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Longtime Seminole council member dies

Clarence Tubergen backed plans for recreation programs, a library and annexation.

Clarence Tubergen, 78, a former City Council president who was a council member for 10 years, died Monday at Sunshine Village Nursing Home, St. Petersburg.

Mr. Tubergen came here in 1960 from his native Holland, Mich., where he retired as a manager after 20 years with Stanley Jewelers. First appointed to the Seminole Board of Adjustment in 1981, Mr. Tubergen was elected to the Seminole City Council in 1983 and served five terms.

Former Seminole Mayor Holland Mangum called Mr. Tubergen's death "a loss to the community. He had the best interest of the citizens at heart."

Mangum, who served as mayor from 1984 to 1994, said the former council member was "fiscally conservative, but he always tried to do the most with the taxpayers' money.

"He supported buying the recreation center and building the library back when that wasn't popular, because he was thinking about the future. We had our disagreements, but we worked them out and remained good friends."

Mr. Tubergen "worked hard on annexation and was a backer of recreation programs, even though he took some gaff for it," the mayor said. "But he stuck by it, and the things he supported back then are now proving themselves."

In the election of 1991, for what would be his last term, he was among four candidates who were automatically elected to the four available council seats because a fifth candidate withdrew a few days after the qualifying period when he realized a stint as a council member could conflict with his job as an assistant state attorney.

In 1989, Mr. Tubergen supported an annexation vote. He was quoted in the Times as saying: "Seminole needs some annexation to square off its jagged boundaries."

Mr. Tubergen was on the council when current Mayor Dottie Reeder was first elected to the body.

"He was really a salt-of-the-earth-type person, and even though he was into city government, he still had time for a little side business in lawn maintenance," Reeder said. "I don't think I can remember a single city function when he was not there."

Even though he admitted that he was "never in favor of a large city," Mr. Tubergen backed annexation because, "You can be in and out of the city six times in five blocks. Seminole is laid out like a spider web."

Mr. Tubergen was an Army veteran of World War II. Along with being a longtime member of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce, he was a former member and elder of Lake Seminole Presbyterian Church and a member of First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks.

Survivors include two sons, Robert J. and James A., both of Seminole; three daughters, Mary Nienhuis, Holland, Mich., Joan C. Dykema, Grand Rapids, Mich., and Janet M. Apgar, Vernon Hills, Ill.; a brother, Melvin, and a sister, Yvonne Langejans, both of Holland; 10 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the chapel of First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, 12685 Ulmerton Road, Largo. Moss-Feaster Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, Serenity Gardens Chapel, Largo, is in charge of arrangements.

_ Information from Times files was used in this report.