They left us in 2008: 10 people to remember
Let us remember those who died in 2008 who helped better and strengthen the Tampa Bay business community. Here are 10 among many who contributed more than their fair share before passing on this year. Thanks to St. Petersburg Times writers Stephanie Hayes, Lorri Helfand and Andrew Meacham who supplied portions of the following biographical information:
Edward C. Raymund, founder, Tech Data Corp., Clearwater. His company would grow to become a Fortune 500 company and the largest publicly traded business in the Tampa Bay area with annual revenues approaching $24-billion. He became a philanthropist and an adventurer. He never planned such a business enterprise exactly, but his family said it's no big surprise. He died Dec. 9 following complications from surgery. He was 80. In 1985, he handed the company down to his son, Steve Raymund, who served as CEO from 1986 to 2006, and who remains as chairman.
Gordon Campbell, banker, founder of Mercantile Bank, St. Petersburg: Mr. Campbell enjoyed his reputation as a thrifty Scot. It worked well in his long career running community banks. His best marketing pitch to consumers is a classic: "Mercantile: When you outgrow the big banks." "The thing that impressed me the most was that he was a man of integrity and he took his responsibility very seriously," said Ron Vaughn, president of the University of Tampa where Mr. Campbell served on the board of trustees. "I particularly remember his personal warmth, his great wit and his strong leadership." He died in November at age 76.
John Marks Templeton, founder, Templeton Funds family of mutual funds: The legendary investor was a mutual fund pioneer with a passion for religion and science. He established a presence in St. Petersburg 30 years ago when Mr. Templeton's partner, John Galbraith, brought the company's marketing and distribution arm here. Part of Franklin Resources since 1992, the Franklin Templeton Funds today employ more than 1,100 people in St. Petersburg. Mr. Templeton graduated from Yale University, earned a master's degree in law at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and ended up moving to Nassau and becoming a naturalized British citizen. He died in July in the Bahamas at the age of 95.
Dayton Andrews, founder, Dayton Andrews Chrysler, Clearwater: Mr. Andrews was a born talker. He asked the girl next door on a date their first day at college. He proposed; she accepted. For decades, he talked to television viewers, inviting them to "come trade with me under my old oak tree." Mr. Andrews rescued the oak in 1964 on the site of Massey-Andrews Plymouth. He built the dealership around the tree, stamping its image of the trees on the $2 bills lining his suit pockets. The money talked. A stranger who mentioned the oak tree to Mr. Andrews became $2 richer. Mr. Andrews died in June at age 81.
Alvah H. Chapman Jr., former CEO, Miami Herald: Mr. Chapman, one of South Florida's most influential corporate and civic leaders, was a third-generation newspaperman whose career included a stint at the St. Petersburg Times. From 1976 to 1989, he was CEO and chairman of Knight Ridder, the Herald's now-defunct corporate parent. Before arriving in Miami in 1960, Mr. Chapman was the general manager and vice president of the St. Petersburg Times, a position he attained in 1953. He died this month, on Christmas Day, at age 87.
Elaine College, former vice president of entertainment, Busch Gardens Tampa: Ms. College, an arts lover, broke ground for female executives at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. She worked at the park for 34 years, rising to become its vice president of entertainment. When she arrived, Busch Gardens was a beer house and a bird garden. By the time she left, it boasted huge draws: World Rhythms on Ice, KaTonga, Summer Nights, Howl-O-Scream. She scouted performers and launched new ideas. She demanded greatness. "Elaine would be a stickler for perfection and quality," said Donnie Mills, Busch Gardens' general manager. Ms. College died in July at age 61.
Roy Parke Jr., founder, Parkesdale Farms, Plant City: Mr. Parke was known widely as the "Strawberry King" of Hillsborough County, the winter strawberry capital of the world. Many knew about Parkesdale Farms thanks to Mr. Parke's gift at promotion, from wagon rides he gave visitors around his 150- acre property to the tourist buses that stop almost daily at the farm's store on U.S. 92 for strawberry shortcake. A risk taker, he was the first to ship strawberries to Europe in 1963. "He is certainly, without question, the most recognizable name in the Florida strawberry industry in the last 40 years," said Gary Wishnatzki, president of Wishnatzki farms in Plant City. Mr. Parke died in June at age 87.
Bernie Powell, philanthropist and former owner of the Belleview Biltmore, Clearwater: In 1946, Mr. Powell and a partner bought the Biltmore, a run-down Victorian hotel that housed soldiers in training during World War II. It was dilapidated and crumbling. A cab driver wished him luck, calling the place the "biggest white elephant on the west coast of Florida." Mr. Powell just saw hope. "There is something about that hotel that has charm. I felt it right away." In 1990, Mr. Powell sold the hotel for $27.5-million. He devoted his life to philanthropy. He died in August at the age of 96.
Harris Mullen, founder, Florida Trend magazine, St. Petersburg: The Florida native and the son of a newspaperman, Mr. Mullen worked as a reporter for the Tampa Tribune and was a U.S. Navy veteran. When he returned from serving in the Korean War, he noticed the state lacked a good business publication. He decided to change that. It worked. Florida Trend -- a sister publication of the St. Petersburg Times -- just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Under his lead, the magazine chronicled urban renewal, housing booms, branch banking, slow construction, rising gas consumption, presidential energy plans and recession. He died this month at age 84.
Charles Rice, CEO, Barnett Banks of Florida, Jacksonville: Mr. Rice ran Barnett -- the last statewide bank based in Florida -- for nearly 20 years during a tumultuous period of bank mergers and takeovers. Barnett Banks enjoyed a loyal corporate culture in which employees loved to say that they "bleed green" in keeping with Barnett's corporate color. The company, once ranked No. 1 in market share in Florida, was ultimately purchased for $15.5-billion in 1998 by NationsBank, now known as Bank of America, in a deal cut between Mr. Rice and North Carolina banker and NationsBank CEO Hugh McColl. At the time of his death, Mr. Rice was chairman of Mayport Venture Partners, a Jacksonville-based investment fund. He died this month at age 73.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist