Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Charles E. Schuh

Ex-St. Petersburg mayor Charles Schuh dies

ST. PETERSBURG — Former mayor Charles E. Schuh, a lawyer who fought for civic causes in and out of office, died Friday after a 15-month bout with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 73.

Born in St. Petersburg, Mr. Schuh, attended St. Petersburg High School, St. Petersburg Junior College and the University of Florida, where he earned undergraduate and law degrees.

His interest in public service began well before that.

As a fifth-grader at North Ward Elementary, he accompanied his father, then-state Rep. Charles J. Schuh Jr. to Tallahassee and served as a page for Gov. Fuller Warren.

As a junior college student, he circulated petitions door to door to stop dredge-and-fill projects like Bayway Isles. His wife, Jean Schuh, remembers one early date when he took her to a Pinellas County Commission meeting and spoke against a dredging project at Tierra Verde.

"I thought it was thrilling,'' she recalled Friday. "I loved him since high school. I thought he was absolutely marvelous.''

Mr. Schuh's life took a traumatic turn at age 14, when a mentally ill litigant shot and killed his father. Mr. Schuh's mother, Kathryn, was left at age 36 to raise him and three younger brothers.

Active in Democratic politics, she once ran for tax collector. She died in August at age 95.

Mr. Schuh served on the City Council from 1971 through 1975 and then as mayor until 1977. In that era, the mayor was the council's titular head. An appointed city manager ran St. Petersburg.

During his tenure with city government, St. Petersburg created one of the nation's most progressive recycled water systems. The council updated and scaled back a World War II-era land-use plan that allowed for so much multifamily housing that the city could have grown to 600,000 residents.

But much of his civic legacy came after he left the council.

In the 1980s, the council, business interests and the St. Petersburg Times favored an extensive retail development called Pier Park, designed to revitalize the city's aging core. It would have extended from Second Street down to the waterfront.

Mr. Schuh became the opposition's point man at public meetings and was widely credited with derailing the project when voters turned it down.

"Charlie's a real bulldog,'' then-councilman J.W. Cate said at the time. "He knows what he wants, and he's got the ability to get it.''

A scaled-down version of that project evolved into BayWalk.

Schuh was also credited with brokering the deal that led to the renovation of the old Vinoy Park hotel — then a boarded-up hulk. A developer wanted a 94-slip marina and preservationists opposed it.

Shuttling between the groups, Schuh persuaded the developer to accept 74 slips and the renovation proceeded. The compromise also included a charter amendment to give city park and waterfront property extra protections before any sale or lease.

Mr. Schuh maintained a civil law practice with his brother Daniel for many years out of their office on Mirror Lake Drive. He and his wife lived 46 years in a home in Lakewood Estates.

An avid woodworker, he built furniture and boxes from fine wood inlaid with stone. Some sold at craft stores. Mr. Schuh was a fixture at Lakewood High School volleyball games when his daughter Laura played there, Once a year, she recalled, he paid for a team dinner. When he entered the gym the crowd would yell "Schoooo.''

He liked to get down on the floor and play with his three grandchildren. "He said he never wanted to work for a big firm because he needed time off to be with his family,'' daughter Laura Riiska recalled. "He didn't make a million dollars, but he left us with very, very important memories.''

Information from Times files was used in this story.

Biography

Charles E. Schuh

Born: Jan. 31, 1936

Died: Dec. 18, 2009

Survivors: wife Jean; daughters Laura Riiska and husband, Dana, and Diana Schuh and husband, Crew Kinnard; brothers John, Robert and Daniel Schuh, and three grandchildren.

Services: A memorial service will be held in early January.

Ex-St. Petersburg mayor Charles Schuh dies 12/18/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 18, 2009 11:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Do you want Walmart in your home when you're not?

    Retail

    Delivery workers who drop off Walmart groceries may soon also bring them into your kitchen and unload them into your refrigerator, even if you're not home.

    Delivery workers who drop off Walmart groceries may soon also bring them into your kitchen and unload them into your refrigerator, even if you're not home.
[ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   Times file photo]

  2. Tampa Repertory's 'Flying' soars in some places, sputters in others

    Stage

    TAMPA — Tampa Repertory Theatre has always insisted on putting on plays that mean something. Several shows over the last couple of years have zeroed in on the social and cultural baggage that comes with being female (The Children's Hour, Silent Sky and Grounded come to mind). None of those …

    The Southeastern premiere of Flying, Sheila Cowley's play at Tampa Repertory Theatre about veterans of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots, includes (from left) Holly Marie Weber, Rosemary Orlando, and Becca McCoy. Photo by Megan Lamasney.
  3. Bucs-Vikings: What could make Tampa Bay's defense elite again

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The last time the Bucs had a top-five defense also happens to be when they last appeared in the postseason.

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) celebrates after recovering a fumble by Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Top 5 at noon: Detours, delays on I-75 in Pasco; last call for New World Brewery; and more

    News

    Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.

    Road crews clean up a mess of crash debris - and pumpkins - left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash on Interstate 75 in Pasco County on Sept. 22, 2017. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Trumps travel ban to be replaced by restrictions tailored to certain countries

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, the New York Times reports, citing officials familiar with the plans.

    President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, officials familiar with the plans said Friday. The new restrictions, aimed at preventing security threats from entering the United States, could go into effect Sunday after the conclusion of a 90-day policy review undertaken as part of the administration's original travel ban. Though the restrictions would differ for each country, people living in the targeted nations could be prevented from traveling to the United States or could face increased scrutiny as they seek to obtain a visa. [Associated Press]