Connect with us


Tampa philanthropist David Straz Jr. dies

Margie Manning



David Straz (Photo credit: David Straz for Mayor)

David A. Straz Jr., a businessman who became one of the area’s most generous philanthropists, has died. He was 77 years old. He passed away in his sleep while on a fishing trip with close friends, according to a statement from the David A. Straz Jr. Foundation. The foundation said it would release funeral plans once they are final.

Mr. Straz was the namesake for the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.

Straz ran for Tampa mayor earlier this year, losing to Jane Castor.

Former Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he also was saddened by the loss. “His generosity to the causes he cared about helped to shape the City we know today. His life will not be defined a single campaign but by the totality of his life and his contributions to the greater good,” Buckhorn said.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman also commented on Straz’ legacy.

Two years after graduating from college,  Straz acquired a small country bank near Milwaukee, Wisconsin and built First Southeast Banking Corp., which eventually became part of U. S. Bank, according to Carthage College, where he was chairman of the board of trustees until last year. In Florida, he built Southern Exchange Bank in the Tampa-St. Pete area, selling it to Southern Exchange in 2003. It now operates as the Florida Gulf Coast branches of Fifth Third Bank.

Jack Barrett, president and CEO of First Citrus Bank, recalled Straz’ banking legacy.

Others impacted by Straz’ generosity also said he would be missed.

Mr. Straz was a former chairman of Florida Health Sciences Center, the governing body of Tampa General Hospital, which issued a statement Tuesday morning:

“We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of David A. Straz, Jr. 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. He was deeply committed to improving the health of Tampa Bay residents. He brought the same enthusiasm to improving the economic and artistic health of our city. We are inspired by his passion to make Tampa a better, healthier and more vibrant place to live and work. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with David’s wife, Catherine; their daughter; and the rest of the family during this sad time.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By posting a comment, I have read, understand and agree to the Posting Guidelines.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

Email us:

Subscribe for Free

Share with friend

Enter the details of the person you want to share this article with.