From the archives: Philip Rauch, businessman who helped poor children, dies aged 95

Note: This story was originally published in Newsday on November 15, 2006.

Philip Rauch, a successful businessman and co-founder of a Long Island foundation dedicated to helping underprivileged children, died of natural causes on Nov. 8 at his home in South Setauket. He was 95.

Born on September 25, 1911, Rauch grew up in the East New York borough of Brooklyn.

After his father’s heart attack in 1932, Rauch left Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in the middle of his freshman year to head the family manufacturing company Ideal Corp.

With Rauch at the helm, the company’s sales rose from $220,000 in 1936 to $30 million in 1970. In 1971, Ideal merged with Parker Hannifin Corp., a Fortune 500 company that manufactured motion and control systems.

Rauch, a successful businessman at the time, wanted to give something back. He picked good projects and good leadership and put a lot of money into them instead of distributing it, said his niece Nancy Douzinas, 58, of Lloyd Harbor.

“He went into it with a lot of determination and enthusiasm,” she said.

In 1961, he and his brother, Louis Rauch, founded the Rauch Foundation, a Long Island-based family foundation that aims to give underprivileged children a better start in life, improve the natural environment on Long Island and in Maryland, and improve management skills. to build. at non-profit organizations.

β€œHe felt the foundation was a way to help the community,” said his daughter, Patricia McIrvin, 67, of Greensboro, NC.

He also became a benefactor at Lehigh University, where he had wrestled.

“Lehigh was his favorite project for years,” said Douzinas, president of the foundation.

Rauch Field House, an indoor sports facility with a six-lane track, opened in 1974. In 1981, he founded the Rauch Center for Business Communications at the university’s College of Business and Economics. A decade later, he started an annual wrestling fair.

Lehigh University “impressed him just as much,” McIrvin said. “He just saw his life change for the better when he was there.”

In addition to his work, Rauch played golf every weekend, mainly at the Meadow Brook Club in Jericho. At home, with classical music in the background, he read trade magazines, McIrvin said. Her mother, Louise Fairchild Eaton, could never let him read a novel. She died in 1986.

“He was very practical, very pragmatic,” McIrvin said. “He wasn’t interested in fiction. I think he thought it was a waste of time.”

Passionate about opera, he went to the Metropolitan Opera every week with Louise, his wife of 38, when they were in town.

In 2000, Rauch sold his house in Old Westbury and moved into an apartment in Garden City. About two years later, he moved to Jefferson’s Ferry, an assisted living facility in South Setauket.

In addition to McIrvin, Rauch leaves behind three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Rauch’s cremated remains will be buried next month at St. John’s of Lattingtown Cemetery in Locust Valley. A public memorial service will be held early next year.

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