desert Sept. 19, 1973. Parsons was inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 1991 as a member of the Byrds.

[ RICK ROUSOS/The Ledger ]

DICK POPE

Dick Pope wa s bor n on April, 29, 1900, and was best known for founding Cypress Gardens with his wife Julie in Winter Haven in 1936. He was also known as the greatest promoter of water skiing. In 1950, Pope sponsored the second World Water Ski Championships. His son, Dick Pope Jr., was a champion skier and one of the fi rst to ski on his bare feet. Dick Pope Sr. Died Jan. 28, 1988 and his son died in 2007.

[ RICK ROUSOS/The Ledger ]

Business

JOHN VINCENT ATANASOFF

John Vincent Atanasoff, son of a Bulgarian immigrant, grew up in Brewster and graduated from Mulberry High in 1921. An internationally known expert in theoretical physics, he invented the modern day electronic digital computer in 1939 with Clifford Berry. Others attempted to copy and present the computer as their own but in 1973 a U.S. District Court declared the Atanasoff Berry Computer. Atanasoff, who learned to use a Slide rule at age 9, died in June 15, 1995 in Frederick, Md., at the age of 91.

[ BILL RUFTY/The Ledger ]

C. D. ATKINS

C. D. Atkins, an engineer, teamed with fellow researcher Edwin Moore and Louis MacDowell to revolutionize the Florida citrus industry by developing a method for producing a full-fl avored frozen concentrated orange juice in the 1940s. Before then, most Florida citrus was sold as fresh fruit or in canned sections. Today juice processors buy 95 percent of the state's oranges and more than 60 percent of its grapefruit. The juice revolution also led to the Florida Citrus industry's dramatic expansion from 52.1 million boxes of oranges harvested in the 1946-47 season to a peak of 244 million boxes produced in 1997-98. Atkins, a Winter Haven native who died at 86 in 2000, worked at the U. S. Department of Agriculture lab in his native Winter Haven. MacDowell, a chemist who died at 74 in 1986, headed the team as director of research at the Florida Department of Citrus, which also employed Moore, who died at 93 in 2009.

[ KEVIN BOUFFARD/The Ledger ]

WOGAN S. BADCOCK SR.

W. S. Badcock Sr. Purchased his father's furniture store in Mulberry in 1920, laying the foundation for the Badcock Home Furniture chain. Within a few years, Wogan Badcock developed the concept to allow independent dealers to own and operate Badcock stores, with the corporate office supplying inventory and fi nancing. Today the Mulberry- based company has more than 300 stores in eight states. Wogan Badcock died in 1987.

[ KYLE KENNEDY/The Ledger ]

BEN HILL GRIFFIN JR.

Say "citrus baron" to a Florida citrus grower, and he won't get past fi ve people before naming Ben Hill Griffi n Jr., who died at age 79 in 1990. Griffi n built a citrus empire from a 10-acre orange grove his father gave him in 1933 as a wedding gift. His holdings at one time included more than 10,000 acres of citrus groves across Florida, another 85,000 acres of ranch and timber land, a fresh Fruit packinghouse and juice and fertilizer plants based in Frostproof. He also served in the Legislature for 12 years before an unsuccessful run for governor in 1974. He was a benefactor to his alma mater, the University of Florida, which named its football stadium in his honor. His only son, Ben Hill Griffi n III, now runs the business.

[ KEVIN BOUFFARD/The Ledger ]

M. F. HETHERINGTON

M. F. Hetherington, editor and publisher of Polk County's fi rst daily newspaper, was born Dec. 27, 1867, in Elkton, Ky. He fi rst moved to the area in 1904 and purchased the Lakeland News, a precursor to The Ledger. He wrote "The History of Polk County," long considered a standard reference book on local history. He died Jan. 1, 1937 and is buried in Lakeland's Roselawn mausoleum.

[ MATTHEW PLEASANT/The Ledger ]

FRED INMAN

Dr. Fred Inman was a doctor and citrus pioneer. He was born in Ohio in 1840 and came to Polk County in 1882. He owned hundreds of acres of land in the area and grew citrus and other fruit. He built a 10-room home named Florence Villa to honor his wife. He died in 1910 and his wife, Florence Jewett Inman, willed the Inman Park land to the city in 1916. The park was recently refurbished by the city.

