ST. PETERSBURG — On April 24, 1950, a mentally unbalanced man shot Charles J. Schuh, a promising and popular young state legislator.
Roscoe Charlie Gifford, 72, called the act his "New Year's resolution."
It turned Schuh's wife, Kathryn, into a single mother at 36.
Mrs. Schuh put all four of their boys through college. She also remained active in Democratic Party politics and ran for Pinellas County tax collector.
Mrs. Schuh died Thursday of a stroke. She was 95.
"Mom was never afraid to speak up and say, 'Look, something needs to be done,' " said her son Charles E. Schuh, who served on the St. Petersburg City Council and as mayor in the 1970s. "She certainly was equal to anybody else. Superior to many, in my personal opinion."
Kathryn Schaden grew up in Catasauqua, Pa., and attended business school there. She moved to St. Petersburg in 1937 with her husband, who had just finished law school. They started a family.
She campaigned for him in two successful runs for the state Legislature. Her husband's murder at age 36 shocked the family. "It's hard to describe," said Charles E. Schuh, now 73. "It's a very difficult thing to absorb."
Gifford had nursed a grudge against the elder Schuh, the lawyer who had sided with Gifford's wife in several sanity hearings and a divorce. He died in the electric chair a year later.
For a while, Mrs. Schuh filled the void left by husband with activity. She played the piano, taught Sunday school at Christ United Methodist Church and served as a precinct worker. Later, she became a member of the Pinellas County Democratic Advisory Committee.
As president of the St. Petersburg Women's Democratic Club, Mrs. Schuh publicly challenged a fledgling "Suncoast Anti-Communism School" created by an Australian physician.
"This group, in my mind, is spreading hatred and fear," she said in 1961. "They distrust the federal government. I am proud of our country. We muddle along, but we usually come out all right."
In 1964, Mrs. Schuh ran for tax collector, but was defeated by incumbent O. Sanford Jasper. In 1969, both Mrs. Schuh and her son Charles challenged what they alleged was "ungentlemanly and inhumane harassment of our outstanding lady officers" by the Democratic Party advisory committee leadership. The leaders responded by expelling them.
She remained active in the church, gardening and environmental causes. She remained in her Driftwood home of 60 years, playing the piano until a couple of years ago, walking each day and watching Charlie Rose at night, her family said.
She never remarried, or discussed her late husband's murder.
Andrew Meacham can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 892-2248.