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Robert P. STRAUSS

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Robert P. STRAUSS Obituary
STRAUSS, Robert P.

Heir to Pep Boys Fortune, Renowned Arbitrageur, Noted Philanthropist and Long time Manalapan Resident: Robert P. Strauss dies. Longtime Manalapan, FL resident, Pep Boys executive and scion, renowned arbitrageur, and beloved father and husband Robert Perry Strauss passed away peacefully on March 20, 2014 at his home surrounded by family. He was 82. Born in Philadelphia, Robert "Bob" was raised in Merion, PA, where he was a graduate of the Episcopal Academy. An outstanding athlete Robert led Episcopal in Varsity basketball and alone, was chosen All-Philadelphia in years 1948 and 1949, awarding him honor athletic scholarships to both Brown and Duke University. He chose Duke where he was coached by the legendary Red Auerbach, and quickly named "All Southern Conference" during his Freshman year. During college Bob helped his father, Maurice "Moe" Strauss, Founder of Pep Boys Auto Stores - Manny, Moe & Jack move the family out to California, where they purchased the famed "Vistra Bel-Air", a former 60 acre estate in Bel Air. Known for his "Cary Grant" strikingly handsome good looks, sharp wit, romantic charm and distinguished reserve, it was in Los Angeles where after a brief audition, Robert was discovered for his stage acting ability also and was cast in the starring role of Shakespeare's "Hamlet". In 1952 he met dancer/movie and television actress and co-star of Walt Disney's "Mark of Zorro" Eugenia (Popova) Paul during a celebrity party at the Hollywood Bowl. They were married in 1958, until her death in 2010. Robert and Eugenia relocated to Dallas, TX where Bob became regional Vice President for Pep Boys and in 1970 returned to Philadelphia again, making Bryn Mawr his home to join Pep Boys' board of directors and serve as an executive at company headquarters for the next 30 years. In the mid-1980s when financial leveraging was all the rage, Robert's conservative business philosophy, like that of his father's, inspired Bob to sell his share of company stock at its all time high and leave Pep Boys to foray into his own capital investment management, namely risk arbitrage wherein he amassed a greater fortune, revered and respected by those known to him in the industry. His oldest daughter Kimberly explains: "Even those with whom he clashed, admired and respected him both personally and professionally. He was strong, resolute and steadfast, and also very sweet. He let his business acumen speak for itself and despite his accomplishments my father was never too proud, nor pretentious. Instead he was always genuine and sincere. He had values; he personified nobility." In 1985 he and Eugenia retired to Boca Raton, Florida and in 1987 they purchased the magnificent c.1925 ocean side estate "Mia Encantada" in Manalapan, FL. A long time, ardent philanthropist, both personally and through his trusteeship of the national Strauss Foundation, Robert's charitable contributions were broad and vast. Most recently he and Eugenia were best known for their leadership contributions to Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, Miami City Ballet, Palm Beach Opera, and the Jewish Federation in Palm Beach County. Robert is survived by his children: Kimberly V. Strauss of New York, NY, Wendy L. Strauss, of Winnetka, IL, Baron K. Strauss, of Calabasas, CA, and grandchildren: George, Ryan and Brody Dowd. Mr. Strauss' funeral service schedule for Sunday - March 23, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. at Rubin Memorial Chapel, 7340 Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach, FL 33437 (561) 853-3000.

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Published in The Palm Beach Post from Mar. 22 to Mar. 23, 2014
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