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A Tribute to Buddy Rawls, a Keystone Leader

By Jaime Saeger

We lost a great friend, good man, and Keystone community leader this past month, as he left this earthly world to join his Father in Heaven. We will always remember him.

You might remember him by his white hat and boots, big ol’ belt buckle, and those big white sideburns at every KCA meeting for many years. I remember his smile, twinkling eyes, and his laugh as he greeted each of us like we were one of his best friends, bringing smiles to everyone’s faces.

You might remember him downtown, joining the crowd of yellow shirts. I remember him in KCA Board Meetings preaching that we need to protect our rural heritage and not change our way of life out here in Keystone, and him always working hard to do his part.

You might remember him working the crowd at Family Fun Day. I remember how hard he worked behind the scenes to make it happen and his prayer for the community that kicked off the day, his hard “no” to any suggestion of serving alcohol at the event, his desire to break even and not profit, and how wholesome and wonderful it was when he led it, “all for the kids.”

You might remember him all around Keystone, his cattle, and his garden crops. I remember him teaching me about plants on my property and vegetables in my garden. I knew just the man to call to help me with my chickens when something was wrong.

You might remember his love of cars and his extensive knowledge. I remember his truck, his muscle car, and his resistance to any suggestion of lowering the speed limit in Keystone to cut down on through-traffic, because he liked to drive fast.

You might remember him from church. I remember him as a Godly man who loved God and his family.

You might remember his son Billy as his side-kick. I will always remember the connection the two of them had, the love they shared, the way Buddy always had someone to laugh at everything he said, and the loss I felt for Billy when I hugged him at his father’s funeral. I felt this loss as did his wife Mary, son Jamie, daughter Sissy, and his entire loving family, as well.

We lost someone who knew more about Keystone and its heritage than most of us could ever learn in a lifetime. He was a proud veteran, a true Florida Cracker, and he raised his family here in Citrus Park and Keystone.

What do you remember? What does it all mean? We can allow his legacy to live on through us, as we continue to preserve the rural heritage and our way of life here in Keystone. Live your life honorably. Do good. That’s what he would want.

And Buddy… we’ll see you again, sometime, great friend. Keystone already misses you.

May 2022
1. In Memory of Deputy Abigail Bieber
2. Property appraisals and the state of real estate in “Champa Bay”
3. A Tribute to Buddy Rawls, a Keystone Leader
4. Cereal for Summer Final Push
5. Hillsborough county commercial locational criteria study (CLC)
6. A Message from the Communications/Marketing Committee Chair
7. A Message from the Agricultural Chairman
8. A Message from the Treasurer