[ RICK ROUSOS/The Ledger ]

J. FRANCIS LEBARON

Capt. J. Francis LeBaron, an engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is credited with the discovery of phosphate pebbles in the Peace River south of Fort Meade in 1881 while surveying for a possible route for a canal across the state. LeBaron, who is not known to have lived in Polk, worked in other parts Of Florida. He platted a subdivision in 1880 that was to become Titusville. He was also involved in the Nicaragua Canal Company, an unsuccessful effort in the 1880s to build a canal across Central America through Nicaragua that predated the Panama Canal project. He was present at a groundbreaking ceremony in 1889, according to an account in The New York Times.

[ TOM PALMER/The Ledger ]

GEORGE W. JENKINS

George W. Jenkins started the Publix Super Markets Inc. empire in 1930 when he opened his first store in Winter Haven with $1,300. Ten years later, he introduced Florida's first supermarket - a modern store with electric-eye doors, air conditioning and frozen food cases. Lakeland-based Publix now includes more than 1,000 supermarkets in fi ve states, with total sales of $24.3 billion in 2009. Jenkins, a native of Warm Springs, Ga., and son of a general store owner, died in 1996 at age 88.

[ KYLE KENNEDY/The Ledger ]

P. SCOTT LINDER

P. Scott Linder was a B-25 bomber pilot during World War II and was the first Army aviator in the Florida National Guard. He started his business, Linder Industrial Machinery, in 1953 to serve the area's phosphate industry. He was chairman of the board at Scotty's home improvement centers until his death in 1990. In 1991, the Lakeland airport was renamed for Linder.

[ JOHN CHAMBLISS/The Ledger ]

BERNIE LITTLE

Bernie Little Sr. Was the owner of a celebrated powerboat racing team and a successful Anheuser-Busch franchise holder. Born in McComb, Ohio, Lakeland in 1972 and purchased a distributorship from Anheuser- Busch, his racing sponsor. Little is a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame and Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He died at age 77 in 2003.

[ KYLE KENNEDY/The Ledger ]

ABRAHAM MUNN

Abraham Godwin Munn, a founder of Lakeland, was born in Orange, N.J., in 1819. He spent much of his life in Louisville, Ky., where he became a successful manufacturer. He was a winter resident of Florida and in the early 1880s Bought land in the state, including about 80 acres in what would become Lakeland. Some suggested calling the town Munnville, but Lakeland was selected because of the numerous lakes. Munn died in 1909.

[ JASON GEARY/The Ledger ]

MARVIN PIPKIN

Marvin Pipkin made the world see things in a different light. For the fi rst few decades of its existence, standard incandescent light bulbs came in clear glass, producing a harsh light. Mulberry native Pipkin, who joined General Electric in 1919, in six years developed a process for etching inside of the bulb With acid, reducing the glare while not weakening the glass, the failure behind previous efforts. In 1947, he improved the method with a silica coating, the fi rst "soft-white" light bulb. Pipkin worked at GE for 36 years before retiring in Lakeland, where he died of cancer at 87. Federal guidelines call for replacing incandescent bulbs with more energyeffi cient kinds beginning in 2012.

[ KEVIN BOUFFARD/The Ledger ]

JAMES W. SIKES

James W. "Jimmy" Sikes was the chairman and chief executive of Sikes Corp., a Lakeland-based ceramic tile manufacturing and marketing company. The West Palm Beach native and University of Florida graduate acquired a struggling Lakeland tile company in 1954, and created Florida Tile Industries. Sikes Elementary School and Sikes Boulevard in Lakeland are named after the well-known philanthropist. He died of a heart attack in 1982 at age 52.

[ KYLE KENNEDY/The Ledger ]

CHESTERFIELD SMITH Chesterfi eld Smith helped build Holland & Knight into the state's largest law fi rm. Born in Arcadia, Smith moved to Bartow in 1950 and became the fourth attorney to join the Holland, Bevis and McRae law firm. He served as president of the American Bar Association during the Watergate scandal and was one of the fi rst to say that President Richard Nixon was "not above the law." Smith died in 2003.

