The state of Florida lost a giant on February 28, 2019 in the passing of Bob Nabors. His love of his state and the over 50 years he gave to making an impact on every one of the 67 counties of Florida was monumental. He was not one for attention or credit, but the history books will show that the miles, ideas, solutions, and wisdom he shared with local governments across Florida will be felt for generations to come.
Above all else, family always came first for Bob Nabors and he put in a lot of miles to make sure he was always there for his children and grandchildren. He was a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle. Bob was predeceased by his beloved wife of 50 years, Joan, and his parents, Charles and Emma. He is survived by his brother Dale Nabors (wife Mary, son Dale Jr, and daughter Tammy). Bob's kids and grandkids included son Mike Nabors (daughters Morgan and Ally) , son Steve Nabors (wife Betty, daughter Kaylen, and son Tyler), and his daughter Susie Nabors Hubbard (husband Bob and daughter Megan). Nothing gives his family more comfort than to know that Bob is now with his beloved Joan again.
In taking a glimpse at some of the pockets of time that meant the most to him, we honor his years as County Attorney for Brevard County, his time as General Counsel to Governor Bob Graham, where his highlight was helping to raise the Florida Sales Tax by a cent. Half of this went to local governments which assisted Florida residents in a number of ways, especially several homeowners with their property taxes. Bob resurrected his adopted hometown of Titusville, Florida by working with local leaders to restore the struggling economy, and as a result earn the Superpower Leadership Change Award. He was appointed by three different governors to serve on a wealth of judicial nomination commissions, statewide task forces, and was a key member of the 1997-98 Constitution Revision Commission.
His lasting legacy is being the state's "Father of Home Rule," where he made it his life's work to give more power to local governments by enabling them to establish their own charters. This made it easier for these communities to enact policies and revenue streams instead of going through the legislature. Bob argued these measures in front of the Florida Supreme Court, where as a result was mentioned in landmark home rule and revenue cases. Ultimately, he passed his life's passion on to the next generation by having books published on the subject. From a law school student’s hands at Florida State University to a county attorney’s desk across the state, you will find “The Green Book,” which outlined his approach to Home Rule and its implementation. In addition, he was an adjunct professor at the Florida State University College of Law in the areas of State Constitutional Law and Local Government Law.
Beyond his accomplishments and impacts as one of the greatest local government attorneys this state has ever seen, it was Bob’s love of the face-to-face relationship, finding the solution, and making a difference that gave him so much joy and satisfaction in a career that meant so much to him.
As much as Bob accomplished in his life, it is his character and what he stood for that really made the man. Bob was a Christian and private about his faith, but he lived his faith every day in his unconditional love for everyone and his unending generosity. He was a proud Democrat and liberal and card carrying member of the ACLU. Your passions were his passions. He believed in the good in people and the great things that could happen when you get the right people together around the table. He always rooted for the underdog and would do anything to help make the life of someone else better. He was the ultimate optimist and always believed that everything would work out ok.
He was most known for his big heart and his tremendous sense of humor. He was an amazing storyteller and felt a lot of joy in making people laugh and smile. Jackie Robinson was his hero and the Brooklyn Dodgers were his team and a sunny day at the ballpark was a good day. You add that in with a big breakfast, a Broadway show, a good historical novel, time with his grandchildren, a soundtrack of Arlo Guthrie, Johnny Cash, John Prine, and Willie Nelson, and a drive to nowhere in particular, and you will have a happy Bob Nabors.
In lieu of flowers, you can honor Bob's life by making a donation to The Guthrie Foundation (https://guthriecenter.org/), 2 Van Deusenville Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230, (413) 528-1955, or Children's Home Society of Florida (https://www.chsfl.org/), 482 S. Keller Road, Orlando, FL 32810, (321) 397-3030.
The visitation for Bob Nabors will be on Friday, March 8th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Culley's MeadowWood Funeral Home, 1737 Riggins Road, Tallahassee, FL 32308. The funeral will be on Saturday, March 9th at 2:00 p.m. at Killearn United Methodist Church, 2800 Shamrock Street S, Tallahassee, FL 32309. A gravesite service will follow at Culley's MeadowWood Memorial Park, 700 Timberlane Road.