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Monday January 14, 2013

STRAUS, Oscar S., II

Chairman Emeritus of the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation, and the Fred Lavanburg Foundation, died from complications of Alzheimer's Disease on January 11, 2013 at his weekend home in Bellport, New York. Born in Manhattan on November 6th, 1914, Mr. Straus was the son of Gladys Guggenheim Straus and Roger W. Straus. He attended St. Paul's School, Princeton University, The University of Dijon, and the Harvard Business School. After serving as the private secretary to the Director General of The International Labor Organization in Geneva, he joined the United States Foreign Service. He was Vice Consul in Montreal until World War II, when he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard with the rank of Lt. (j.g.) and was assigned to the Intelligence Section of the Department of State as a Divisional Assistant. In 1945, he joined the American Smelting and Refining Company as Vice President and Chairman of the Finance Committee. From 1959 to 1973, he was a partner in Guggenheim Brothers and in 1973, formed Straus Minerals, which he operated until 1988. He has served on many corporate boards, including The Dry Dock Savings Bank, The New York Trust Co., ASARCO, Revere Copper and Brass Co., Camborne Mines, Companion Life, and Mutual of Omaha. His community service was extensive. In 1974, he became President of two family foundations, The Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation and the Fred L. Lavanburg Foundation and continued to serve as Chairman of both until 2008 when he became chairman emeritus. During his tenure as president, Mr. Straus shifted the focus of the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation to the field of criminal justice, establishing the Guggenheim Research Program and Teaching Activities in Criminal Justice at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; the Guggenheim Program at the Yale Law School; the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Chair in Criminal Justice Policy and Management at Harvard's Kennedy school of Government and the Guggenheim Criminal Justice Program at Berkeley's Center for the Study of Law and Society. In 1995, the foundation established the Oscar S. Straus II fellowship program at Princeton and Columbia universities. He was a vocal proponent of community policing, and supported a number of programs with the Citizens Committee for New York City and was honoured with that organization's Philanthropy Award in 1997 and the Women's Prison Association Medal in 1992. He is a Past President and Honorary Trustee of Temple Emanu-El, and past chairman of the Council of Christians and Jews, trustee emeritus of The American Museum of Natural History, Mystic Seaport, and the Megantic Fish and Game Club; Honorary chairman of The Rensselaerville Institute and a Past President of The Theodore Roosevelt Association. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations for 58 years, and served for several years as a member of the Economic Committee at Princeton University. An ardent fly fisherman and sailor, Mr. Straus was a member of the Cruising Club of America and a former member of the New York Yacht Club and member of the Megantic Fish & Game Club. Survived by his wife, Joan (Sutton), his son, Oscar S. Straus III, a step daughter, Deborah Sutton and her husband Mark Robie, and a stepson, Walter John Sutton as well as five grandsons, David, William, Daniel and Adam Straus, and step grandson, Leon Straus Robie; two great granddaughters, Meghan and Laura Straus, and his sister, Florence Straus Hart of Chicago. Predeceased by his brother, Roger W. Straus Jr. and his former wife, Marion Miller Straus O'Brien. The family extends its thanks to caregivers Eugene Cruz and Martha Murch, Visiting Nurse Alice Manso, Dr. Sergio Schwartzman, and the entire staff of The Irving Sherwood Wright Center on Aging and the Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Hospice Service. Services: Tuesday, January 15, 1 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, Fifth Avenue at 65 St. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City or The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation.

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