It is with great sadness that we inform you that Dempsey Sapp Sr. passed away this past Thursday evening. Living a full and productive 94 years amongst us and 72 years alongside his lovely wife, Margie, Mr. Sapp made our industry much of what it is today. Mr. Sapp helped found our association in the 1940’s (Florida Pest Control Association which is now FPMA), becoming a President, leader and mentor to all following behind him.
Mr. Sapp’s legacy is such that most of Chapter 482’s original language has his DNA all over it as he was appointed a three-year term on the Structural Pest Control Commission. His accomplishments are great and many. From a legacy of leadership to the pioneer of pest control and all the way to legislation and regulation, Mr. Sapps left his mark with all of us. We will truly miss him. Please keep D.R. and his family, especially including his mother, in your prayers and thoughts.
The funeral will be Tuesday, March 29, at Wesley United Methodist Church in Gainesville, 826 NW 23 Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32609. There will be a viewing from 10-11 AM, followed by a service at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the church.
The obituary is as follows:
Dempsey Robert Sapp Sr., of New River, FL passed away March 24th, 2016. He was born in New River, Bradford County Florida. He was the son of the late Ethan Allen Sapp and Mable Crews Sapp. He graduated from Bradford County High School in 1940.He was a veteran of World War II U.S. Navy. One of Dempsey’s most cherished memories was meeting Margie Reece Beckham who he married September 17, 1943. After serving in the Navy he attended the University of Florida and graduated with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Agriculture. On September 5th, 1949 he opened the doors of Florida Pest Control & Chemical Co. in Gainesville Florida which is still family owned and one of the largest pest control companies in the Nation. He was Chairman Emeritus until his death.
He was a pioneer of the pest control industry. He was appointed to the State Pest Control Commission for a three year term by Governor Leroy Collins in 1959 and appointed to another 3 year term by Governor C. Farris Bryant in 1964. He was a member of the Entomological Society of America, the Florida Entomological Society and the Newell Entomological Society. He was a Mason, a Shriner, and an Elk, Past President and member of the Florida Pest Management Association, member of the National Pest Management Association, member of The Gainesville Exchange Club, The Honor Society of Agriculture Gamma Sigma Delta, University of Florida Honor Society Alpha Zeta, Lifetime member of the Navy League, Lifetime member of the NRA, served on the BOD for the Atlantic National Bank in Gainesville, and was selected for the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the University of Florida.
Mr. Sapp was a very benevolent person; he gave generously to the University of Florida and established the Distinguished Endowed Professorship in Structural Pest Control and Urban Entomology. Other organizations he admired and contributed to were Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, Advent Christian Village, and the Salvation Army.
He was a member of Wesley United Methodist Church in Gainesville. He was an avid hunter, especially wild turkeys, fisherman, farmer, cattleman, gardener, loved the outdoors and traveling. He traveled to all 50 states in the U.S. He was a devoted Gator fan, attended Gator football games for fifty years.
Mr. Sapp is survived by , his loving wife of 72 years, Margie Beckham Sapp, Daughters Wanda Kay (Don) Frowick of Tierra Verde, Fl., Angelia (Don) Dickey of Knoxville, TN., son D.R. (Diane) Sapp Jr. of New River, Fl. 7 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, Sister Cozette Laslo of Annapolis, MD.
Mr. Sapp was preceded in death by brothers, Pete Sapp, E. Leslie Sapp, Sisters Betty Jean Sapp, Novis Ward, Daughter Deborah Wise and great grandchild Sophia Zoe Wise.
I think it is a nice video and article from Mr. Sapp’s induction to the Pest Management Hall of Fame in 2014. Please take the time to read, watch and remember.