Trinity Remembers David J. Straus II ’44
Trustee Emeritus served the University from 1975-2009
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
header of David Straus smiling behind a desk in a suit

Trinity University Trustee Emeritus David J. Straus II ’44 died on May 28. He was 98. Straus served on Trinity University’s Board of Trustees for more than 30 years, from 1975-2009, and was awarded Trinity’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1995.

In April 1943, at age 19, Straus enlisted in the Marine Corps. His first assignment was in the Pacific Theater of World War II. He participated in extensive combat action during the Okinawa Campaign, which was a major battle of the Pacific Theater. Straus went on to serve in two other wars during his 11 years of service, for which he received many decorations and awards. He was discharged in 1954 as a captain.

Straus was the third generation to lead the Straus-Frank Company, a wholesale distribution business. He worked with the company for more than 58 years and ran the company for more than 40 years. Straus was involved in many other businesses, including farming, ranching, restaurants, banking, and real estate. 

Straus was heavily involved with the commercial development of the San Antonio River Walk. In 1959, Straus was appointed to chair a new committee to develop the river into a tourist destination and to create a master plan for the River Walk. Straus framed an ordinance with a goal of maintaining the "Old San Antonio" charm along the river walk. He was the founding member and chairman emeritus of the San Antonio River Walk Commission, which he worked with for more than 30 years. In 1964, he formed another committee, the Paseo del Rio Association, to serve businesses along the river. Straus was crucial in the development of San Antonio’s river barges; his efforts to conceive the project, to develop the plan, to establish controls to retain the river's unique atmosphere, and to aggressively continue to push forward, in spite of early apathy, has been recognized by numerous awards.

In addition to his work with the San Antonio River Walk, Straus was very active with more than a dozen other civic groups and programs. He was chairman of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce in 1968, the year of the World's Fair - HemisFair '68. He was the founding president of Club Giraud, and he became a director emeritus and life member with the San Antonio Livestock Exposition. Straus was on the Board of Directors for the Frost National Bank, Bank of San Antonio, Lone Star Brewing Company, Red Arrow Securities Corporation, the San Antonio Spurs, Retama Park Racetrack, Strafco Inc., and General Parts Inc.

Straus is survived by his wife Deborah "Debbie" Straus; his sons, David Straus III and his wife Jan, F. Anthony Straus and his wife Cary, Steven Straus, and Daniel Straus; his brother, Joe Straus Jr. and his wife Joci; 11 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Read Straus’ full obituary online. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the National Museum of the Pacific War (Fredericksburg, Texas), 311 E. Austin St., Fredericksburg, TX 78624; the Marine Military Academy (Harlingen, Texas), 320 Iwo Jima Blvd., Harlingen, Texas 78550; or a charity of one's choice.

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