PLANT CITY The families of two former city commissioners who died in February were presented with city proclamations honoring their service.
Gerald Hooker, who died Feb. 6, served on the commission from 1966 to 1974, including three terms as mayor; and Dr. James R. Hoover, who died Feb. 10, served as a commissioner from 1978 to 1982.
Both had previously been active in community and church work.
Hoover’s widow, Beverly, said the two men were friends which made the honor “that much more special.”
Hoover, a retired dentist, remained in Plant City until his death at 72. His widow, daughter Luci Hoover and 11-year-old granddaughter Romyann accepted the proclamation from Mayor Mary Mathis.
Hooker, 76, who operated Hooker’s Department Store for many years, was living in Texas when he died. His son and daughter-in-law, Jax and Bambi Hooker, accepted the proclamation.
“This (Plant City) was home to him and this is where his heart was at,” Jax Hooker said.
City Commissioner Rick Lott, who owns several companies, recalled that when he was 18 and just starting out, he had the chance to take a job as an office supplies salesman, but the dress code required him to wear a suit every day. He couldn’t afford a suit but after he explained his situation to Hooker, the store owner allowed Lott to pick out three suits and repay the debt at $5 a week.
“He could have easily said he couldn’t help me but he didn’t. I wouldn’t be the man I am today if he hadn’t taken a chance on me,” Lott said.