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An outpouring of gratitude for Tampa philanthropist David Straz

The retired banker supported causes from the arts to the zoo. Here’s a sampling of reaction to his death.
David Straz Jr. passed away this week at age 77.
David Straz Jr. passed away this week at age 77. [ JAMES BORCHUCK | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Nov. 19, 2019

David Straz, the Tampa philanthropist, recent mayoral candidate and retired banker, died in Homosassa on Monday of natural causes. He was 77.

“Thinking of this man, fondly. Grateful to the good Lord for blessing me beyond measure with the most wonderful love affair ever. Genesis 2:24.”

- Catherine Lowry Straz, Straz’ widow, on Facebook

“From the University of Tampa to the Lowry Park Zoo to our performing arts center, his contributions have lifted up our community and will for generations to come.”

- Chad Chronister, Hillsborough County sheriff

RELATED STORY: David Straz died of natural causes, leaving charity worth $72 million

“I appreciated his business insight, love of Tampa General Hospital and forward thinking on U.S.-Cuba policy. I’m sending love and prayers to Catherine and their daughter.”

- U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa

“His legacy of generosity — particularly to arts and educational institutions — shines as an example to all of us in this season of Thanksgiving.”

- former Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen

“His generosity to the causes he cared about helped to shape the city we know today. His life will not be defined by a single campaign but by the totality of his life and his contributions to the greater good.”

- former Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Twitter

“He believed in me when others did not, and although I was not the best friend, I will always remember him for his kindness and generosity and for him taking a chance on a kid with a dream to serve our community on the Tampa City Council.”

- Tampa City Council member Guido Maniscalco on Facebook

RELATED STORY: For David Straz, arts philanthropy resonated through Straz Center gift

“David was very successful but it was never about the money. It was about achievement and doing what was right and helping people.”

- former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco

“I’ve known David most of my adult life. We both had cabins in Hayward, Wisconsin. He knew my dad. He knew my uncle. I will always remember him as a smiling man who loved fishing and music.

- Carrie West, president, Tampa Pride

“Just as his philanthropy changed the landscape of our city, David altered the trajectory of our school community through his strong belief in the power of the work we do.”

- Berkeley Preparatory School on Facebook

“For 20 years, Tampa General Hospital benefited from his guidance and wisdom. We appreciate both his leadership as a board member and his dedication to the health and well-being of our patients and families.”

- Tampa General Hospital

“I think he had always hoped that by our putting his name on the building — like the Morsani gift or the Ferguson gift — other people who have the capacity would emulate that, and want to give back to the community.”

- Judy Lisi, president and CEO, David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts

RELATED STORY: Tampa philanthropist David Straz Jr. dead at 77

“He was clearly very passionate about the arts, outspoken about his support not just locally but nationally. I believe ‘Just Imagine’ was not just a campaign slogan, but a personal mantra.”

- David Jenkins, artistic director, Jobsite Theatre at the Straz Center

“I will remember David as being both visionary and hands-on in helping UT transform into what it is today.”

- Ron Vaughn, president, University of Tampa

“It is hard to imagine what Tampa would be like with out Straz’s generosity. It is hard to imagine Tampa without David Straz. We already miss our friend.”

- Patrick Manteiga, publisher, La Gaceta Newspaper, on Facebook