SEBRING — When former Mayor Smith Rudasill Jr. visited schools, he would always tell students about his government salary of $1 per year, his widow recalled Tuesday.
Almost invariably, Jean Rudasill said, the students would write thank you letters to her husband, who died earlier this year, and ask how he could survive on $1 a year, she said.
Jean Rudasill spoke during an event in which a plaque was installed at City Hall honoring Smith Rudasill, who served as a Sebring City Council member from 1960 to 1963 and then as mayor from 1974 to 1999. He was the longest serving mayor in the city’s history.
Sebring Mayor John Shoop said Rudasill served as mayor during a quarter of the city’s history.
He was born in Atlanta and moved to Sebring in 1937, Jean Rudasill said. He had a farm equipment business in the city, she said.
She also recalled that her husband served during World War II and was stationed in England at the time of D-day.
“He loved people,” she said, adding that while serving as mayor he loved to “kiss “ladies.”
She said her husband was a tireless promoter of Sebring. He would distribute “I Love Sebring,” brochures all over, including abroad, she said.
More recently, she said, he loved participating in the city’s centennial celebration.