Robert "Bob" Hermann, a prominent businessman, civic leader and philanthropist, died April 5, 2020, at the age of 97 in his home with his loving family by his side. Son of Fredrick A. and Evelyn Ringen Hermann, he was predeceased by two wives, Lilly Busch Hermann and Mary Lee Marshall Hermann. He is survived by two children, Carlota "Lotsie" Hermann Holton (Rick), and Robert R. Hermann, Jr. (Signa); four step-children, Robert, Lesley, Mark, and Stephen Scherer. Predeceased by daughter Christy Busch Hermann. He was known as "GoGo" (an apt name, giving his prodigious energy) by his grandchildren, Christy Holton Hubbard (Ezra), Richard Holton, Jr. (Kristen), Robert Holton (Katie), Lacey Hermann Petersen (Charlie), Merrill Hermann, Robert Hermann III, and his eight great-grandchildren. Hermann was a graduate of St. Louis Country Day and Princeton University, where he performed in the Princeton Triangle and was on the Crew Team. He then joined the United States Navy and was commissioned as an ensign and served in the Pacific Theater as a flight deck officer on the aircraft carrier USS Savo Island. Hermann held the rank of lieutenant during the crucial final years of the war and was honored with a Presidential Unit Citation among other battle stars, as part of "the greatest generation". In 1967, Hermann brought professional soccer to the United States, creating and chairing the National Professional Soccer League, and bringing The Stars soccer team to St. Louis. The Hermann Trophy is awarded annually in his honor to the most valuable college soccer player in the U.S. It is soccer's oldest and most prestigious award, equivalent to the Heisman trophy. St. Louis University's Soccer stadium was named for him in 1999, he was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in New York in 2001, and into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame in 2012. In 1981, Hermann founded the VP Fair, now known as Fair St. Louis. Known by many as "America's Biggest Birthday Party", the event serves to unite the region and promote the City of St. Louis to the world. Over the years, the Fair has seen entertainers such as Elton John and Bob Hope. 2020 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Fair. Hermann was named the St. Louis "Citizen of the Year", Honored as "Man of the Year" by the St. Louis Variety Club, and received the "St. Louis Award", for his numerous contributions to the St. Louis community. He envisioned the International Center for Tropical Ecology as a partnership between the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. He loved business as President of Hermann Companies and its affiliates. As a volunteer he enjoyed being involved as a leader, innovator, and on the board of many civic and cultural institutions in his beloved city of St. Louis. Chairman of the St. Louis Zoo, Chairman of The Muny, BJC Health, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Symphony, and the Arts and Education Council among others. Bob and Mary Lee loved Harbor Springs, Michigan, boating, bike trips with friends, duck hunting, playing piano, and countless other adventures. In addition to his pride in his beautiful family, he may best be remembered by his friends as the consummate host and life of every party with his infectious laughter and never-ending supply of good stories. One of his good friends possibly exemplifies him best 'He was an inspiration to the next generation of St. Louisans. There is nothing better you can say about someone than they inspired another generation to do something great for the community". The family would like to extend special thanks to "RH's" executive assistant for 58 years, the late Dodie Frank, and his loyal and devoted caregivers, Mark Duquette, Lilie Daves, Dorothy Hart, and Becky Areford, and all the wonderfully kind and caring doctors and nurses. A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to either: Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Drive, St. Louis, MO 63110, The MUNY, 1 Theatre Drive, St. Louis, MO 63112, St. Louis ZOO, Government Drive, St. Louis, MO 63110.
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Published in Palm Beach Daily News on Apr. 26, 2020.