Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Senator Fought for Civil Rights

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Senator Fought for Civil Rights

Article excerpt

OBITUARY: Edgar Price pushed for better housing, education and health care

MANATEE COUNTY -- Those who admired his statesmanship often thought former Democratic legislator Edgar H. Price Jr. could have - - and should have -- been elected governor of Florida.

Price, who died Saturday at age 94, did not seek higher office after his eight years fighting for civil rights, public education and other causes in the state Senate. Even so, nearly a half century later, he remained an inspiration and mentor to generations of Floridians interested in politics and community service.

"For me, he has been and will continue to be a role model," said state Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton. "He was the type of politician I aspire to be. ... What a legacy."

Known for his gentle, even-handed personality, Price could also be dogged and relentless regarding the causes he was passionate about -- especially his determination to improve education, housing and health care for the poor and oppressed.

In 1977, more than a decade after Price left the Legislature, the Tampa Bay Times named him one of Florida's 10 most powerful people.

"He was very influential without showing it off," said former Manatee County Commissioner Pat Glass, who often sought Price's guidance. "He was always there for advice and to make things happen. ... Everything he did he did with a great sense of dedication."

The United Way, Rural Health Services, Palmetto Youth Center, Rubonia Day Care Center, State College of Florida, New College of Florida, Manatee Technical Institute and a host of other local institutions all owe Price debts of gratitude for his support.

"What really started me with an interest in government was at Sarasota High School," Price remembered in a 1999 interview. "We created a student government association and I was president of the student body for two years."

After serving as a combat pilot in World War II, the University of Florida graduate settled in Bradenton. In May 1947 he married Elise Ingram at First Baptist Church of Bradenton, which they would remain a part of for the rest of their lives.

Price managed a flower farm and became head of the Florida Gladiolus Growers Association. …

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