Peter Rust, 78 and mayor of Davenport for 16 years until 2013, passed away yesterday. Mayor Rust, a native of Philadelphia, was a graduate of Haines City High School and attended the University of Florida. He, then, enlisted in the Marine Corps, finishing his service with a ranking of Sargent E-5.
With his wife, Harriet, Mayor Rust was instrumental, via his work with Polk County’s Tourist Outpost, in bringing businesses and tourists to the area of “Exit 55,” which is at the intersection of Route 27 and I-4. Working at the Outpost, a rustic yet modern and very interesting welcome center, Rust was given the title Diplomat of Tourism. During his lifetime, he was also associated with Habitat for Humanity, the Davenport Historical Society, and the Chamber of Commerce.
He was also among my favorite commentators on this blog, as his knowledge of the history of Davenport was impeccable. The last time I talked with Mayor Rust, at the ribbon-cutting for our new City Hall, he personally thanked me for this blog and encouraged me to keep on writing.
Rest in peace, Mayor Rust. You contributions will surely be enshrined in the over-100-year-old history of Davenport.