Larry Travis’ 72-year life of leadership in athletics and government revolved around his community.
After starring on the University of Florida football team in the 1960s, Travis moved to High Springs and later served there as commissioner and mayor. He always tried to lift up his community, on and off the field, family members and friends said Thursday. They said Travis worked tirelessly for the good of others until he lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday.
“I’d like to think that anyone who came in touch with him would remember what a special man he was,” said his widow, Dorothea Travis. “He had a very strong faith, and he really cared about people. I don’t think there was anyone he ever met that he didn’t … see that they were good.”
Travis, a Republican, served two terms on the High Springs City Commission before his tenure as mayor.
Travis was a man whose passion shined brightly, said High Springs City Commissioner Bryan Williams who worked with him during his time as mayor and on the City Commission.
“He was a big man with a big heart,” Williams said. ”He had a heart for the city of High Springs, he tried to do what was best for the city. No matter what activity was going on in the city, no matter what neighborhood, if Larry could give up his time, give up his finances, he did it for the city of High Springs.”
Before Travis’ public service, he was a lineman for the Gators on the gridiron in
the 1960s and was elected to the UF Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Former quarterback Larry Libertore, who lives today in Polk County, played with Travis under coach Ray Graves.
“You couldn’t have met a nicer, more upstanding person than Larry,” Libertore said. “He was that way as a roommate in college many years ago and we’ve been close friends.”
The Gator Boosters club that elected Travis to the Hall of Fame released a statement Thursday to WUFT News:
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Larry Travis. Larry spent much of his life dedicated to serving others through coaching, athletic administration and public office and he certainly influenced countless people along the way. All of us at UF grieve for Larry’s family, teammates and friends.
Travis’ funeral service will be held at the Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. It’s open to the public and will possess a tone of remembrance celebration, Dorothea Travis said.
“There will be a service, after the service is over and the remarks are made, we’re turning on the football games,” she said. ”There will be refreshments and it’s going to be a football Saturday.”
Jaime Sloane contributed reporting.