From his office or a boardroom or a bar stool for a drink after work, R.B. “Chips”
Shore had one common theme say those who knew him well: He loved to chat with people, especially if he was giving or getting advice.
Shore, the longest serving clerk of the courts in Manatee County, died July 29 at home. He was 74.
A lifelong Manatee County resident, Shore was first elected to the position of Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller in 1976. And he wasn't done: He recently filed to run for a 10th term.
Former Manatee County Commissioner Pat Glass, who was in office for 28 years, says Shore was a confidant and counselor during many political battles. Glass says Shore was “sharp and shrewd” and he could see through people who might not have the best motives. Glass often met up with Shore after work, in some downtown Bradenton bars and restaurants, where they talked for a while, mostly about issues and a little about family and non-work life.
“I depended on him,” says Glass. “We talked about things all the time.”
Shore was also one of the most recognized and accomplished circuit court clerks in Florida. A method he and his office developed to access online court records without compromising security, for example, was adopted statewide last year. Other technological advances on Shore's watch include e-filing and Smart Bench, a judicial application for judges to access court records.
Shore, whose birth name is Richard Bailey Shore III, was the clerk and treasurer for the city of Bradenton prior to his first countywide election victory. “He was a visionary who understood the importance of using technology to improve government transparency and accessibility,” says Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker, a longtime friend, in a statement. “We had a great relationship and I will truly miss him.”
Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, in an interview, says she was always impressed with Shore's ability to articulate his mission and goals for the clerk's office to any audience. “He was a kind man,” adds Whitmore, who knew Shore for nearly 25 years. “He was the epitome of how a public official should be.”
Shore's family, according to his obituary, will remember him as a “bit leprechaun, a bit MacGyver, very much a visionary, a renaissance man, and a lover of family and life.”
Shore is survived by his wife of 52 years, Carol, four daughters and six grandchildren. A memorial service following a visitation is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8 at 2 p.m. at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium, 1005 First Ave. W., Bradenton.