Atkinson Edwin (Ed) Pooser III passed away peacefully at home in Winter Garden on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 at the age of 96.
He was born in Wauchula on Nov. 24, 1916 to Atkinson Edwin Pooser II and Adelaide McEwen. Both parents came from pioneer Florida families. His paternal grandfather was a captain in the Confederate Army, serving in the Florida Brigade which surrendered his company at Appomattox. His maternal great-grandfather, William Penn McEwen, was one of the early Methodist circuit riders in Florida.
Educated in Florida public schools, Ed attended the University of Florida. On his birthday and Thanksgiving Day in 1938, he married the love of his life, Janette Jenkins, of Bartow. They were happily married for 74 years.
For the first 10 years of his married life, Ed sold life insurance in Bartow and then Jacksonville.
In 1948 he began working for the State of Florida as an investigator with the transportation department of the Florida Railroad and Public Utilities Commission (now the Public Service Commission). After appointment as district supervisor, he became assistant director. In 1959, he became director and remained in that position until 1980 when trucking was deregulated.
In an article in Florida Truck News in April 1973 it was stated, “Pooser has organized a transportation law enforcement force which is second to none. It has gained national recognition for its efforts in eliminating illegal transportation. Other states have patterned their enforcement procedures after the Florida Commission’s operation. Enforcement personnel from many other states have been sent to Florida for training in these procedures.”
After 32 years in transportation, following deregulation Ed retired. Within two months he was back at work with the Florida Trucking Association. Ed became known as “Mr. Transportation” and was FTA’s “Man of the Year” for 1989.
Many of the transportation laws now on the books in Florida began as legislation drafted by Ed Pooser. He was a past president of the National Conference of State Transportation Specialists and served as chairman of that organization’s Conference Committee Joint Board.
He was on the Reciprocal and International Relations committee of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. He saved Florida’s trucking industry untold millions of dollars through the various reciprocal agreements he negotiated with other states and Canada.
Ed was an excellent administrator. His two pet requirements were you “always answer your correspondence” and you “make a report on everything that happens.” Years after he left state government, questions on past procedures were easy to answer because of Ed’s policies.
One major accomplishment of Ed’s was setting up the first firearms training for transportation enforcement officers. When legislators questioned why the DOT officers needed guns, Ed replied “Have you ever tried to arrest somebody with a pencil?”
Ed is survived by his wife of 74 years, Janette Pooser; son Atkinson Edwin (Ned) Pooser IV (Polly), of Franklin County; and daughter Mary Janette (Jenny) Brown (John Paul) of Winter Garden; grandchildren Atkinson Edwin (Ted) Pooser V, Barbara Janette Olson, Holly Baulier, John Pooser, David Pooser, Daniel Pooser and P.J. Brown; great- grandchildren Ashley and Kimberly’ and great-great-grandchild Levi.
He was preceded in death by his son, Robert James (Jim) Pooser.
Visitation and funeral services were held Sunday afternoon, Dec. 9 at Robarts Garden Chapel, Wauchula. Interment is in Wauchula Cemetery.
Arrangements by Robarts Family Funeral Home, Wauchula.