DAVIS ISLANDS — Ted DeLaVergne was always busy, whether it was working in his real estate business, indulging in one of his hobbies or, quite often, helping to improve life in Tampa.
He joined Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and became its captain. Later he was elected Gasparilla King, a position his father had held decades earlier.
He helped found the Tampa Downtown Partnership, and became one of its early chairmen.
He was, at various times, president of the Exchange Club, the University Club and the Merrymakers Club, and commodore of the Tampa Yacht Club.
Mr. DeLaVergne passed away June 22. He was 68 years old and had been diagnosed with lung cancer in January.
"He wasn't the type to sit still for even five minutes," said his longtime friend Dick Beard. "And if he decided he was going to do something, he put everything he had into it and made sure he did it as well as it could possibly be done."
That was true of his civic work, his career, his hobbies and even his most trivial undertaking, Beard said. When a gym Mr. DeLaVergne belonged to held a treadmill contest, he spent countless hours on the treadmill, losing 30 pounds and bringing home a trophy for being the treadmill champion of downtown Tampa.
Mr. DeLaVergne was born in Tampa, and lived here almost all his life. He graduated from Plant High School, where he was senior class president. He spent four years in the Air Force and four at Florida State, but other than that Tampa was his home.
"He loved Tampa and he did everything he could to make it a better place," his wife, Robin, said.
He and his wife met through the Merrymakers Club. If it wasn't love at first sight, it was awfully close, she said.
"We had our first date in March, we got engaged three months later, and we got married five weeks after that," she said.
They lived on Davis Islands, where Robin DeLaVergne had grown up. They had two sons. Daniel DeLaVergne, a nationally renowned photographer, died six years ago when he was struck by a train while scouting locations for a video shoot. John DeLaVergne worked with his father in their commercial real estate company, DeLaVergne & Co. Its offices are in an auxiliary building of Tampa's train station that they had renovated.
"He was my father, he was my business partner, he was my best friend," John DeLaVergne said at his father's memorial service.
When he wasn't working, Mr. DeLaVergne was often indulging his passion for fishing, hunting and woodworking. He loved creating small wood items for friends as gifts, and he readily helped friends and neighbors with repairs and projects in their homes.
"He was the kind of person who did the little things for people, the things that really make a difference," his wife said.
He was a deeply faithful man and was a member of the vestry at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. He also attended a weekly nondenominational Bible study class.
"He was always reading the Bible and looking to see how he could apply Scripture his life," his wife said.
Even after he learned he had advanced cancer, Mr. DeLaVergne never slowed down. He kept working, usually at his office but sometimes at his home. He had every reason to retire, but it wasn't in his nature.
"He was a busy man, always," his wife said. "He would have kept working until he was 95 years old. He wanted to keep helping his clients."
In addition to his wife and his son, Mr. DeLaVergne is survived by his sister Mina.
Marty Clear writes life stories about area residents who have recently passed away. He can be reached at [email protected]