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Activist for historic estate dies at age 52

Catherine Pilkington Rucks, 52, who in the late 1990s fought to save one of the last undeveloped waterfront properties in St. Petersburg, died Friday (Jan. 30, 2004). In 1997, a developer bought the historic Rutland estate, a 9,500-square-foot mansion on 14.5 acres across the street from Ms. Rucks' house in the Little Bayou area. He planned to sell the house and 2.5 acres and build townhouses on the rest. Ms. Rucks and her neighbors formed a nonprofit organization to raise money to buy the property themselves, but they were unsuccessful.

Ms. Rucks was a lifelong resident of St. Petersburg and a graduate of Lakewood High School. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Georgia State College and a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin. She was a securities broker with William R. Hough & Co. and a textiles artist. She was a supporter of charitable organizations. She attended St. Paul's Catholic Church and was a former member of the St. Petersburg Junior League.

She is survived by her husband, Edward; two sons, Samuel and Joseph; and her father, Joseph W. Pilkington, all of St. Petersburg; three brothers, Dr. Joe Pilkington, Palm City, John "Jack" Pilkington, Sarasota, and Thomas Pilkington, Gary, Ind.; and two sisters, Melissa Pilkington, Atlanta, and Ivy Carey, Virginia Beach, Va.

Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at John S. Rhodes, East Chapel, 635 Fourth St. N. The Funeral will be at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Peter's Cathedral Church, 140 First St. N.