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Area leaders share thoughts, memories of Lee Roy Selmon

From public officials to business figures and pastors, Lee Roy Selmon made an impact on the memories of Tampa Bay's leaders. Here are some of their reflections on Selmon's life:

Linda McEwen, widow of influential Tampa Tribune sports journalist Tom McEwen:

It was McEwen who pressed Selmon's case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And it was Selmon who helped deliver the eulogy at Tom McEwen's funeral in June. Selmon came to visit Tom McEwen when McEwen was ill, and they joked about the days of the winless Bucs.

"They always had a laugh after the 0-26," she said.

Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco:

"He did a lot of things quietly nobody knows anything about. … He did a lot of things for children, and kids who were sick. I think he realized, when you become a great player or somebody who is well known or something like that, you can't do that without people."

Jeffrey Singletary, pastor at Central Tampa Baptist Church, which Selmon attended:

Selmon had a behind-the-scenes devotion to simply helping out, whether it was talking to the men's group, mentoring those in the young men's ministry or visiting poorer communities.

"The Bible says Moses was the humblest man that ever lived," Singletary said. "Lee Roy's somewhere there in that text, too."

Bill McBride, attorney and former gubernatorial candidate:

"He was like every man would want his father to be and want his son to be — he was perfect in both ways."

Leonard Levy, businessman who headed the franchise task force that brought the Bucs to Tampa:

"He was just a big, gentle guy — just a fine person. I saw him regularly. He was always nice, always personable. And anytime he was called upon to help you out, he'd be there. I will always cherish having known him."

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn:

"He was what athletes should strive to be. Lee Roy Selmon was a model of how athletes should live their lives — not only athletes, but all of us."

Former Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman:

"Certainly, he made USF a better place. That program, he was there for the beginning of that – when it was just a gleam in the eye of a few people – to help it develop."

Tom Scott, former Hillsborough County Commissioner and ex-Tampa City Council member:

"Lee Roy just had a touch about him that crossed racial lines and culture lines and boundaries."

John Grant Jr., state senator who sponsored the bill to rename the Crosstown Expressway for Selmon:

"(The bill) was enthusiastically endorsed by the Legislature. It's a living and lasting tribute. … Lee Roy was everybody's friend."

Compiled by staff writers Dan Sullivan, David DeCamp, Stephanie Wang and Amy Scherzer. Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report.

Area leaders share thoughts, memories of Lee Roy Selmon 09/04/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 4, 2011 11:58pm]
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