Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge, located at 14020 Marguerite Dr., Madeira Beach, recently presented Brother Julian W. Fant his 55 year service award in Freemasonry. Julian was born on June 27, 1931, and grew up in St. Augustine, Florida, where he attended school. During his years at Ketterlinus High School he met Mildred ‘Millie’ Williams who became his High School sweetheart and upon graduation in 1951, the couple were married. Julian and Millie celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary this past September.
After having served in the US Navy during the Korean War, Julian took a position in St. Augustine with the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce as assistant manager. Julian was recruited in 1961 to take over as manager of the Treasure Island Chamber of Commerce.
In 1965 Julian was the youngest mayor ever elected in Treasure Island, at the age of 33, and went on to serve five two-year terms. In the 1980s he ran for the District 2 seat and won, serving eight terms in office.
As mayor, Julian headed up an effort to buy 4 ½ acres in the center of the city that is now the site of the community center and park.
During his political service, Julian worked full time while drawing a $150-a-month salary as mayor. He worked for an advertising agency in St. Petersburg, then as senior vice president of First Bank in Treasure Island for 10 years. When the bank was sold, he earned his stockbroker license and went to work for E.F. Hutton & Co. until it was sold. Then he earned his real estate license and worked as a Realtor for Marie Powell’s agency.
Julian was a member of the Treasure Island volunteer fire department for 30 years, serving alongside his late son Charlie, who had become chief of the fire department.
Julian became a Freemason at Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge on June 22, 1967, and has been an active member for 55 years. Among the members of the Lodge pictured making the presentation is Julian’s close friend and Masonic Lodge brother, Larry Lund, who is also a former Mayor of Treasure Island and member of Gulf Beach Lodge.