Bill Dudley, beloved coach and public servant, dies at 80
Bill Dudley with his wife, Michelle Timmel Dudley, passed away April 8, 2024. Image via Bill Dudley Facebook.

Bill Dudley and wife
Dudley served on St. Petersburg City Council and the Pinellas County School Board, and was an educational pillar at Northeast High School.

Bill Dudley, a former St. Petersburg City Council member and former Pinellas County School Board member, has passed away. He was 80 years old.

Dudley suffered a stroke and did not recover, according to a post from his wife, Michelle Timmel Dudley.

A visitation will be held Thursday at Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery located at 5750 49th St. N. in St. Pete from 3-8 p.m. A funeral service will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church located at 4301 16th St. N. in St. Pete, followed by an interment at Memorial Park. A celebration of life will be held Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Northeast High School in the gymnasium, located at the corner of 16th St. and 54th Ave. N. 

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, individuals consider making a donation to the Northeast High School Athletic Hall of Fame in honor of “Coach” Dudley. Those interested can send donations to:

NEHI Athletic Hall of Fame

PO Box 55901

St. Petersburg, FL 33732

Memo: Bill Dudley donation

Bill Dudley, who was known by most simply as “coach,” was an educator at Northeast High School for 37 years, where he left a mark on countless students and colleagues.

He was first elected to City Council in 2007, and took office in 2008. He served until he reached term limits and, in 2018, ran successfully for the Pinellas County School Board.

Dudley was a registered Republican who, in recent months, has backed several conservative candidates for local office. But to watch him govern — whether on the School Board or from the dais at City Hall, one could be forgiven for not noticing Dudley’s political leanings.

He asked thoughtful questions, governed with respect for all and wasn’t afraid to buck partisan trends if he felt it was right.

But Monday afternoon, tributes were already rolling in for the longtime educator and coach.

Laura Hine, a former colleague on the School Board, called Dudley a “dear man” and said it was a “privilege to have served even just a couple of years with him.”

“Bill Dudley served this community his entire life from coaching and teaching in our schools to city council to our school board, he was always ready and willing to raise his hand,” she wrote on Facebook. “This country is built and re-built every day by those who participate in it whether it be church, the sports fields, government or any volunteer work, and Bill did it all.”

She further lauded Dudley for his ability to bring laughter to the sometimes tense School Board dais, and remain “committed and kind.”

Robert Blackmon, a former St. Pete City Council member who considered Dudley a mentor. Dudley supported him when he first ran for Council in 2019.

“He dedicated his life to public service, be it molding young minds as a teacher and coach at NEHI, or advocating for a better St. Pete from the halls of government,” Blackmon wrote. “While he wore many hats during his life, all of his roles were focused towards helping others.”

Blackmon went on to call Dudley “one of the most humble people to have ever served our community.”

“He viewed service to others as a duty, to repay all the blessings he received throughout his life,” Blackmon wrote.

Dudley just celebrated his 80th birthday on March 3. He had nearly 300 well-wishes on Facebook, a testament to his decades of relationships cultivated in St. Petersburg throughout his career.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


  • Eric Cochran

    April 8, 2024 at 4:45 pm

    Coach Dudley was my personal favorite of a cadre of great coaches at NEHI 1972-74. He attended our 40th class reunion and remembered us by name. I was hoping to see him again at or 50th next week. He was someone we greatly respected, a mentor for a group of guys that went on to excel in life. RIP coach and know that we won’t forget you.

  • Kit Taylor

    April 9, 2024 at 9:26 am

    Truly one of the best! Coach called us all to a higher standard. We had a long conversation in December and he was sharp as ever, kind as ever, compassionate as ever and determined as ever. He left a wonderful legacy to be followed. Warm hugs and tender prayers to his family.

  • Kim W. Stewart

    April 9, 2024 at 3:02 pm

    Coach Dudley was the best! He was always happy, full of energy and Viking spirit. NEHI was made a better school because of him. He made PE class for me enjoyable. I’ll cherish his love of sports and people forever! Thanks coach!!!

  • Amber gibson

    April 9, 2024 at 5:30 pm

    So hard to believe he is no longer here. 💔 He coached my dad at Nehi and later when I got into high school I met his wife Michelle who was my teacher and Coach taught me drivers ed. He was truly a kind sole. And he will be missed by so many. Prayers are with his family and friends at the time. R.i.p Coach.

  • john critz II

    April 11, 2024 at 11:58 am

    There will be a lot of sad hearts this week from a variety of peoples–those of us that grew up with him and went to NEHI with him, those who interactedwith him and were taught by him and those who followed him on the City Council, the Pinellas County School Board , his church ,etc…Every one of them will echo the same words as me–his keen mind and great sense of humor made him a great diplomat for this cpounty. I have lost several great friends lately–now Bill is another. Betsy & I will miss him….Jack Critz NEHI ’62 & Betsy Valentine Criotz NEHI “63


    April 17, 2024 at 11:02 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Jerry and Jenny. Please accept my warm condolences.

    John and Shrimatee

Comments are closed.


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