Former council member dies

Charles Shorter Jr., 72, was an Air Force veteran and SPJC teacher.

Published May 17, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - After years of teaching junior college students about government, Charles Shorter Jr. decided to become part of it.

In his first bids for public office, the political science professor fell short in seeking a seat in the Florida House of Representatives in 1972 and 1974, and the St. Petersburg City Council in 1975.

But when he again sought a council seat in 1989, success came his way.

Charles David Shorter Jr., who served on the council until 1993 and was a vice mayor, died Tuesday (May 15, 2007) at St. Anthony's Hospital. He was 72. The cause of death was not announced.

Mr. Shorter campaigned on a platform that the city was spending too much on consultants and studies. He said he had "bold new ideas" to attack such issues as crime, poor housing, economic development and deteriorating streets.

In his bid for re-election, Mr. Shorter finished last in the primary, with former council member David Welch and Frank Peterman advancing. Welch won the general election.

An outgoing man, Mr. Shorter "was a dedicated public servant, " his son, Gary Terelle, said Wednesday. Mr. Shorter's work for the Community Alliance and the NAACP showed proof of his years of public service, his son said.

In 1991, the St. Petersburg Junior College teacher received the good government award from the Pinellas County Urban League.

Born in Marianna in North Florida, Mr. Shorter came here as a child. After graduating from Gibbs High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in education from Florida A&M University.

Mr. Shorter was an Air Force veteran and police officer. He worked in retail sales and was a clerk and carrier for the Post Office.

Before joining the SPJC faculty, he taught at Pinellas High School in Clearwater and Sixteenth Street Junior High School in St. Petersburg.

Mr. Shorter served on the board of Habitat for Humanity and, over the years, was a member of the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Planning Commission and the St. Petersburg Consumer Protection Commission, School Board Advisory Committee and Pinellas County Citizens Study Commission on Education.

He was a Mason and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Mr. Shorter retired from SPJC in 1997, after a 28-year career.

Survivors include his wife of 23 years, Lessie; two sons, Gary Terelle and Reginald Muhammad, both of Atlanta; two daughters, Lynda Shorter, of Atlanta, and Monica Smith, of Ormond Beach; a stepson, Shawn Hicks, of Atlanta; two stepdaughters, Alene Faye Tyree and Deborah Thompson, both of Stone Mountain, Ga.; two sisters, Bessie Spivey, and Lucy Shorter, both of St. Petersburg; 16 grandchildren; a great-grandchild; and many cousins, nephews and nieces.

Friends may call from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Smith Funeral Home, 1534 18th Ave. S. A wake will be at 6 p.m. at Bethel Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, 3455 26th Ave. S. A funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday at the church, with burial at Florida National Cemetery southwest of Bushnell in Sumter County.

Information from Times files was used in this obituary.