Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jack Rudy, interim Hillsborough state attorney, dies at 74

TAMPA — Jack Rudy, a corporate lawyer who served as interim Hillsborough state attorney during a tumultuous period in that office, died Sunday after an extended illness. He was 74.

Mr. Rudy, who served in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, worked as a federal prosecutor in the Watergate investigation and helped found the Tampa law firm of Bush Ross Gardner Warren & Rudy.

His family said he did not hesitate when, in 2000, then-Gov. Jeb Bush asked him to serve as interim state attorney following the suicide of Harry Lee Coe.

"It was his true calling to be a servant to the people," said his son, Jay, a federal prosecutor.

At that time, the office was reeling from Coe's death and allegations that Coe took $12,000 in loans from two employees and used his office computer to visit gambling websites.

Mr. Rudy provided a steady hand, telling each staffer what he expected as he tried to steer the office ahead, said Circuit Judge Greg Holder, a long-time friend.

"He set the standards as far as work ethic and integrity," said Holder.

During his five-month tenure, Mr. Rudy earned a reputation as someone who kept office business under tight wraps, offering only "no comments" to the press and generally requiring his staff to do the same. Some of his staff members said it was what the office needed.

"He came in and quietly took the reins and gave us some stability we needed," Robin Fuson, who then worked as chief of narcotics division in the office, told the Times in 2001.

Mr. Rudy returned to private practice in 2001 following the election of Mark Ober as Hillsborough state attorney. Holder said Mr. Rudy had taken the post knowing he would not run for the office himself.

"He just thought it'd be inappropriate to use a gubernatorial appointment as a stepping stone," Holder said. "That's the type of man he was."

Besides his son, Jay, Mr. Rudy is survived by his wife of 43 years, Pat; and a daughter, Robin.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at (813) 226-3374 or

Jack Rudy, interim Hillsborough state attorney, dies at 74 01/14/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 14, 2013 10:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 20 local museums are offering free admission or deals Saturday for Free Museum Day

    Visual Arts

    For all the community's support of the arts in the bay area, it's nice to be rewarded with free admission once in a while. And that's exactly what many area museums are offering on Saturday.

    The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is among the museums participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, offering free admission. (LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times)
  2. Cubs bring some other ex-Rays to Trop such as Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist


    Joe Maddon's first trip back to the Trop is getting most of the headlines tonight, but there are several other familiar faces among the eight former Rays now wearing Cubs uniforms.

  3. Bicyclist in critical condition after colliding with vehicle in St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — A bicyclist is in critical condition after he ran a red light and was struck by a car on Monday night, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

  4. Myanmar leader sidesteps atrocity allegations in first address on Rohingya crisis (w/video)


    YANGON, Myanmar - In her first major speech Tuesday on the worsening Rohingya crisis, Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, sidestepped allegations of atrocities committed against the stateless Muslim minority and cast the conflict as just one of many problems ailing the country.

    A Rohingya Muslim, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carries his belongings as he arrives at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. With a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims sparking accusations of ethnic cleansing from the United Nations and others, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said her country does not fear international scrutiny and invited diplomats to see some areas for themselves. [Associated Press]
  5. Florida education news: Free lunch, school routines, spending cuts and more


    FREE LUNCH: Hurricane Irma caused many families to go without income for a week. Many also lost power, and along with it the food in their refrigerators and freezers. Making matters worse, replacing it isn't so easy, as grocery stores have limited supplies. Hoping to ease the burden, the state has asked for …