BOCA RATON — William D. Hager, who served on the Boca Raton City Council from 2002 to 2009 and as deputy mayor from 2004 to 2005 before winning a seat in the Florida House of Representatives, died on Wednesday afternoon in North Dakota. He was 74.
Hager served in the Florida House from 2010-18.
While Hager had been diagnosed with a terminal lung disease six years ago, his 33-year-old daughter Mackenzie Hager said his “great vigor for life” never waivered.
Though he was known to many as a politician with a career spanning decades, Hager was more than a politician to his family and friends, his daughters Hager and 32-year-old Madison Weinstein said.
“He was first and foremost a father and was extremely proud of his children, and he was the hardest worker I’ve ever known,” Weinstein said. “He worked up until his very last breath.”
Throughout his years in public service, in South Florida and beyond, Hager held many titles. He was the Iowa assistant attorney general from 1975 to 1976, the first deputy commissioner for the Iowa Insurance Department for the following two years and Iowa insurance commissioner from 1986 up until 1990, when he moved to Boca Raton, his obituary reads.
After moving to South Florida, Hager became the president and CEO of the National Council on Compensation Insurance up until 1998, Weinstein said. Only a few years later, his constituents picked him to lead.
Throughout his career, Hager was a licensed attorney in three states, taught math at a school in Hawaii and was the president of Insurance Metrics Corporation in Boca Raton. Hager was involved with several local and state agencies and received accolades from organizations like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the Florida Health Care Association and the Florida League of Cities, according to his House of Representative’s biography.
Outside of the time he spent in legislative session and city hall, he coached a local soccer league, volunteered at a community hospital and was involved with the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, Weinstein said.
“Being involved in the community was his way of giving back,” Weinstein said.
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Hager was born to the son of a World War II veteran on Feb. 6, 1947, in Minnesota and grew up in Iowa. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Northern Iowa and a master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Hawaii, along with a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois.
Rep. Mike Caruso, R-Delray Beach, and Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez expressed their sympathy on social media Friday upon learning of Hager’s death.
“Not only was he a great friend, but he lived his life in service to our community. He will be dearly missed,” Caruso wrote in a tweet.
Hager’s daughters have created a memorial fund at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville to help fund research of the disease their father died of.
His memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Detroit Lakes, Minn. Along with his daughters, Hager is survived by his wife, Martha, and his siblings, James Hager, Jeff Hager and Barbara Hager.
“He was the best father anybody could ask for,” Weinstein said. “He put us first before anybody else, but he really just gave back to every community he was ever a part of in any way that he could.”