David Zachem, longtime political adviser and tax expert, dies at 79

David Zachem, a versatile real estate appraiser, tax analyst and Republican consultant who enjoyed close friendships for decades on both sides of the aisle, died July 19 of heart disease, his family said. He was 79 years old.

Although he was never shy about sharing his opinions, sometimes bluntly, he sought to help politicians he believed in, including the longshots. Zachem chaired the television evangelist’s Florida presidential campaign Pat Robertson in 1988. Before that, he worked on Ronald Reaganfor president and played a leading role in the U.S. Senate election campaign larry presserpart of a nascent movement now known by its most visible organization, the Christian Coalition of America.

Zachem was also known to lend a hand to some Democrats, including the Florida state senator. Darryl Rousonwhom he considered a man of faith.

“I considered him an extraordinary adviser,” Rouson said. “We were on different sides of the fence many times, politically, but he never let that get in the way of a friendship or a good relationship. He approached politics with spice and a bit of humour.

As a student of United States history, he identified strongly with the struggle for freedom and an oppressive regime, particularly communism.

“Dave cared deeply about his country and his community, and was ready to roll up his sleeves and work for the causes he believed in,” the former mayor of St. Petersburg said. Rick Baker.

He incorporated this global pattern into his work with the Boy Scouts, vigorously assisting Troop 294 on everything from regular meetings to camping trips with them. He tried to practice Scout Law, the 12 attributes of which begin with “Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind…”

A resilience and teasing wit sustained his friendships.

“He liked the longtime jokes,” said Jonathan Zachem, his son, a former Eagle Scout who later became Florida’s Secretary of Business and Professional Regulation. “Some punchlines lasted a long time. I could tell him years later and he would just laugh.

The company of good friends and family were among his father’s greatest joys, said Jonathan, who now runs a Tallahassee law firm specializing in licensed and regulated industries.

David Jonathan Zachem was born on August 28, 1942, the son of a cement finisher. He grew up partly in Kentucky, but the family later moved to South Florida. Zachem attended Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale, where he was on the swim team and also worked at his father’s concrete company.

After graduating, he attended the University of Florida, dropping out when his father died in an effort to save the company. He then graduated from Florida Atlantic University. After learning about the real estate business in South Florida, he moved to St. Petersburg in 1984. In 1988, Zachem worked on two major campaigns, Robertson’s presidential bid and the successful campaign for Jim Smith as Pinellas County Property Appraiser.

“He’s been really helpful in bringing the faith of evangelicals into the Republican fold in Florida,” the political consultant said. Barry Edwards.

He also worked as Smith’s second in command for a few years and then started his own business as a tax consultant. To his sons, he preached flexibility and openness to people who have different points of view.

This legacy lives on in a time of historic political division. “A lot of people seem to be like, ‘If you’re not on my side, then you’re my enemy, and if you do things a certain way, then I can’t be with you,'” Jonathan said. Zachem “He just couldn’t understand that. He learned very quickly that if you didn’t make friends on the other side and respect people, you would never do anything.”

Zachem is survived by his sons Jonathan Zachem and his wife, Betty; and Steven Zachem and his wife, Andrea; a sister, Rebecca Zachem Toahty; and six grandchildren. The family is planning a memorial service for 1 p.m. on August 6, at a location to be determined.


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