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Stuart Resident Floyd Devoe “Bud” Jordan Has No Plans To Retire Soon

At 84, the senior consultant for Merrill Lynch’s Jordan McGovern Group shows no signs of stopping.

Floyd Devoe “Bud” Jordan, a Stuart resident since 1971, thinks about calling it quits yet never sets a date.

“People keep trying to retire me,” Jordan says. “They have for a long time.”

The Florida State University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting puts the needs of his clients ahead of golf and travel.

“We manage a lot of money, and the responsibilities are to be attuned to the market and make sure what our clients’ needs are and try to make sure they’re met,” he says.

When the Montgomery, Alabama, native came to town, he became its first stockbroker, joining the firm Francis I. DuPont & Co.

“I was 33,” he says. “It was a good move.”

In 1985, he co-founded the Economic Council of Martin County intending to financially develop the sleepy suburb.

“We needed industries and jobs,” Jordan says, noting the biggest employer was a flower farm at U.S. Highway 1 and Indian Street.

He also co-founded the Martin County Community Foundation in 1988, which has since been renamed The Community Foundation Martin-St. Lucie, to help account for and safeguard charitable giving.

He recalls a client who died and left money to 17 charities, and the charities didn’t know how to handle it. That moment encouraged Jordan to set up the foundation.

In what many consider his crowning achievement, Jordan founded the St. Lucie River Initiative—now the Rivers Coalition—in 1991. The Rivers Coalition and its members have launched an effort to save the river from pollution and restore its ecological health.

“The intent was to identify the problem and proceed to clean up the waterway,” he says. “We naively thought it would be easy to do.”

In 2017, he abruptly resigned from the Economic Council of Martin County after U.S. Sugar bought a seat at the table.

“To me, that was a fox in the henhouse,” Jordan says. “As far as I know, they paid more money so that they had more than one seat.”

At issue are the controversial discharges of water from Lake Okeechobee into the estuary.

“The bottom line is the St. Lucie River is the economic backbone of the community,” he says. “You have a bad river, you have a bad economy. It’s that simple.”

What was Stuart like in the 1970s?

In 1970, Stuart was a flower-farming and fishing community. In some cases, you had to go out of the city for medical and professional services.

How has it changed over the years?

There’s been a large addition to medical and professional services, more traffic, continued growth of communities outside city limits and the arts and entertainment have had a tremendous boom.

What do you enjoy most about living here?

It’s still a small-town feeling with a wide range of activities. The weather’s great in the wintertime. We’ve got The Lyric Theater, which is putting on some very nice shows. It’s just become a little more sophisticated.