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Victor Shul

1919 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Victor Shul Obituary
Victor Shul of St. Petersburg, Florida, peacefully passed away on June 20th, into the arms of the Lord he worshipped and, as he so deeply desired, reunited with his beloved wife. Born in Clifton, New Jersey in 1919, Victor is preceded in death by his cherished wife of 67 years, Blanche, and his beloved eldest son, Victor. He is survived by his daughter, Maureen Shul of Castle Pines, Colorado, and son, Brian Shul, of Marysville, California, as well as two brothers, Mike and Rudy.

Enlisted in the Marines 3 years before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Victor served in China, narrowly escaped the Bataan Death March, and went on to serve in the Pacific theater during WW II, survived the Korean War, and served a tour in Vietnam. He retired as a CWO-4 with 33 years of distinguished service.

A graduate of the Navy School of Music, Victor served as director of the Marine Corps band during which time he taught himself to play every instrument proficiently and exceptionally, rising from a private in the band, to the senior, and most respected band officer in the Marine Corps. Marines first, it was his band unit that provided combat security outposts for the Da Nang Airbase during the Viet Nam Conflict where his unit solely repelled an enemy attack and was recognized by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. In 1971, after retiring from the Marine Corps, Vic and Blanche Shul settled in St. Petersburg, Florida. A few years later, he was hired by the Admiral Farragut Academy to help establish a music department for the students. He taught there for 11 years, his dedicated work being celebrated in May of this year when the Academy honored him by establishing the Victor Shul Award, to be presented to the top students annually. Victor was also director of the St. Petersburg City Sunshine Band and a member of the New Yorkers, a local dance band for many years at the Coliseum.

Up until a year ago, Victor was still involved with his musical instrument repair business, recognized worldwide for the meticulous craftsmanship that professional musicians could not find anywhere else. Those fortunate to know him through this aspect of his life remember well the intricate workshop in his garage, where he actually invented tools to do the precision work on musical instruments that no one else could do. From 1979-2013 musicians from all over the country converged at one time or another in Vic Shul's garage, where conversations often ran deep, knowledge was shared, and the sound of a Dixieland clarinet or jazz band saxophones could often be heard. Truly in love with his craft, Vic Shul only charged for his materials, never counting the labor or his time. He performed his last repair at age 94, when shaky hands and failing eyesight caused him to retire an era that touched so many lives from The Boston Pops, to the Chicago Symphony, to Bourbon Street jazz to the Disney Dixieland groups to those performers at the Sacramento Jazz Festivals, just to name a few.

A man of deep faith, Victor's life was his testimony to everyone he knew and met. It is telling of the man that those who served with him in the Marine Corps, as well as his students at the Academy, are all quick to talk of how he impacted their lives, their values and faith, and rarely ever mention the music. Music is what he did professionally. Being a man of real faith, compassion and high moral integrity is who he was and how he will be remembered. Beyond all his renowned professional achievements was the deep and abiding love he had for his wife of 67 years, Blanche, and his devotion and steadfast care for her for 8 years after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and then pancreatic cancer. He was the epitome, in every sense, of love, family, faith and service. To come in contact with him was to discard asking what you expected from life and to search for every opportunity to use your talents and gifts to make the world a different, better place. And that he did.

He was a Marine, a musician, and a mentor, as well as husband and father, and in every sense of the word, a true hero with genuine humility. He leaves a void in the lives of those who loved him that can never be filled. He will be interned at the Sarasota National Veteran's Cemetery in Florida where he will be laid to rest alongside his wife Blanche.

President Ronald Reagan once said, "...some people go through their lives wondering if they ever made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem." Victor Shul, Semper Fi.
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Published in Appeal Democrat from June 26 to June 28, 2015
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