ST. PETERSBURG — Community activist James R. Gillespie became the 2009 Mr. Sun on Friday night, honored by the Suncoasters of St. Petersburg, the civic group that produces the annual Festival of States.
Krystina Fisher, 21, a theater major at the University of Central Florida, was named Sungoddess at the black-tie Coronation Ball, held in the Coliseum.
Gillespie, 72, is the 55th recipient of the Mr. or Ms. Sun designation. Most recently, he has been a leader and key fundraiser for the Bayfront Health Foundation, the Mahaffey Theater Foundation and the Florida Orchestra.
Through more than 30 years of living in St. Petersburg, he has been involved in numerous charitable, cultural, social welfare, governmental and civic organizations, including the St. Petersburg Housing Authority, the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce Biracial Community Alliance, the Neighborly Care Network, the Community Foundation of Greater St. Petersburg, Family Service Centers, the St. Petersburg Housing Authority, the Pinellas County Charter Review Commission and the Pinellas County Education Foundation.
Gillespie is the longtime executive director of the South Pinellas County Automobile Dealers Association. A native of Urbana, Ill., he is a graduate of the University of Illinois Law School and had additional graduate studies at Yale University. He and his wife, Emily, have two children and four grandchildren.
Fisher is the daughter of Bob and Leslie Fisher. She will receive $5,000 in scholarships.
Sungoddess runnerup Sara Beth Myers, a dietetics major at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., will receive a $1,000 scholarship. She is the daughter of Jim and Melissa Myers.