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    Ex-TV reporter adjusts to life in the rich lane

    By MICHAEL CANNING

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published October 13, 2001


    It may seem as though Cathy Unruh's life became a fairy tale when she quit her job as a TV reporter to marry a multimillionaire. But it wasn't as easy as it might seem, she says.

    "It was a major adjustment," said Unruh, 43. "The first six months were kind of difficult, actually."

    She resigned in May 1999 after eight years with WTVT-TV Ch. 13 to marry Tom Sansone, 52, former president of St. Petersburg electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit. According to Jabil's latest proxy, he holds a 3.2 percent stake of the company's stock, worth about $145-million.

    They have a home on Redington Beach, a condominium on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, an 80-foot Lazarra yacht, and a Pilatus PC-XII private plane. Half the time they're away on the yacht, cruising to Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada, the Great Lakes.

    A glamorous life to be sure, but also completely different from what Unruh was used to. "It was pretty much like a 360," she said laughing. Unruh, who made nerve-wracking live shots look easy, missed the "adrenaline buzz" of television news. "But you adjust," she added.

    Part of her adjustment is a project she's been somewhat guarded about -- writing a collection of short stories. She vows not to let anyone read a word until it's completed, but says it is mainly "character vignettes." Unruh adds that her work is inspired by author Joyce Carol Oates.

    Unruh also serves on the board of directors for the University of Tampa, WEDU-Ch. 3, the Spring Auxiliary, Devil Rays' Rays of Hope Foundation and the American Heart Association. She also is active in charities of her Gasparilla krewe, Agustina De Aragon.

    Unruh says they don't plan to have children. Sansone has two from a previous marriage. Their cats Freddy and Frisco join them on their cruises.

    Other than remaining in the bay area, Unruh said, "We kind of don't know what the future holds. But that's part of the adventure."

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