William Frederick Poe Sr.

Born July 22, 1931

William F. “Bill” Poe, Sr., former Mayor of Tampa, passed away at his home on Thursday, May 1, surrounded by family. He was 82. Bill Poe loved Tampa and always wanted to do what was best for its residents. He was elected Mayor in 1974 and re-elected in 1975. His term coincided with major redevelopment in the downtown area and he is credited with having the forethought and vision to see what Tampa could become. Bill was born the youngest of three children to Fred & Zula Poe. He grew up in Seminole Heights and attended Hillsborough High School, where he played basketball and tennis and was elected class president. In high school he met Betty Blackburn, the love of his life, who he would marry. He attended Duke University for one year, playing on the freshman basketball team. He later transferred to the University of Florida and graduated in 1953 and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. While at UF, Bill was president of his beloved Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Years later Bill and Betty founded the Elizabeth B. and William F. Poe Center for Business Ethics Education and Research, now among the premier ethics programs in the country. For 60 years Bill and Betty shared a life together, including a brief stint in the Air Force where they were stationed in Japan. Upon returning home to Tampa, Bill Jr., Keren, Marilyn and Janice were born. While running for his first term as Mayor, Billy and Betty added Charlie to the family. His five children gave him 16 grandchildren who he adored. He loved his family and they all remained extraordinarily close, sharing many celebrations together.


  • Memorial Service Tuesday, May 6, 2014
  • Graveside Service Tuesday, May 6, 2014
  • Visitation Monday, May 5, 2014

William Frederick Poe Sr.

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Tom Stearns

May 31, 2014

I worked with Bill at the City of Tampa while he was Mayor. He accomplished a great deal. Always remember him looking over his reading glasses and asking questions without telling you what answer he wanted to hear. He made great decisions because he listened and was thoughtful. One of his many accomplishments was starting the Gasparilla Distance Run. I will remember him every year when I write my Christmas cards. Peace be with you.

Richard Vigil

May 28, 2014

I grew up just down the street from the Poe's on Broad St.I loved going to their house and playing with all the kids. It was a sad day when they left our neighborhood. I lost touch with them. I remember how kind Mrs Poe always was to all the neighborhood kids. My deepest regrets.


May 13, 2014

My condolences to the Poe family. I grew up in Tampa and have known of the Poe family all my life. Mr. Poe's passing is truly a great loss to the community. May the God of all Comfort provide you the strength you need to cope during this difficult time.

Doris Hiles Hoffman

May 9, 2014

I was fortunate to work at Poe & Associates for six years. I will never forget going to my first annual meeting at Saddlebrook and seeing Mr. Poe say with pride and sincerity say that one of the things he was most proud of was knowing that he was responsible for providing a job for all the wonderful people in the audience. This was the kind of man I always felt he was....kind, generous, sympathetic, honest and a good business man! Bill, Jr. please accept my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. May all the beautiful memories of your Dad soon replace the sorrow you now feel.

Cathy Margerum=Breidenbaugh

May 8, 2014

Mr. Poe was a man I admired. He was like a father to me, he was like my own father. He was very supporting in my career. His family was also among the people I admire. You all have my very sincere sympathy.

May 8, 2014

Played with Billy on the HHS tennis team where he was an outstanding player, person and teammate. Unfortunately, didn't see much of Billy after I left Tampa in 1962. But when I did run into him during my Tampa visits, he was always same ole Billy. Gracious, sincere and not pretentious. My sincere condolences to the family.

Adolph Rodriguez
Sacramento, CA

Kathy Mick

May 8, 2014

Bill Poe was one of my Dad, Bunny Mick's, best friends. My Dad held him out as a man of the highest integrity, which was true. But what I noticed most about him was how he treated people. He treated everyone as if they were important to him and I believe everyone really was. He was a great man... a giant.

Kathy Mick

May 8, 2014

Bill Poe was one of my Dad, Bunny Mick's, best friends. My Dad always held him out as being a man of the highest integrity, which I know was true, but what I noticed most was how he treated people. He made everyone feel as though they were important to him. And I actually believe everyone was. He was a great man... a giant.

Lisa Holcombe

May 7, 2014

The best job I ever had was at Poe Financial. Bill was such a wonderful man and has such a great family. My condolences to you all.

hope brown

May 7, 2014

My thoughts and prayers are with you all!