[ JOHN CHAMBLISS/The Ledger ]

JOHN SNIVELY

John A. Snively Sr., who died in 1958 at age 69, helped establish Polk County as Florida's top citrus-producing county, a rank it still holds. A native of Shellburg, Pa., he moved to Winter Haven in 1911 as a fertilizer salesman And subsequently purchased his fi rst orange grove. His grove holdings grew during the Florida land boom of the 1920s, and he became one of the state's largest growers. Despite the 1930s bust, Snively had amassed enough wealth to build the Polk Packing Company, which became one of the largest producers of fresh and canned citrus fruit and juice by the 1940s, when it was a major wartime supplier to the U.S. military. During the postwar economic downturn, Snively helped create Lakeland-based Florida Citrus Mutual, still the state's largest growers' trade group, in 1948 to serve the growers' economic and political interests.

[ KEVIN BOUFFARD/The Ledger ]

Education

SHELLEY BOONE

Shelley S. Boone was elected Polk's superintendent of schools in 1960. He was re-elected to a second term four years later. In 1968, he left Polk to work for the Department of Education as Florida's deputy commissioner of education for special programs. Boone sta r ted his career in education in 1948 as a teacher in Auburndale. In 1985, the School Board unanimously approved to rename Haines City Junior High in Boone's honor.

[ MERISSA GREEN/The Ledger ]

JACOB SUMMERLIN

Born in Alachua County in February 1820, Summerlin's believed to be the fi rst white child born in Florida after it ceded from Spain. His father gave him a few calves when he was 16, and he parlayed those into vast herds that made him one of Florida's wealthiest men before he was 40. He was a blockage runner during the Civil War, smuggling medicine and meat to Confederate troops. In 1867, he donated 120 acres to establish Bartow at the seat of government for Polk County. He allotted 40 acres for the county seat, 40 acres for a school and 20 acres for each of the two primary churches, which were Methodist and Baptist. He also contributed $1,100 to build the city's fi rst two-story building, which housed the Masonic Lodge and school, which was named Summerlin Institute. He died Nov. 4, 1893 and is buried in Bartow's historic Oak Hill Cemetery.

[ SUZIE SCHOTTELKOTTE/The Ledger ]

Law / Politics

THOMAS W. BRYANT

As a brash teenager, Thomas W. Bryant organized the fi rst Lakeland High School football team playing their fi rst and only game of 1907 against Summerlin Institute in Bar tow, the only other Polk County school with a team. Later an attorney, he served for three terms in the Florida House as a Democrat, for more than 14 years on the University of Florida Board of Regents and was the power behind the scenes in Lakeland for decades. It was said if you had a project you wanted completed or had an idea, you fi rst went to see "Mr. Bryant." He secured WPA projects for the now gone Addair Swimming Pool and a football stadium that bears his name. He died in 1992 at 102.

[ BILL RUFTY/The Ledger ]

CHARLES E. CANADY

Charles Canady, a former Congressman and a justice of the Florida Supreme Court, was born in Lakeland in 1954. He served three terms in the Florida House of Representatives from November 1984 to November 1990. He served four terms in the United States House of Representatives from January 1993 to January 2001. He was one of the Republican House fl oor managers in the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. After leaving Congress, Canady served as general counsel to Gov. Jeb Bush. In late 2002, Canady was appointed to the 2nd District Court of Appeal. He was appointed on Aug. 28, 2008, to the Florida Supreme Court.

[ JASON GEARY/The Ledger ]

BOB CRAWFORD

Robert B. "Bob" Crawford, born in Bartow and spent his adult career in Winter Haven. He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1976 to 1982 and in the Senate 1982 to 2000. He was president of the Florida Senate 1988- 1990 and is credited with fi nally getting the long-sought Polk Parkway passed and built. In 1990 Crawford was elected commissioner of agriculture where he served until 2001 becoming executive director of the Citrus Commission. He left in 2004 citing health problems.

[ BILL RUFTY/The Ledger ]

LAWTON CHILES Lawton Mainor Chiles of Lakeland He grew up with politics, passing out fl yers for his uncle's candidates on his bicycle. He was an artillery offi cer in the Korean War and a lawyer. He then defeated an incumbent for the Florida House in 1958, was elected to the state Senate and then was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1970 after an underdog race in which he walked the length of Florida winning the nickname "Walkin' Lawton." He retired from the Senate after three terms and was elected governor in 1990. He died Dec. 12 ,1998, at the age of 68, just 23 days before his second term was to expire.

