Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Flea Market 'Mayor' Loved to Talk Politics

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Flea Market 'Mayor' Loved to Talk Politics

Article excerpt

Byline: John Carter, Staff writer

Charles H. "Gator" Strange Sr. seldom held an opinion he didn't want to share, particularly when it involved Northside politics.

Mr. Strange, 82, died of lung disease Jan. 6 at his Northside farm.

Lorie Strange, his granddaughter, said he spent nearly every Saturday and Sunday at the Pecan Park Road Flea Market, mostly for the opportunity to share his political opinions.

"They didn't call him the self-appointed Mayor of Pecan Park Road Flea Market for nothing," she said. "He'd raise and sell birds at the market, but the real reason he liked going there was to talk politics. That was his obsession. He couldn't care less about making money."

She said he was a big supporter of former Mayor Jake Godbold and Councilman Warren Alvarez, who attended his funeral Monday at Northside Funeral Home.

"He used to put up this huge sign, almost billboard size, on his tree farm at Starratt and Yellow Bluff roads and sit in a truck at night with a shotgun to prevent anyone from defacing the sign." she said, chuckling. "I mean, he was this really tiny man, but that's just the way he was."

Lorie Strange said she hated to see her grandfather die, "but he did it in a very appropriate way."

"He was sitting on his back porch telling his son, 'Corky' Strange, exactly how to cut down a tree, as if Corky didn't know how to do something he'd done hundreds of times," she said. "Then he just slumped over. His lungs just stopped working and he passed."

She said her grandfather had a gift for making everyone he looked at or talked to feel special.

"What I'll miss the most about him is that expression on his face whenever you walked in a room," she said. "You could see how excited he was to see you. And he made everyone feel that way, like he was just thrilled to see them, because he really was. …

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