OBITUARY

David Anthony Straz Jr.

10 October, 194218 November, 2019

David A. Straz, Jr., prominent Florida banker and philanthropist, died Monday, November, 18, 2019.

He was Ambassador at Large and Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Liberia.

The son of the late David A. and Lila (Gesch) Straz, he was born October 10, 1942, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In June, 1965, he graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, where he then attended law school until he purchased his first bank in 1967, at the age of 26. He was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, National Business Scholastic Honor Society, Sigma Beta Delta, and Delta Sigma Pi.

He built banking organizations in Wisconsin and Florida, which he sold to U.S. Bank, Bank of America, and Fifth Third Bank.

On January 18, 1986, he married Catherine Louisa Lowry in Tampa, Florida. In 1995, they welcomed their precious daughter, Keebler into the world.

Active in community and business affairs, he received Honorary Doctorates from Carthage College, Catholic University of Honduras, Marquette University, Politechnic University of Honduras, and University of Liberia. He was a past chairman of the Board of Marquette University, Milwaukee, the University of Tampa, Carthage College, and Tampa General Hospital. He was a trustee/director of the Metropolitan Opera, Lowry Park Zoo Foundation, the Tampa Yacht & Country Club, the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, and the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy in Washington, D.C.

The University of Tampa dedicated its largest residence hall the “David A. Straz, Jr. Hall.” Carthage College located in Kenosha, WI, named its science center the “David A. Straz, Jr. Center for Natural and Social Sciences” ; Marquette University named its College of Business Administration building the “David A. Straz, Jr. Hall,” and named its 14-story residence hall the “David A. Straz, Jr. Tower” ; the Lowry Park Zoo named its Manatee Hospital the “David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Hospital” ; Berkeley Preparatory School dedicated the “Straz Family Field House”; and the University of Liberia dedicated the “David A. Straz, Jr. Sinje Campus.” Most recently, he joined the Wake Forest University Law Board of Visitors.

Listed in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, he was honored as “Alumnus of the Year” by Marquette University and was recognized for “Outstanding Business Leadership” by the American Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. He was knighted into the Humane Order of African Redemption.

He was King XCIX of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and a member of the Merrymakers Club, Old Memorial Golf Club, Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club, University Club, and Tampa Yacht & Country Club, all of Tampa. He also was a member of University Club of New York, Milwaukee Country Club, Blue Mound Golf & Country Club, Milwaukee, The Town Club, Milwaukee, The Milwaukee Club, Old Edwards Club, and Wade Hampton Golf Club, both of Cashiers, NC.

In 2011, the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County, Florida presented him with commendations and Keys to the City and County. The Keys to the City of Monrovia, Liberia and Comayagua, Honduras, were also presented to him.

Surviving are his devoted wife of 33 years; cherished daughter, Keebler Jerome; and his brother, Christopher M. (Janis) of Mequon, Wisconsin. Also surviving are four nieces, nine nephews, and many friends who will miss him greatly.

If you would like to remember David with a donation, he requested memorials to David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in lieu of flowers.

Active and honorary pallbearers: Chris Straz, Bill Ruetz, Stan Harrell, Jimmy Warren, Henry Ennis, George Gramling, John Mills, Charlie Yent, Tim Haggerty, Johnny Vassallo, Jim Kennedy, Phil Godin, Jim Friedman, Roger Overby, Daniel Solow, Jack Barrett, and the Homosassa-Athabasca Fishing Club.

Visitation for all who wish to celebrate him will be from 11am to 1pm on Saturday, November 23rd at the Riverwalk Tent of David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. A funeral service for family and dear friends will take place 2pm, Sunday, December 1, at The First Presbyterian Church of Tampa. Entombment at the Straz Family Mausoleum in Myrtle Hill Memorial Park, Tampa, Florida. Arrangements by Blount & Curry MacDill Funeral Home, 813-876-2421.

Services

  • Visitation

    Saturday, 23 November , 2019

  • Funeral Service for Family and Dear Friends

    Sunday, 1 December , 2019

Memories

David Anthony Straz Jr.

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Vera Tolbert

4 December 2019

I will never forget the opportunity I had to introduce Mr. Straz at the College of West Africa’s (CWA) Alumni Convention in Detroit, Michigan years ago; he asked me where I had found some of my information. Of course, I had goggled him and was so touched by his many philanthropic works. That evening, we were also honoring him for the wonderful donation he had made to the school and this was our way of thanking him.
Again, I want to say thanks to Mr. Straz for all he did for our Alma Mata, CWA and for Liberia as a whole. Words will not ever be enough to express our thanks and appreciation; and not adequate to describe the blessings we received.
I was honored to introduce him and am blessed to have known him.
May God comfort his family during this difficult time and may his soul rest in perfect peace.
Thank you,
Vera Tolbert

J . Michael Lauer

22 November 2019

David, enjoyed golf with you and your father at Blue Mound and being your guest at Old Memorial, thank you for your support to our Marquette, thank you for all that you have done for some many, you will be deeply missed , God Bless , Mike Lauer

Andy and Sue Runkel

22 November 2019

We are blessed to have made Wonderful memories with David and Catherine at the Straz Center in February, 2016 to see Patti LaBelle. And also for the many days Andy spent enjoying many great golf courses in Wisconsin and Florida with David. These times will be cherished forever!! Our deepest sympathy to Catherine and Keebler. May God hold you in the palm of his hands. ❤️

Stanley Wilson

22 November 2019

My girls really enjoyed this wonderful man who will be greatly missed😇

Martin Silbiger

22 November 2019

A true privilege for Ruth and I to know David. With his wonderful family he led our community to great heights. He was funny and happy as well as brilliant. We particularly enjoyed our time with him on a great trip to Cuba. He will be missed. We have lost a great citizen.

Valerie and Doug Blitzer

22 November 2019

Our deepest condolences to you and Keebler. We remember fun times with you at Gymboree, play dates, concerts and restaurants. We often think of the wonderful accomplishments of David, and of your family’s generous contributions to Tampa. Although we will be out-of-town on Saturday, please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Much love.

Evonne Kostantenaco

21 November 2019

I will always cherish Mr Straz and his wonderful sense of humor during tiring days of the campaign for Mayor of our great city he loved so much. I totally will miss him greatly. Prayers for Catherine and family for strength and peace. He has received his great reward and crown. Til we meet once more Rest in heaven!💜🙏💜

WILLIAM RUETZ

21 November 2019

CATHERINE, I'm so sorry. He was a great man. If you would leave me your cell number at wjr@reagan.com or 262 498 0535 I like to see you when I'm down there, the only numbers I have are Davids.

R VIJAYANAGAR

21 November 2019

I have known David for many years in the Tampa Bay Community from Chairman Board of Trustees at the Tampa General Hospital to University of Tampa Board of Trustees, this a heartfelt loss for all of us and we are going to miss him.
I extend my deepest sympathies to family members and please accept our heartiest condolences.

Regards,
Dr. R. Vijay, M.D
Kathy Vijayanagar
Anil Kumar, M.D

Dennis Rouse

21 November 2019

David was a good man who did great things. I met him thru a friend, Stan Harrel, and when we saw each other he always treated me like we’d known each other forever.
We’ll miss Dave, or as I called him Mr Straz. His passing is not only a loss for his family, but for Tampa and all of his many friends. Thank you for your friendship, Mr Straz.

From the Family