HERBERT DRANE

Herbert Jackson Drane, Democrat, moved to Polk County at the age of 20 in 1883 from Kentucky. One of the founders of Lakeland with Abraham Munn, he was in real estate, insurance and railroad construction. He was mayor of Lakeland 1888-1892, a Polk County Commissioner 1896-1899, member of the Florida House of Representatives 1903-1905; served in the Florida Senate 1913-1917, where he was president from 1913 to 1915. He was elected to Congress in 1916 and served until 1932 when he was defeated in the Democratic Primary for an eighth term. Drane was a member of the Federal Power Commission from 1933 until 1937. Drane Field, the World War II bomber training base where Lakeland Linder Regional Airport now stands was named for him. He died in Lakeland in 1947 and is buried in Roselawn Cemetery.

[ BILL RUFTY/The Ledger ]

STEPHEN H. GRIMES

Stephen H. Grimes, a retired justice of Supreme Court, was born in Peoria, Il l., in 1927. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Grimes settled i n Bar tow, and he joined the law firm of Holland & Knight. He was appointed to the 2nd District Court of Appeal in 1973. He was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court in January 1987. He retired from the state's highest court on Nov. 17, 1997.

[ JASON GEARY/The Ledger ]

KATHERINE HARRIS

Katherine Harris, a Bartow High School graduate, was the secretary of state who certifi ed President Bush's 537- vote victory in 2000. A former U.S. congresswoman, Harris, 53, lost an election for senator in 2006. She comes from One of Florida's wealthiest families. Her father, George W. Harris, Jr., owned Citrus and Chemical Bank in Lakeland, Florida. Her grandfather was Ben Hill Griffi n Jr., a businessman in the citrus and cattle industries who was one of the richest men in America at one time.

[ SUZIE SCHOTTELKOTTE/The Ledger ]

SPESSARD HOLLAND

Spessard Lindsey Holland of Bartow, Democrat. A decorated World War I veteran and lawyer, Holland was governor of Florida from 1941 until 1945 and served as a U.S. senator from Florida from 1946 until 1971. Returning from the war, he served as Polk County prosecutor and two terms as county judge before private practice in he law firm of Holland & Bevis. The fi rm was the basis for the current international law fi rm of Holland and Knight. Holland left Washington in January 1971 and died at his Bartow home in 1971 at the age of 79.

[ BILL RUFTY/The Ledger ]

C. FRED JONES

C. Fred Jones of Auburndale was dean of the Florida House in the years before term limits. Starting his political career as mayor of Auburndale, Jones served in the Florida House from 1970 to 1992. He served for years as chairman of the House Transportation Committee, then chaired the House Community Affairs Committee. He was instrumental in getting State Road 60 four-laned through Polk County over a period of years and helped lay the groundwork for the Polk County Parkway.

[ JEREMY MAREADY/The Ledger ]

J. HARDIN PETERSON SR.

J. Hardin Peterson Sr., Democrat, was born in Batesburg,, S.C.. He moved to Lakeland in 1903 at the age of 9. He graduated from the law department of the University of Florida at Gainesville in 1914; admitted to the Florida bar in 1914 . He was city attorney of Lakeland, Frostproof, Lake Wales and of Eagle Lake at various times from 1916-1933. A Navy veteran from World War I, he was elected to Congress in 1932. He left Congress in 1951 . He died March 28, 1978; interment in Roselawn Cemetery.

[ BILL RUFTY/The Ledger ]

N. CURTIS PETERSON

N. Curtis Peterson, a Democrat, rose to prominence during his 18-year tenure in the Florida Senate as an advocate of public education, helping to increase high school math and science requirements. After World War II, the Lakeland native left the Coast Guard to attend Florida Southern College, then began working for his family's nursery.

He served in the Senate from 1972 to 1990, and was its president from 1982 to 1984. A number of Lakeland buildings and parks bear his name. The former scoutmaster, Little League umpire, Sunday school teacher and family man died during surgery on July 19, 1996, at the age of 73.

