Forrest Shumway, the California executive nicknamed “Shum,” who ran Signal Oil and Gas from 1968 to 1985, died on Dec. 4 in La Jolla, Calif., at age 85. The cause was reportedly complications from cancer, his son Garrett Shumway told The New York Times.

Under Shumway’s leadership, Signal grew through acquisitions including Mack Trucks and the Garrett Corp., among other companies. He established a reputation as a “white knight” through those deals, saving both companies from hostile takeovers. In 1985, Shumway oversaw the merger of the Signal with Allied Corp., which later merged into Honeywell International Inc. (Nasdaq: HON).

After his retirement, Shumway served on the boards of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), Clorox Co. (NYSE:CLX) and Transamerica Life Insurance Co. He also served on the University of Southern California’s board of trustees for years, including from 1990 for 1995 as chairman.

Shumway was a cigar-smoking outdoorsman and philanthropist focused on the arts, reports The New York Times.

Shumway was born in Skowhegan, Maine on March 21, 1927. He attended Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, joined the Marine Corps and then went to Stanford University. He is survived by his wife, Patsy Kelly, daughter Brooks Shumway, son Garrett Shumway, brother Douglas Shumway and two grandchildren. 

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