UPDATED: Chicago produce leader Bob Strube Sr. dies

01/14/2010 07:10:56 PM
Bruce Blythe

Bob Strube Jr., 67, chairman of the family company, recalled his father as a tireless, financially conservative workaholic who often arrived at the business by 4 a.m. and toiled seven days a week. He’d also put family to work at a young age, starting his son at $1 a day.

“I was down here at age 12 cleaning offices,” Bob Strube Jr. said. “He always said work is a blessing.”

Roger Jones, who formerly ran Rupert, Idaho-based Rolland Jones Potatoes, said Strube Sr. was a big customer of his, and remembered Strube Sr. as an astute, fair and honest businessman.
 
"When you're shipping fresh produce halfway across the country, you need to have someone on the receiving end who knows what they're doing," Jones said. "He took care of the customers on one end and took care of the growers on the other end. Guys like that you can't replace."

Strube Sr. was also an ardent anti-hunger activist, donating warehouse space to help get the Greater Chicago Food Depository off the ground. In its first year of operation, the depository distributed 471,000 pounds of food from 22 donors to 85 agencies, according to the organization’s Web site.

“One of his goals was to end hunger in the U.S. by 2000,” Bob Strube Jr. said. “You can’t say hunger has been eliminated, but he’s made progress, and it’s been carried on by other people.”

“It was a grass-roots movement he helped establish,” Bob Strube Jr. said. “He lived his life to eliminate hunger. He made sure surplus produce got into the right channels so it never went to waste.”

Besides his son and daughter, he is survived by six grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

The Strube family plans visitation services from 3 to 8 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Donnellan Family Funeral Home in Skokie, Ill. A funeral service is scheduled for 1 p.m. at North Shore United Methodist Church in Glencoe, followed by burial in Memorial Park Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Bob and Helen Strube Freedom from Hunger Fund, in care of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place, Chicago, 60632, or the North Shore United Methodist Church, according to the Strube family.

Staff writer Dawn Withers contributed to this article.

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