[ ERIC PERA/The Ledger ]

ADAM PUTNAM Adam Hughes Putnam, Republican. The Bartow native was fi rst elected to the Florida House of Representatives at age 22 and then became the youngest member of Congress at the time at age 26. He rose rapidly in the ranks of Republican House members becoming the third ranking member with the GOP in power in the U.S. House. Having graduated with a degree in agriculture economics from the University of Florida in December of 1995, he was a champion of Florida agriculture. He co-authored a food safety bill and fought for restitution to be paid to tomato farmers incorrectly blamed for a disease outbreak. In 2010, at age 36, he was elected Florida commissioner of agriculture by a large margin.

[ BILL RUFTY/The Ledger ]

PARK TRAMMELL

Park Trammell, Democrat, came to Florida as an infant and grew up in Lakeland. Graduated from law school from Cumberland University in 1899. He practiced law in Lakeland, was mayor, 1899-1903.A citrus grower and ownereditor of a newspaper, he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1902, and to the state Senate in 1904, serving as president of the Senate in 1905. He became the state's attorney general and in 1912 was elected governor. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1916, he served until May 8, 1936, dying in offi ce.

[ BILL RUFTY/The Ledger ]

ROGER BABSON Roger W. Babson, a wealthy economist and statistician, invested his money into the development of Babson Park. He and wife, Grace, visited the area in 1923 from Massachusetts. They loved the area so much they purchased a summer home in Mountain Lake. Babson purchased 400 acres of land and opened a packinghouse along with a bank. His efforts kept the city thriving through the Depression. Babson's wife founded Webber College in 1927 as a school for women. Its namesake is the Babsons' granddaughter. In 1956, Grace Babson sold the college. Roger Babson died in 1967 in his hometown of Gloucester.

[ MERISSA GREEN/The Ledger ]

STONEWALL JACKSON Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson was born in Virginia in January 1824. He graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1846. He fought in the Mexican War before he was briefl y assigned to the U.S. Cavalry post near Fort Meade. He left in the spring of 1851 to assume a teaching position at the Virginia Military Institute. Jackson would become a pivotal general in the Civil War, earning his nickname at the First battle of Bull Run in July 1861, when another commander said Jackson was standing there "like a stone wall." Jackson's brigade stopped the Union forces in that battle. He died in May 1863 after he was wounded and lost his arm at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia.

[ SUZIE SCHOTTELKOTTE/The Ledger ]

GEORGE MEADE

George Gordon Meade was born in 1815. He grew up around the Washington, D. C., area and came to Florida after graduating from West Point Military Academy in 1835. As a young lieutenant, he was garrisoned at the U.S. Cavalry fort during the Seminole Indian Wars. He was a soldier, but also a topographical engineer, and surveyed much of the area around the fort while stationed there. The fort was named in his honor of that contribution, despite his brief assignment. Meade became ill with fever during his year in Florida and he was reassigned to administrative duties in Massachusetts. At the outbreak of the Civil War, General Meade commanded Union troops that defeated Gen. Robert E. Lee's forces at the Battle of Gettysburg. He died in November 1872 in Philadelphia.

[ SUZIE SCHOTTELKOTTE/The Ledger ]

ZACHARY TAYLOR

Zachary Taylor served a short term as president from 1849 to 1850, but gained his popularity through his military career, which has ties to Polk County. Taylor made his name In Polk as a colonel in 1837 during the Second Seminole War. While he never spent much time here, or fought any battles, the troops under his command at Fort Fraser, near what is now Bartow, laid the foundations for future civilian settlements in the area through the building of roads, bridges and causeways.

[ JEREMY MAREADY/The Ledger ]

JAMES VAN FLEET

James Alward Van Fleet was born in Coytesville, N.J., in 1892 and grew up in Bartow. The highly decorated Army genera l is credited with successfully commanding United Nations forces in Korea and reorganizing the Greek army during a confl ict with communist guerillas. He died in 1992 at age 100 at his Polk City ranch.

[ MATTHEW PLEASANT/The Ledger ]

Sports

ANDY BEAN

Andy Bean moved to Lakeland with his family from Georgia in 1969, starring on the Lakeland High School golf team before becoming a two-time All- American on the University of Florida golf team. Bean, 57, has been a professional golfer since 1975, when he graduated from college and joined the PGA Tour. The 6-foot-4 Bean, who has lived in Lakeland for 41 years, won 11 tournaments and $3,531,780 on the PGA Tour. Bean, born in LaFayette, Ga., has also earned three titles on the Champions Tour, for players 50 and older, with $6,436,160 in winnings to date on the senior circuit.

