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Ex-Pinellas Democratic leader 'Larry' Hyman dies at 71

CRAIG BASSE
Published September 19, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG - Lawrence "Larry" Hyman, a former Pinellas Democratic Party chairman who unsuccessfully ran for the County Commission in 1996, has died.

Mr. Hyman, 71, who worked for Democrat Michael Dukakis in Massachusetts and Republican Connie Mack in Florida, died Wednesday (Sept. 17, 2003) in the emergency room of St. Anthony's Hospital.

The cause of death was not announced.

Arriving in Florida as a Democrat, he switched his party affiliation to the GOP to serve in 1982 as finance manager for Mack's first run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

A decade later, Mr. Hyman became a Democrat again to work in Bill Clinton's presidential campaign.

"It's just an aberration that I was a Republican," he said as he geared up for the County Commission race. He was the first Democrat to announce his intention that year to seek a commission seat.

It was the dearth of Democratic candidates that prompted him to run, he said.

"I really do believe in the two-party government and we don't have that here," he said, referring to the commission, which was all Republican at the time. "I think this is going to be a great year for Democrats, I really do."

In the election, Mr. Hyman received 43 percent of the vote and lost to incumbent Republican Bob Stewart.

Mr. Hyman, who went on to become chairman of the Pinellas County Democratic Party, worked as the administrator of the Community Law Program, a nonprofit group that matches lawyer-volunteers with poor clients. Before moving to St. Petersburg, he served on city councils in Cape Coral and Southbridge, Mass.

"I am a community fanatic, I really am," he said.

Born in New York, he came to Florida from Southbridge, where he was finance director for the state of Massachusetts under Gov. Dukakis, the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988.

He was a member and past president of the Florida Boy Scouts of America and received the Silver Antelope and Silver Beaver awards.

He was a past lieutenant governor of the Kiwanis Club and Toastmasters in St. Petersburg. He was a recipient of the Best Toastmaster of Pinellas County award. He was an actor in local theater groups.

Survivors include a sister, Rita Feenan, North Fort Myers; and a nephew, Howard Feenan, Cape Coral.

A gathering of friends will be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Beth David South Chapel of David C. Gross Funeral Homes, 6366 Central Ave. A memorial service will be at 3 p.m.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the Boy Scouts of America, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, Irving, Texas, 75015-2079.

- Information from Times files was used in this obituary.

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