Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Epilogue: Former Belleair Mayor Edward Moran dies at 90

BELLEAIR — For Edward Moran, a retired shipping executive and local politician, life moved in orderly cycles.

He and his wife spent five months a year in Cape Cod, then came back to Belleair, his home for 54 years.

He played golf four times a week at the Belleair Country Club, as long as his legs could carry him.

He watched the sun set over the gulf.

Mr. Moran, who fought to keep this town pristine through eight years as a commissioner and two terms as mayor, died April 27, of congestive heart failure.

He was 90.

Pinellas beach communities have always had a mixed relationship with development. Beachfront building heights rise and fall from Pass-A-Grille to Sand Key, each cluster representing some past battle.

Belleair held the line against high-rises longer than most, thanks in part to leaders like Mr. Moran and a majority of residents who agreed with him.

"We're a unique community," he once said in defense of the town's ban on campaign signs. "If you let your barrier down, you don't know what you'll get next."

Mr. Moran never let his guard down.

"There were all kinds of things he did to limit the size," said Belleair Mayor Gary Katica. "It was a very tumultuous time, and he got us through it."

Edward Moran was born in Brookline, Mass., in 1922. He attended Boston University and Holy Cross College, playing baseball and hockey.

He fought in the Army in World War II, including the Battle of the Bulge.

He married Betty Girard, who was more outgoing than he was. Their children leaned further to the political left than he did.

"I would not call spontaneity one of his strong points," said Wendy Moran, a San Francisco artist and Mr. Moran's daughter. "He was a traditional, conservative guy."

Mr. Moran spent the bulk of his career as a maritime executive, working for St. Philip Towing and Seabulk The work took him to ports like New Orleans, Seattle and in Norway.

He served on the Belleair Town Commission from 1978 to 1986. Tensions soared in the late 1980s as a developer tried to build two 16-story condominium towers near the Belleview Biltmore Resort and Hotel.

Mr. Moran headed Concerned Citizens for Belleair.

"I was opposed it then and I'm opposed to it now," he said during his 1988 mayoral campaign. "The only benefactor for the high-rise buildings is the developer."

That year Mr. Moran defeated the incumbent, George Mariani, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. He stepped down in 1993, saying he had committed to serving only two terms and had done so.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248.

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