Tampa philanthropist David Straz dies at 77

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: David Straz (R) and wife Catherine Lowry Straz speak at Tampa Pride’s 2019 VIP Sponsor Party March 28. Photo by Dylan Todd.

TAMPA | Tampa philanthropist and former Tampa mayoral candidate David A. Straz Jr. has passed away. He was 77.

David A. Straz Jr. Foundation spokesman Jarrod Holbrook announced Straz’s passing in a statement late Nov. 18. “It is with a heavy heart the Straz family regrets to inform you that while on a recent fishing trip with close friends David A. Straz, Jr. passed away peacefully in his sleep,” he shared.

While Straz lost his mayoral bid to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor earlier this year, he is best known for his dedication to the arts. In 2009, Tampa’s Straz Center for the Performing Arts took his name after he donated the then-largest individual philanthropic gift made to a cultural institution in Tampa Bay.

“My wife, Catherine, my daughter, Keebler, and I are happy to invest in the performing arts in Tampa and to help guarantee a wonderful experience for generations to come,” Straz said at the time.

Community leaders and organizations reacted to Straz’s death following the news.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Straz Center mourns the sudden passing of David A. Straz, Jr.,” the Straz Center shared. “We cannot thank him enough for not only his commitment to our performing arts center, but also his great love of this community. He will be missed.”

It is with a heavy heart that the Straz Center mourns the sudden passing of David A. Straz, Jr. We cannot thank him…

Posted by Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, November 18, 2019

‪”I’m saddened to hear about the passing of Mr. Straz,” Mayor Castor wrote. “David’s indelible contributions to this city will be a part of our cultural fabric for decades to come. My heart goes out to the entire family during this very difficult time.”

‪I’m saddened to hear about the passing of Mr. Straz. David’s indelible contributions to this city will be a part of our…

Posted by Jane Castor on Monday, November 18, 2019

“Very sad news about David Straz,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman shared. “His legacy is evident all around us. Beyond being grateful for his philanthropy in our region, I had a personal affinity for him and will miss him. My condolences to his family and all those touched by his kindness. – RK”

Very sad news about David Straz. His legacy is evident all around us. Beyond being grateful for his philanthropy in our…

Posted by Rick Kriseman on Monday, November 18, 2019

“Happy trails to former mayoral candidate and philanthropist David Straz who made a tremendous impact on so many lives in the city of Tampa with his incredible generosity,” Tampa Pride also shared. “The Straz Foundation was also a friend and supporter of Tampa Pride. Thank you Mr. Straz for everything.”

Happy trails to former mayoral candidate and philanthropist David Straz who made a tremendous impact on so many lives in…

Posted by Tampa Pride on Monday, November 18, 2019

Straz is survived by his wife, Catherine Lowry Straz, and daughter, Keebler Straz.

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