Obituary of James Alvin Sebesta
James (Jim) Alvin Sebesta, 88, of St. Petersburg, Florida and formerly of Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida passed away on January 29, 2024, after a brief battle with dementia. Jim was born in Pontiac, Illinois and attended Loyola University for his undergraduate degree and then earned an MBA from DePaul University. It was at Loyola that he met the love of his life and married Jean 67 years ago. Jim and Jean started their family in Chicago with the birth of their first child Jim (Gail) and then wisely moved to Florida where he was the General Manager of a radio station in Lake Wales, Florida. Five more children in the next six years Anne (Jim), Steve (Roxanne), Mike (Charlotte), Bob (Sue) & John (Mary Beth) became the singular focus of the early years of their marriage and included a move to Temple Terrace, Florida near Tampa. Jim’s love of politics led to his appointment and subsequent election (1972) to the position of Supervisor of Elections for Hillsborough County. After an unsuccessful run for Secretary of State in 1975, Jim moved the family to Jacksonville, Florida to run the Real Estate Department for Charter Company. A rising star in Florida politics, Jim was picked to lead Gerald Ford’s Presidential Campaign for the state in 1976. His desire to return to the Tampa Bay area led to his move in 1984 to St. Pete where he became Director of Real Estate for the Diocese of St. Petersburg and re-entered politics with a successful run for Florida Senate in 1998 and was re-elected in 2002. He was genuinely focused on planning for Florida’s growth as Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee with a desire to make traveling in Florida safer.
Jim was a devout Catholic and a leader in several Parishes (especially Corpus Christi in Temple Terrace) and was an eloquent Lector every Sunday. He sacrificed much to make sure all six children had Catholic educations from kindergarten through high school.
His one overriding passion in life was his wife of 67 years and his children. The love and respect that he exhibited toward his lifelong partner resonated with his children as they have been married for a combined 218 years! His legacy will last generations because of the love he gave to his children and the sacrifices he made for them! In addition to being survived by his wife (Jean) and six children, there are 12 grandchildren Kristie (David), Brittany (Cameron), Shelby (Bradley), Will (Katelynne), Katie (Ben), Patrick, Christopher, Matthew, Jimmy, Kathleen, Andrew, and Amanda and eight great grandchildren (Brooke, Taylor, Logan, Emery, Collins, Colby, Poppy and Alayah).
There will be a funeral service beginning at 2:00 on Friday, February 9th at Holy Family Catholic Church located at 200 78th Avenue N.E. in St. Pete.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Sebesta, please visit Tribute Store