Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Robert Dressler

Television industry pioneer Robert Dressler dies at 83

TAMPA — Even in his 80s, well after he'd retired from his breakthrough work in color television and other technological advances, Robert Dressler kept his mind as sharp as ever.

Instead of crossword and Sudoku puzzles, he did complicated math and physics problems out of science books.

Not wanting to spend his senior years idle, he served in highly influential roles on various University of South Florida foundation and research advisory boards.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Dressler was attending an investment committee meeting at USF when he collapsed and died. He was 83.

A few hours later, the school sent out the news in a statement that included condolences from Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and USF president Judy Genshaft, who marveled at Mr. Dressler's generosity and intelligence.

"He was kind of like our own Einstein," said Paul Sanberg, a USF professor and longtime friend.

"He was a genius and one of the nicest and most humble people," Sanberg said. "Even though a lot of important decisions have been made because of him, he really didn't want to get credit. He just wanted to help."

Mr. Dressler held bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Columbia University, later earning an honorary doctorate from USF.

After serving in the Navy in World War II, he was involved in electronic research in television, military electronics, and satellite reconnaissance for the Defense Department. He served on the national committee that formulated the first color television standard for the United States.

In the 1970s, Mr. Dressler became president and chief executive of Crown Industries, a small building materials manufacturer, building it into a major enterprise. From there he joined Raymond James and Associates in 1987, finishing his career as the managing director of corporate finance.

He also contributed to Tampa's Riverwalk project, the Upper Pinellas County Association for Retarded Citizens and the Tampa Jewish Federation. He was a national board member of the Museum of Science and Industry and served on the board of the Florida Orchestra.

Mr. Dressler and his wife, Edith, had three daughters.

"I am the luckiest woman alive to have been his wife for 40 years," Edith Dressler said in the USF news release.

"There's only one Robert Dressler on the planet, and there will never be another like him."

Television industry pioneer Robert Dressler dies at 83 11/19/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 11:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays' Evan Longoria: "We have all the belief in the world in here"


    The weekend sweep by Texas and four-game overall losing streak has some Rays fans - based on their tweets and emails - questioning the team's ability to make the playoffs and suggesting they might as well trade away their key parts.

  2. FWC: Fish away for invasive lionfish


    Times staff

    What could be better than fishing and helping save the Gulf of Mexico?

    Add prizes.

    Lionfish, originally from the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, are an invasive species in the Gulf of Mexico. [LARA CERRI  |  Times]
  3. Gerald McCoy cares too much about what you think of him

    The Heater

    Gerald McCoy is right. We are going to miss him when he's gone.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is one of 16 players to record at least five sacks in each of the past five seasons. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Ronde Barber says comments about McCoy 'sensationalized'


    If anyone thinks Ronde Barber was throwing shade at Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, think again.

    "That anyone would assume I would say the best player on the defense isn’t a bad dude is irresponsible and sensationalizing a quote to serve their own means,'' Ronde Barber said.
  5. Nine years later, library attack victim Queena works at learning to walk again


    Slowly, Queena Phu is learning the act of walking again through exercises in locomotion, strength and balance.

    Queena Phu of Tampa and prosecutor Rita Peters arrive at the Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center on Monday.
 Phu, 27, has endured a long road to recovery after suffering brain damage from a brutal attack that left her unable to walk, talk, see or eat on her own. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]