SPRING HILL — Timber Pines resident Glenn Claytor, the sole Democrat who had announced his intent to seek the District 1 Hernando County Commission seat this year, died Thursday. He was 75.
He had experienced several health issues in recent days.
A native of Washington, D.C., Mr. Claytor had worked as a developer and planner, as housing director for the National Urban League and for a regional planning council covering parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut before opening a law practice.
A 13-year resident of Hernando County, Mr. Claytor ran unsuccessfully for the District 44 State House seat in 2006.
In December, he announced his plan to run for the County Commission against incumbent Republican Jeff Stabins and several other candidates, touting his experience in government, law, management and problem solving.
"I have a passion for public service,'' he said.
Walter Dry, a labor consultant who had been close with Mr. Claytor for 10 years, said a passion for giving back was the legacy his friend leaves behind.
"He felt with all the gifts and talents that he had, and the way he grew up, he wanted to give back to the community,'' Dry said. "That's why we were friends. He and I had the same concept of life.
"We weren't born with these gifts. The good Lord gave them to us, and he wants us to give them back to the community.''
Mr. Claytor had been involved in a number of activities in the community, including the Democratic Executive Committee, the Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity, the Charlotte Murrin Foundation and the county's affordable housing committee and citizens advisory committee on capital improvements.
"He was an innovator, and his primary focus was to help people,'' said his wife, Dolores, who first met Mr. Claytor in the early 1990s. "He really cared about people. He was a compassionate person.''
Mrs. Claytor recounted how her husband had stood beside her for many years through some difficult personal issues.
"He held me together,'' she said. "He was one of a kind.''
Mr. Claytor's death is a tremendous loss for the Democratic Party and the entire county, said Steve Zeledon, chairman of the Hernando Democratic Executive Committee.
Just two weeks ago, at the Hernando Democratic Executive Committee meeting, Mr. Claytor spoke passionately about how he hoped to contribute to the County Commission, Zeledon recalled.
"Even though he was at an advanced age, he felt he owed it to the community," Zeledon said. "He felt compelled to contribute his professionalism. He made that point over and over again."
A celebration of Mr. Claytor's life has been scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Feb. 4 at the Aripeka Elks Club. A luncheon will follow.
Staff Writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.