JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Eighty-six-year-old Jake Godbold's youthful strength is fading, but his mind and love for Jacksonville is stronger than ever.
On Wednesday, the former mayor made his way into a room full of supporters who had gathered at Old St. Andrew's Church for the reveal of his biography named 'Jake!'
A four-minute video showed the mayor during some of his crowning moments. One of those moments being when they constructed and opened the Jacksonville Landing.
"We needed a centerpiece, not a corner piece," Godbold said," a corner piece we can build on."
Jake! is the story of a kid from the Brentwood projects, who enlisted in the Army, became an insurance salesman and then become a populist mayor
The video also showed the moment the NFL Commissioner said Jacksonville was selected for a professional franchise.
Godbold who campaigned for months was still surprised.
"Holy s*** we got it," he said.
Jake! chronicles not only his success from landing an NFL team and building the Jacksonville Landing, but also the development of Metro Park, attraction of Mayo Clinic and the restoration of the Florida Theater.
"I am just so humbled that this has happened," Godbold said.
"It has been 32 years since he left city hall, but supporters stood in line for an autograph from 'Jake!" Former aide and political strategist Mike Tolbert said.
It took Tolbert two years to write the 355-page book.
"I thought it would be important for the community," Tolbert said.
On community, Godbold said the Jacksonville Electric Authority has hired the wrong Chief Executive Officer.
"This guy has no experience, Godbold said. "How are we to believe what he is telling us that we should sell it and turn it over to private concerns. I have doubts about that."
On education, Godbold is opposed to a Mayor appointed school board versus the current status where members are elected.
He is also very critical of the Jacksonville City Council's handling of the school board's effort for a sales tax referendum. It is being bogged down by politics.
"I think the council is absolutely wrong and I think they're following Curry on his," Godbold said. "Put it on the ballot."
Godbold is still just as feisty, candid and full of life as ever. When asked about his health he uses humor.
"Doctors say they're keeping me together with barbed wire," Godbold said.
The former mayor said at night he prays that while there is breath in his body he will continue to do good.
It is clear that he will also continue to be outspoken about Jacksonville's past present and future.
The caption on Jake! describes him as a populist mayor who transformed a sleepy city into a metropolis with a can-do attitude.
Also, Jake Godbold's collection of his years of public service are now part of the Jacksonville Historical Society archives.