Mayor Gary H. Katica

Long-Time Belleair Mayor Gary H. Katica Passes Away; Remembered for a Life of Service

BELLEAIR, Fla. – On Sunday evening, Belleair Mayor Gary H. Katica (87) passed away in his home, surrounded by loved ones.

Mayor Katica served the Town of Belleair Commission for over 20 years, making him the longest-serving Mayor in Belleair history.

Mayor Katica was born in Newark, New Jersey and raised in Queens, New York.

From 1952 to 1956, he served in the United States Air Force as a Control Tower Operator in the Korean War, and in 1957, he graduated from the Federal Air Traffic Academy in Oklahoma City and became an Air Traffic Controller in the New York Center.

From 1957 to 1962, Mayor Katica attended C.W. Post College on Long Island University on a basketball scholarship. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Mayor Katica served as a member of the Planning and Zoning Board and the Parks Commission for Port Jefferson New York, and was later also elected as a trustee and appointed Police Commissioner.

In 1979, Mayor Katica, his wife Mary, and their two children Harry and Irene moved to Clearwater, and in 1984, to Belleair. Mayor Katica was first appointed to the Town of Belleair Commission in 2000 and elected Mayor in 2007 – a position he retained until his passing.

Over his tenure, Mayor Katica led the Town of Belleair through pivotal moments, such as the renovation of the historic Belleview Biltmore Hotel to the Belleview Inn, the retention of the Belleair Police Department, and the construction of the Dimmitt Community Center.

He served the Belleair Civic Association and the Town’s Finance Board and Planning & Zoning Board. Mayor Katica was also well-known for his daily support of the Belleair community through his regular walks in Belleair, his continual advocacy for infrastructure improvements, his efforts to build partnerships and relationships with neighboring cities, his support of sports leagues and special events, his commitment to supporting Town staff, and his long-standing role as Santa Claus each Christmas.

Mayor Katica’s leadership inspired countless others to serve Belleair with diligence and compassion, which was memorialized on Mayor Katica’s birthday this year.

On January 28, dubbed “Mayor Gary H. Katica Day” by the Commission, the Belleair community came together for a special, socially distanced celebration. Staff, officials, and residents were provided commemorative t-shirts and asked to share their special memories and words of gratitude for the Mayor in what culminated in a YouTube video and a scrapbook for the Mayor.

“Mayor Katica will be remembered by us all for his years of service but also for the kindness, compassion, and love he shared with the world. He is survived by his wife, Mary, son Harry, preceded by his daughter, Irene, and survived by four grandsons: Tyler, Michael, Nathan, Aaron, and Gary Jr.” said the Town of Belleair.

Funeral services are currently being arranged by the family. Additional information will be provided at www.hubbellfuneralhome.com/obituaries/obituary-listings as it becomes available.

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