[ DEL MILLIGAN/The Ledger ]

OTIS BIRDSONG

Otis Lee Birdsong was born Dec. 9, 1955 in Winter Haven. He attended Winter Haven High, where he excelled in basketball. While attending the University of Houston, Birdsong became the fi rst sophomore in school history to score more than 1,000 career points. During the 1976-77 season, Birdsong was named Southwest Conference Player of the Year and All-American. Later, he was named SWC Player of the Decade. Birdsong was the second player chosen in the 1977 NBA Draft (Kansas City Kings). He scored more than 14,000 points in 12 NBA seasons (Kings, Boston Celtics And New Jersey Nets) and he was named to four NBA All-Star Games. He is a member of the University of Houston Hall of Fame and the Polk County Hall of Fame.

[ RICK BROWN/The Ledger ]

PAT BORDERS

Pat Borders attended Lake Wales High School before he was selected in the sixth round of the 1982 Major League Baseball draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. He went on to win two World Series titles (1992, 93) and became the fi rst player f rom Pol k County to win a World Series MVP award in 1992. Borders also won an Olympic gold medal with the United States baseball team in 2000. He spent his 17 major league seasons with 10 teams. He is a Polk County Sports Hall of Fame member.

[ TOM ZEBOLD/The Ledger ]

GEORGE BLAIR

George Alfred "Banana" Blair, barefoot water skier, was born in Toledo, Ohio. Blair was a successful businessman in New Jersey. He owned three patents and was co- founder of the Shrewsbury State Bank in New Jersey, which merged with Valley National Bank in 2005. Blair broke his back and was told by his doctor to rehabilitate in warm waters. In Fort Lauderdale, at age 40 he learned to ski. At age 46, he learned to barefoot ski, gaining worldwide attention for his barefoot water skiing endeavors. Blair moved to Winter Haven in 1986. He owned a yellow home on the shores of Lake Florence. He performed regularly at Cypress Gardens. Blair skied on all seven continents and in 45 countries. He owned two water ski schools in New Jersey and New York. Blair won 15 medals in 18 national championships. He performed in seven world water ski championships. He skied on a hydrafoil at 48, and fl ew Solo at 53. At 68, he rode a camel; at 75 he snowboarded. He drove a race car at 81. At 83, he skydived and surfed. At 85, he rode a bull. Blair has broken his back fi ve times. He was inducted into the Water Ski Hall of Fame in 1991. His last known skiing was done on Winter Haven's Lake Florence in 2008. He lives in New York.

[ LISA COFFEY/the Ledger ]

BILL CASTLE

Bill Castle came to Lakeland as an assistant coach for the Dreadnaughts in 1971 and assumed the head coaching job at Lakeland High School in 1976. He has won seven state championships and two national championships in 35 seasons at Lakeland. He has won fi ve Ledger coach of the year awards since 1994 and led Lakeland to 12 undefeated regular seasons. He was named to the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame and the FHSAA Hall of Fame in 2007 and also was named FHSAA Coach of the century. He is originally from Hendersonville, Tenn. He earned a bachelor's degree in physical education and health from Tennessee Tech, where he also earned his master's degree in health and physical education.

[ TOM ZEBOLD/The Ledger ]

FRANKIE DEES

Charles Franklin "Frankie Dees Jr.

Was a water skier. The son of water ski school owner/instructor Chuck Dees, Frankie grew up in Lakeland and moved to Mulberry in 1991. One of the most prolifi c three-event skiers of all time. Dees learned to ski at age 4 and entered his fi rst competition at age 6 on Lake Hollingsworth in 1957. Dees broke the boys jump record at age 11 and 12. He won Jr. Boys national and overall titles many times. Youngest ever Masters winner at age 17. Slalom Masters champion (1969). He was featured on the cover of Boys' Life and Water Ski Magazine. Won national titles in every division from age 14 to 37 for more than 50 titles. Winner of national jump title more than 40 times. Worked at Cypress Gardens for 15 years and for Dees Ski School for 40 years. Winner of numerous Senior world and Pan American titles; current Men's 5 overall and jump champion 2008, 2009; researcher and developer for MB Boats, Ski Centurion and Malibu; American Water Ski Association Award of Distinction recipient; skiing limited in 2010 due to back surgery at age 59.

