Frederick B. Karl

Frederick Brennan "Fred" Karl (May 14, 1924 March 7, 2013) was an American politician. He served in the Florida House of Representatives, Florida State Senate, and Florida Supreme Court.

Frederick B. Karl
Justice Frederick B. Karl, c. 1977
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 14th district
In office
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 14th district
In office
Justice of the Florida Supreme Court
In office
January 4, 1977  April 5, 1978
Personal details
Born(1924-05-14)May 14, 1924
Daytona Beach, Florida
DiedMarch 7, 2013(2013-03-07) (aged 88)
Tampa, Florida
Political partyDemocratic
ChildrenCynthia Anne, Frederick B Jr (Rick), Mary Theresa, James Brooker
Alma materUniversity of Florida, Stetson University College of Law
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Branch/service United States Army
Battles/warsBattle of the Bulge

Early life

He was born on May 14, 1924 in Daytona Beach, Florida to Fred J. Karl and Mary Brennan.[1] He attended Seabreeze High School while working as an usher at a local theatre.[2] After graduation, he enrolled in the University of Florida and earned a Bachelor of Science in 1942.

Later that year he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army. He served in the European Theater of Operations and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.[3] He was later awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, and Purple Heart medals.[4] In 1949 he received a law degree from Stetson University College of Law.[1][4]


Karl ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 1964.[5] He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives for Volusia County (District 14)[6] in 1956, which he sat until 1964.[7] He was elected to the state senate in 1968 and won an award the year after for "Most Outstanding First Term Member of the Senate". He served in the Senate until 1971.[8]


In 1977, Karl was the last elected justice to the Florida Supreme Court, on which he served for one year. He retired and returned to private practice in April 1978.[9] Later, he held positions of attorney to the Volusia County School Board, and District Attorney for Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach, and served as Chief Legal Officer and then as County Administrator of Hillsborough County, Florida.[6] In 1994 he was appointed to head Tampa General Hospital.[3]

In 2004, his eightieth year, Karl was appointed Interim City Attorney for Tampa, Florida, and then advisor to the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority in response to allegations of improper conduct by the Authority.[10] In addition to serving in state and local offices, Karl was active as a community member, participating in many organizations such as the Rotary Club of Tampa, United Way of Hillsborough County, and the Stetson University Law Board of Overseers.[6] He later retired from public life for the fourth and final time.[3]


Florida the 4th District Court election, 1976

November 7, 1976
Nominee Frederick B. Karl John L. Hill
Popular vote 1,183,828 1,166,919
Percentage 50.0% 49.2%

Karl:      40-50%      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%
Hill:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%      80–90%
Thompson:      50-60%

Florida the 4th District Court of Appeal before election

James C. Adkins

Elected Florida the 4th District Court of Appeal

Frederick B. Karl

Personal life

Karl's hobbies included boating, fishing, swimming. and water skiing.[7] He released his autobiography, The 57 Club: My Four Decades in Florida Politics, in 2010. In a 2010 news article, Karl told a reporter that he was suffering from heart disease along with a progressive form of Parkinson's disease and diabetes.[11]

Awards and honors

Karl was the winner of the 2004 Ralph A. Marsicano Award, an annual award in Florida for the person who has made significant contributions to the field of law over the long term.[12] Tampa mayor Pam Iorio proclaimed April 18, 2008 in Tampa, Florida as named Frederick B. Karl Day.[6] A government building in Hillsborough County, Florida is named for him.[13]


Karl died at his home in Tampa aged 88.[14]


  1. Who's Who in Government. Marquis Who's Who, LLC. 1977. p. 314. ISBN 0-8379-1203-2.
  2. Mormino, Gary R. "Lions in Spring" (PDF). University of South Florida. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  3. "The 57 Club: My Four Decades in Florida Politics: Overview". University Press of Florida. 2010-03-31. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  4. "Past Winners". University of Tampa. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  5. "Gubernatorial candidate Fred B. Karl of Daytona Beach". Florida Memory Project. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  6. "Proclamation" (PDF). City of Tampa, Florida. 16 April 2008. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  7. "Representative Frederick B. "Fred" Karl". Florida House of Representatives. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  8. "Florida Senators 1845-2001". University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  9. Thursby, Mary Agnes (2009-08-11). "Succession of Justices of Supreme Court of Florida" (PDF). Florida Supreme Court. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  10. Van Sickler, Michael (2006-09-14). "Fred Karl to help road panel". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  11. Carlton, Sue (2010-03-24). "Trouble in government? Get me Fred Karl!". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  12. "Karl wins Marsicano Award". Florida Bar News. 2004-06-15. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  13. "How To Find Us". Hillsborough County Government Online. 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-12-03. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  14. Obituary
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