Janice Kaminis Platt
Janice Kaminis Platt
  • September 27, 1936 - November 3, 2017
  • Tampa, Florida

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Jan Kaminis Platt passed away on November 3, 2017 at the age of 81. Preceded in death by her parents, Adele and Peter Kaminis, and her sister Bobbie Lou Kaminis, she is survived by her husband of 55 years, William R. “Bill” Platt, their son Kevin Platt, his wife, Michele, and their daughter Emma.

Jan was born in St. Petersburg Florida, September 27, 1936 but lived most of her life in Tampa. After graduating from Hillsborough High School in 1954, Jan attended Florida State University where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She was also chosen for Mortar Board and Garnet Key, was President of the Student Senate, Vice President of the student body and selected as the “Most Outstanding Senior Woman” in the class of 1958. She attended the University of Florida Law School for one year where she was the only female student, before returning to Tampa where she taught American history at both Hillsborough and Plant High Schools.

After her younger sister, died at age 31, Jan was moved to reevaluate her life goals which resulted in her decision to run for public office. In 1974, Jan was elected to the Tampa City Council where she served for four years and then to the Hillsborough County Commission where she served for 24 years. Jan’s accomplishments and public service, however, went far beyond her elected offices. She served on numerous community boards including the Environmental Protection Commission, the Hospital and Welfare Board, the Hillsborough County Hospital Authority, the Sports Authority, the Arts Council, the Performing Arts Center Board, the Florida Aquarium and the Florida Council on Aging.

Her community service and philanthropy were as extensive and varied as her public service. Early in her career she served as President of the Suncoast Girl Scout Council and remained active with the Girl Scouts throughout her life. She founded and served as president of the Hillsborough County Head Start Community Foundation. She helped found the “Ybor City Farmer’s Market.” She was an avid supporter of the libraries until her death and was an active member of the Friends of the Library. In 2000 the “Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library,” was named in her honor. In 2016, Jan endowed a scholarship at the Florida State University School of Music in honor of her sister Bobbie Lou.

Jan was an active member of the League of Women Voters (and the recipient of the League’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award), a member of the Athena Society, Tampa Yacht & Country Club (where she sailed for many years with the Mainsheet Mamas.) and the Tampa Bay Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association. Jan was also the recipient of numerous awards including the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award, the Hillsborough County’s Women’s Hall of Fame, and the University of South Florida’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Above and beyond all else she did, however, Jan’s greatest passion was for the environment. She loved the water and would choose to be out in the bay fishing over anything else in the world. She enjoyed sharing her passion with her family and friends, but most especially with her granddaughter, Emma. Much of her community service reflected that love. She was instrumental in the creation of the Agency on Bay Management, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and the Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program (now known as the Jan K Platt ELAP Program in recognition of her commitment). She chaired the Environmental Protection Commission numerous times, and was an active member of the Sierra Club, the Florida Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society.

Jan leaves a legacy of a lifetime of love and service to her community. Hillsborough County and all its citizens will forever be better off for her dedication to good government, to preservation of the environment and to a strong library system.

Funeral services will be held at St John’s Episcopal Church, 906 S. Orleans Ave., Friday, November 10th at 1:00 pm. Visitation will be at the Blount & Curry Funeral Home. 605 S. MacDill Ave., Thursday evening, November 9th from 5:00 to 7:00. In lieu of flowers, please remember Jan with a memorial contribution to the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida (www.gswcf.org), Coastal Conservation Association of Florida (www.ccaflorida.org), or Friends of the Library of Tampa-Hillsborough County (www.hcplc.org or c/o the Jan Kaminis Platt Library, 3910 S. Manhattan, Tampa, 33611).