[ LISA COFFEY/The Ledger ]

ROWDY GAINES

Ambrose "Rowdy" Gaines IV, swimmer, was born and grew up in Winter Haven. Gaines was a swimmer at Winter Haven High School who earned a scholarship to Auburn University. He was a member of the 1980 U.S. Men's Olympic swimming team. Winner of three gold medals in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Won gold medals in the 100 meter freestyle and on the 4 x 100 meter freestyle and 4 x 100-meter medley teams. Qualified for the Olympic trials in 1996. Gaines broke the world and American records in the 50m free (22.96, set 4/10/80) and 100m free (49.36, set 4/3/81). Gaines set eight world records (1-100m freestyle,. 2-200m freestyle, 2-4x100m freestyle relay, 3-4x100m medley relay). He won two gold medals in 1978 World Championships and two in the 1982 World Championships. He won three golds in the 1979 Pan American Games and four in the 1983 Pan American Games. Gaines won 17 U.S. National Championships (9 outdoor, 8 indoor) and 8 NCAA Championships. Chosen World Swimmer of the Year; Southeastern Conference Athlete of the Year (1981). McDonald's Spirit Award (1982). He holds seven U.S. Masters Swimming records. Member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, International Swimming Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Florida Sports Hall of Fame. Gaines is a commentator for ESPN and CBS and NBC and works for the LIMU Company in Orlando. He is also a USA Swimming ambassador and executive director of Rowdy's Kidz.

[ LISA COFFEY/The Ledger ]

LEDAWN GIBSON

LeDawn Gibson, is a graduate of Winter Haven High School, where she spent 12 seasons as the girls basketball coach and won nine district titles, eight regional titles, two state championships while posting a 331-48 record. While at Winter Haven, she coached Tiffany Hayes, who earned Miss Basketball honors before going to the University of Connecticut, where she is in her junior season with the women's basketball team. Gibson was named The Ledger's girls basketball coach of the year six times before taking a job as head women's basketball coach at Florida A&M in 2008. She earned her associate of arts degree at Polk State College and a bachelor's degree in organizational management from Warner University. She also has a master's degree in educational leadership from Argosy University in Tampa.

[ TOM ZEBOLD/The Ledger ]

CHUCK GOODRUM Charles (Chuck) Leo Goodrum was born Jan. 11, 1950 in Miami and grew up in Winter Haven. He became the fi rst player from Polk to play in a Super Bowl, playing in three in the 1970s with the Minnesota Vikings as an offensive lineman. He was drafted in the ninth round out of Florida A&M and played with the Vikings until 1979. In 1993, Goodrum was inducted into the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame.

[ RICK BROWN/The Ledger ]

RED GRANGE Harold "Red" Grange, known as the "Galloping Ghost," made his mark in professional football. He was a running back for the University of Illinois and was the first collegiate start to sign with a pro team, the Chicago Bears. After a knee injury in 1927, Grange retired in 1934. He worked various jobs in insurance, real estate, as a motivational speaker and as an announcer. He analyzed the Bears games for 14 years until 1963 and also covered college football games. He settled into Indian Lake Estates in Lake Wales where he died at 87 on Jan. 28, 1991.

[ MERISSA GREEN/The Ledger ]

LEE JANZEN Lee Janzen joined the PGA Tour in 1986, the same year he won the NCAA Division II national championship at Florida Southern College. The former Lakeland High standout, now 46 and living in Orlando, is a two-time U.S. Open champion, having won at Baltusrol in 1993 and at The Olympic Club in 1998. Janzen is an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, where he has earned $15,432,129 to rank 48th all-time. Janzen, who was born in Austin, Minn., but grew up in Lakeland, also won the The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, considered the tour's "fi fth major," in 1995.

