ST. PETERSBURG — As a young man in Canada, Frederick Shuh was one of many electronics workers in the boom years of television.
He was bright, self-motivated and, for the most part, self-taught. In relations with others, he had a way of coming to an agreement.
Mr. Shuh worked for Jerrold Electronics and its corporate parent, General Instrument, which became the largest American supplier of cable television equipment. He moved to New York, became a U.S. citizen, and rose from manufacturing manager to the top of General Instrument.
After retiring to St. Petersburg in 1989, he turned his attention to philanthropy. Contributions by Frederick and Mary Shuh have helped CASA, the Florida Orchestra and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Mr. Shuh, a major benefactor to some of the city's prized institutions, died Saturday, due to multiple health problems. He was 84.
"He probably was the most determined, tenacious person I've ever met," said Mary Shuh, his wife.
Mr. Shuh held a top position with General Instrument, perhaps the dominant provider of cable television components in the world, without a college degree.
"He was an effective negotiator," said Clifford Pipe, a former General Instrument colleague and longtime friend. "Once he determined what the goals of the negotiation were, he would stay with it for whatever time was required."
Mr. Shuh was born in Kitchener, Ontario. The young electronics worker was recruited by General Instrument, where he moved through management ranks. After a previous marriage, he married Mary in 1985.
"He said she was the most beautiful and interesting woman he had ever met," said David Connelly of the Museum of Fine Arts.
Mr. Shuh retired in 1989 as executive vice president of General Instrument and chairman of the board of Jerrold Electronics. He moved to St. Petersburg, where he and his wife donated to numerous local organizations, including a pace-setting cash contribution to the Hazel Hough Wing of the Museum of Fine Arts.
"What they did, at a key moment, was to provide the impetus for the campaign to move ahead," Connelly said. The $21 million Hough wing opened in 2008. The Mary and Fred Shuh Lobby is located on the second floor.
Mr. Shuh enjoyed boating, billiards and golf, although osteoporosis curtailed some of those activities. He dressed neatly — without ties, which he had sworn off in retirement — and was twice named to the "best groomed men" list by the Woman's Service League.
A former member of the Republican Presidential Roundtable, he admired presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and enjoyed reading political nonfiction.
Andrew Meacham can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 892-2248.