Atkins died from longtime complications with her kidneys, her family said. She was 102.
SARASOTA — Glossie Atkins, the mother of Sarasota’s first African American mayor, died on Sunday from longtime complications with her kidneys, her family said. She was 102.
"She really was an amazing, simple woman that worked hard at loving everybody," said Fredd Atkins, her middle child and former mayor of Sarasota. "She had this way about her that could get up next to everybody and have sincere love for everybody."
Born in Marion County, Atkins was one of 13 children and two adopted children. The family near Ocala, in a two-bedroom house, supported by what her mother earned cleaning houses and doing laundry. Atkins raised her nine children in the same way.
With her sister, Ruby Horton, Atkins left central Florida in the 1940s to work on a farm in Sarasota, where she picked beans and tomatoes.
For 35 years, she worked as a domestic sewing, cooking, cleaning and rearing other parents’ children.
"She was my greatest cheerleader," said Atkins, who is Sarasota’s longest serving city commissioner. "She could measure the winds. She could warn me of the humps in the road and show me how to go around it."
Atkins was known for her laughter and love of family.
Her funeral will be 1 p.m. on Thursday at Mt. Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in Ocala.