[ DEL MILLIGAN/The Ledger ]

RAY LEWIS

Ray Anthony Lewis was born May 15, 1975, in Bartow and grew up in Lakeland. He starred at Kathleen High School, where he played running back, linebacker and kick returner in the early 1990s and was later named to the FHSAA All-Century Team. He was a three-year starter at the University of Miami and was a consensus All-American his junior and fi nal season with the Hurricanes. Lewis was drafted in the fi rst round by the Baltimore Ravens in 1996 where he is still playing. He is the team's all-time leading tackler and was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He is the only player from Polk to be named MVP of a Super Bowl. Lewis has been invited to 12 Pro Bowls and is one of two players to win both NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP in the same season. In 2000, Lewis was indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges after the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. The murder charges were dropped and Lewis was charged with obstruction of justice, a misdemeanor. He was given one year of probation and fi ned $250,000 by the NFL.

[ RICK BROWN/The Ledger ]

TRACY MCGRADY

Tracy Lamar McGrady Jr., a basketball player born in Bartow. McGrady grew up a standout athlete in Auburndale, He attended Auburndale High School for three years before attending Mt. Zion Christian Academy in North Carolina. Named USA Today High School Player of the Year. McGrady is a 13-year NBA veteran while playing for the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons. McGrady is a seven time NBA All Star , two-time NBA scoring champion, two-time NBA fi rst team member, 2001 Most Improved Player, seventime NBA All Star selection; Orlando Magic all time scoring average leader. Ranks 10th among active leaders in career points. Operates Tracy McGrady Foundation.

[ LISA COFFEY/The Ledger ]

JOE NEMECHEK III

Joe Nemechek III was born in Lakeland on Sept. 26, 1963 and is a NASCAR driver most notable for winning the Busch season title (now the Nationwide Series) in 1992, two seasons after moving up to the series. He has won four times on the NASCAR Sprint Cup series and has won 16 Nationwide series races. He previously attended the Florida Inst itute of Technology in Melbourne before starting his full-time racing career. Started his racing career in motocross and won more than 300 trophies in a six-year span.

[ TOM ZEBOLD/The Ledger ]

JOE NIEKRO

Joe Niekro won 144 of his 221 Major League Baseball victories as a righthanded pitcher for the Houston Astros, still the team's career wins leader. Niekro, who lived in Lakeland for a time and supported Florida Southern's baseball program, was a knuckleballer just like his brother, Hall of Famer Phil Niekro Joe Niekro broke into the majors with the Chicago Cubs in 1967, and was in his prime during 10 years with the Houston Astros from 1975-84. Niekro, whose son Lance played baseball at George Jenkins before going on to the majors, led the National League with 21 victories in 1979. Born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, he posted a career 221-204 record with a 3.59 ERA. He died from a brain aneurysm in October 2006 at age 61 while living in Plant City.

[ DEL MILLIGAN/The Ledger ]

KEN RILEY

Kenneth Jerome Riley was born Aug. 6, 1947 in Bartow, where he currently resides. Bartow was a three-sport star at Bartow's Union Academy. Currently the dean of students at Winter Haven High, Riley played quarterback at Union and at Florida A&M, where he would later become head football coach and later athletic director. Riley played 15 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals as a cornerback. He registered 65 interceptions, which is still good for fifth all-time today. Riley is a member of several halls of fame including the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Polk County Sports Hall of Fame, Bartow Hall of Fame, Tallahassee Hall of Fame, Public Schools Hall of Fame. The Bengals named a suite for him at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati and he was named to the FHSAA All-Century Team.

[ RICK BROWN/The Ledger ]

AMARE STOUDEMIRE

Amare Stoudemire was born in Lake Wales on Nov. 16, 1982. He played basketball for six high schools - not at Lake Wales - before he was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, a team he earned rookie of the year honors with. The multiple All-Star spent eight seasons with the Suns before signing a fi ve-year contract with the New York Knicks worth about $100 million this offseason. He earned an Olympic bronze medal with the U.S. basketball team in 2004.

[ TOM ZEBOLD/The Ledger ]

LOU WHITAKER

Lou Whitaker played second base for the Detroit Tigers for 18 years, from 1977 to 1995. Whitaker, who lives in Lakeland, and shortstop Alan Trammell turned double plays for the Tigers for 17 straight years, marking the longestrunning double play combo in Major League Baseball history. "Sweet Lou'' Whitaker, 53, was a fi ve-time All-Star who spent his entire career wearing No. 1 for the Tigers. A lefty at the plate, the native of Brooklyn, N.Y., hit for a career average of .276 with 244 home runs.

[ DEL MILLIGAN/The Ledger ]

FRANCES LANGFORD
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