Thursday, August 9, 2012

R. Peter Straus, who...

...had to be considered a member of New York's German-Jewish aristocracy, died at age 89. From the Times obit (my emphasis): 

The son of a radio entrepreneur and the scion of a family steeped in public service, Mr. Straus counted diplomats, cabinet officials, legislators and philanthropists among his forebears. He became a United Nations official, director of the Voice of America and administrator of American aid to Africa. 

Ronald Peter Straus, who almost never used his first name, was born in Manhattan on Feb. 15, 1923, the son of Nathan Straus Jr. and Helen Sachs Straus. His father, who became director of the United States Housing Authority under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a New York State senator, bought WMCA in 1943. The company, Straus Communications, later owned many radio stations and newspapers in the Hudson Valley and New Jersey. 

Peter had other notable antecedents: his grandfather, Nathan Straus Sr., was a philanthropist who co-owned the R. H. Macy and Abraham & Straus department stores. A great-uncle, Isidor, who went down on the Titanic in 1912, was a congressman and co-owner of Macy’s; another, Oscar Solomon, was ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and President Theodore Roosevelt’s secretary of commerce and labor. 

After attending the Lincoln, Riverdale Country Day and Loomis schools, Mr. Straus majored in international relations and American government at Yale and graduated in 1943, a year early, under a World War II program. He became a B-17 pilot and flew 35 bombing missions over Germany. After the war he worked in public relations for a time, then joined WMCA as program director in 1948. 

In 1950 he married Ellen Louise Sulzberger, a niece of Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times. She died in 1995. 

Wow! What lineage! And then there's this: 

Mr. Straus and his second wife, Marcia Lewis, mother of the former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, were married in 1998. They were introduced by a mutual Washington friend in 1997, months before the scandal of Ms. Lewinsky’s relationship with President Bill Clinton became public in January 1998. Mr. Straus said later that he had met Ms. Lewinsky once or twice, but declined to comment on her or the president, whom he had known for years. Ms. Lewis was divorced from Ms. Lewinsky’s father, Bernard Lewinsky, a California doctor, in 1987.

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