Ken Thompson (1910 –
Mr. Thompson was born in
the Isle of Pines, in the Caribbean. Descending from
a Scottish father and an
Irish mother, he lived in Cuba for many years, until 1922
when he moved to the
U.S. Mr. Thompson studied high school in Miami Beach and later on, earned his
BS degree in electrical engineering at University of Florida. He was sent to
Harvard and MIT for a semester to train in the field of advance military
electronics. After serving in the Pacific during World War II, he went back to
Miami Beach as city engineer and afterwards as City Manager.
In 1950, he was picked
to be the city manager of Sarasota, where he stayed in charge for 38 years (the
longest in history).
Mr. Thompson was key to
the Sarasota’s development projects of the bay front, Island Park and marina.
He also was a founding member of The Florida Shore and Beach Preservation
Association and president of The Florida City and County Managers Association.
In addition, he helped
with the development of the current city hall, and the upgrade of the police
force and fire department.
He received, after many
years of service to the community, multiple awards such as: Goodwill
Industries’ Distinguished Citizen of 1986, Fraternal Order of Police’s Citizen
of the Year and Veterans of Foreign wars’ Man of the Year.
I wanted to dedicate
this garden to Mr. Thompson, because I believe he has been one of the main
characters that made a change in the development of Sarasota. Living by such values and principles, willing
to help citizens and the community, creates a public image everyone should appreciate.
It Is because of people like Mr. Thompson that we can live better nowadays, and
specially for the services that a city such as Sarasota offer us thanks to him.