Bay County Says Good-Bye to Longtime Community Activist

By: Dana Arquilla
By: Dana Arquilla

Fleming moved to Bay County in 1976, and once he was here he says he adopted Bay County as much as Bay County adopted him.

He became an outspoken leader in community politics, and became a tireless advocate of county issues. Some say he had a better attendance at county commission meetings than some commissioners themselves!

Forty years ago, Bay County became home to him, and he treated it just as that, fighting for issues he was passionate about and becoming a tireless advocate of matters that truly mattered to him.

And at age 83, Larry Fleming died leaving behind a legacy of issues that still carry on.

Jerry Girvin, Bay County Commissioner, said, "He kept us straight. Any board, our board, the previous boards, knew whatever action you took, he'd be in the second row, second seat in, and he'd be ready to talk about why that was a wrong idea and you shouldn't do this or that, and it was kind of interesting; from time to time he'd come up to the podium and say, ‘well you guys have finally done something right!’”

That's how many remember Fleming, a straight up kind of guy who didn't sugar coat his stance on issues. He stayed plugged into Bay County politics, keeping the veteran commissioners on their toes, and in a sense, training the new ones.

George Gainer, Bay County Commissioner, said, "Every once in a while, a motion would come before the board and he'd say, ‘now wait a minute, this conflicts with what you agreed to 12 years ago, or 16 years ago.’ He kept up with everything and kept that accountability there."

It is what he'll be remembered for for years to come. Major General Fleming served in the Air Force for 34 years and spent the last 30 years fighting City Hall.

He said to many people before he died .that he wasn't afraid of dying, and that his wife Peg of 51 years was waiting on him.

Peg died in 2002.


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