Tampa Bay war veteran, former state senator celebrates 100th birthday

Local News

TAMPA (WFLA) — A St. Petersburg resident, war veteran, and former Florida state senator celebrated his 100th birthday Saturday.

A drive-by birthday parade was held for Henry Benton Sayler Saturday afternoon at Northshore Park in St. Petersburg, where he is a resident.

Sayler joined the Army Air Corps in 1943 and fought in World War II as a fighter pilot. He was elected to the Florida Senate in 1966 and later served as chair of the Republican Party of Florida from 1980-84, helping Ronald Reagan in both presidential campaigns.

Sayler was also a White House aide to President Truman, and a friend to Vice President Dick Cheney, Senator Bob Dole, Senator Barry Goldwater, baseball star Joe DiMaggio, and astronauts Buzz Alderin, Chuck Yeager, Alan Shepard and Ed Mitchell.

Sayler has also served as the director of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, the St. Petersburg College Foundation, the Kiwanis Club, and several local banks.

To stay fit, Sayler says he exercises daily and swims in his heated pool.

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