William Kerdyk Jr. was the first Gables Great of 2014 but deserves another look as the Rotary Club of Coral Gables’ Citizen of the Year, an award presented to him by the club on May 21.
Kerdyk’s public service as commissioner and vice mayor for almost two decades continues the legacy of the Kerdyk family — from Uncle Frank to father Bill Sr. who was the longest serving politician in Coral Gables history, 28 years.
Having served on the commission for the City of Coral Gables since 1995, Kerdyk was re-elected by overwhelming margins each election until reaching term limits in April.
For a relatively young man, Bill’s leadership abilities were obvious from his role as Junior Orange Bowl Golf chair and president and then as the founder of the World Team Golf Championship in Japan. Bill already has left a lasting legacy that included creating the Coral Gables Community Foundation’s Parknership Fund, which supports a public/ private partnership initiative with the mission of underwriting the purchase and/orenhancement of parks, fountains, bridges and other open spaces throughout Coral Gables.
That fund has helped support the “Million Orchid Project,” providing $25,000 over five years to reintroduce 250,000 native species of orchids into the city’s tree canopy. In addition, this fund has provided $75,000 for the restoration of one of the city’s iconic landmarks, the Alhambra Water Tower.
As an advocate for traffic reduction measures, Bill implemented the very popular Coral Gables Trolley system that transports some 1.1 million passengers a year and provides residents and visitors a vital link to work, home and leisure activities while reducing traffic and demands on the parking system. He also initiated the Ponce de Leon Median Project and you can be sure there is more to come.
Because of Bill Kerdyk Sr.’s love of music, his son created a Music Scholarship Fund in memory of his dad working again with the Coral Gables Community Foundation. That fund already has awarded $35,000 in scholarships to deserving music students.
Of course, Bill has a long history with the Junior Orange Bowl Committee, serving as its golf chair for years and then as Junior Orange Bowl Committee president many years ago. His work with the Junior Orange Bowl’s Golf Invitational, that attracts the best junior players from around the world, was such that he was invited to co-found the Toyota Junior World Cup in Japan where international teams compete. He has served as chair for that World Junior Golf Team Championship since 1992 and recently returned from the tournament.
Bill serves on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gulliver, Bach Society, and also is a member of the Miami- Dade Super Bowl Host Committee, Orange Bowl Committee and was a former member of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables. In the past he has served on the boards of Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Beacon Council, Dade League, One Nation Past and City of Coral Gables Property Advisory Committee.
Married to Lynne, the couple has three children — a son William Kerdyk III, and two daughters, Lindsay and Leigh. When he is not serving our community, Bill loves to play golf and spend time with his family.