Make us your home page

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.


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

  1. Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg and ex-cheerleader Lynn Aronberg finalize their divorce


    In announcing that her divorce was settled this week, Lynn Aronberg said the reason for the split in part was because she supports President Donald Trump and her Democratic husband does not.

    Dave and Lynn Aronberg were married on St. Pete Beach in May 2015.
  2. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations


    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.


    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Boy Scouts apologize over Trump's remarks at jamboree


    Facing an angry backlash from parents and former members, the chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America apologized on Thursday for political remarks made by President Donald Trump at the organization's national jamboree this week, during which the commander-in-chief crowed over his election victory, attacked the news …

    President DonaldTrump, front left, gestures as former boys scouts, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, left, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, watch at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Glen Jean, W.Va. Boy Scouts president Randall Stephenson told the Associated Press on Wednesday, July 26, in his first public comments on the furor over President Donald Trump's speech on Monday that he'd be "disingenuous" if he suggested he was surprised by the Republican president's comments. [Associated Press]
  4. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports


    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  5. Hit-run driver who refused to leave van threatened to shoot, Hillsborough deputies say

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eddie Carly Colon Soto peeked his head out the broken side window of his van as a SWAT team closed in.

    The driver of this van tried to flee the scene of a crash in north Tampa Thursday morning until he could travel no farther, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. Then he refused to leave the van and threatened sheriff's deputies, they said. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]