Robert S. Neumann
Obituary of Robert S. Neumann
Robert S. “Bob” Neumann, of Skaneateles, NY and Jupiter FL, CEO and owner of Erie Materials, passed away on Monday, September 18th surrounded by his family. He was 82.
Bob was born on January 27, 1941 to Mary Ellen “Brad” and Herbert “Herbie” Neumann. He graduated from Columbia High School in South Orange, NJ and Bucknell University where he met his wife Sally. He asked Sally “to borrow her car”…so he could take her out on their very first date. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this September. Bob promoted himself to his children and grandchildren, though likely falsely, as the 1958 New Jersey State body surf champion.
Bob transformed the potential of a modest Mattydale warehouse he purchased in 1973 in to a regional building supply powerhouse with 375 employees and 11 locations in New York and Pennsylvania. His formula was simple — hire good people, sell quality products at a fair price and provide superior customer service. Bob treated all customers the same, often extending credit and making deals with a handshake. He made a name for himself by providing same day deliveries often within hours. Bob would often say “The only thing I have to sell is service”. As Erie’s base of loyal contractors expanded, the company grew, guided by Neumann and his son, Christopher, now President. His employees were fiercely loyal to him and he understood his success was not possible without the talents of all these people. To many, he was not only a boss and leader but a father figure as well. Bob was well known and respected throughout the building materials industry.
His dedication to Erie and its employees was exceeded only by his love for his family. “Shoopa” as his grandchildren called him, would rarely miss a game, dance recital, concert or any event his children or grandchildren participated in. When at a family outing you would often find him talking to (or most likely teasing) his grandchildren. He was a proud father and grandfather who lived a “family first” attitude that extended to the culture of his company.
Bob loved to golf and he will be remembered affectionately by his playing partners as an obnoxious winner and sore loser. He loved to banter back and forth and everyone knew that if Bob was busting your chops…he liked you. He and Sally had a wonderful community of friends in Westvale, Skaneateles and Jupiter FL where they had spent the last 30 winters. Bob was also an avid Syracuse basketball and football fan holding season tickets since the Dome was built.
Bob was an active community member particularly in Westvale, NY where he raised his children with Sally in the 1970's and 80's. He was instrumental in developing the Geddes Little League and the improvements made to the Fay Road fields. He was also the President of the Westhill Boosters Club which provided many advancements during his leadership. He continued to generously support various community organizations and served on many industry boards and advisory committees throughout his life. He and Sally were proud supporters of the Skaneateles Music Festival and loved attending the summer concerts.
Survivors include his wife, Sally, daughter, Leigh (Jeff Kramer), son, Christopher (Amy), six grandchildren; (Matthew, Miranda, Bridget, Andrew, Lily and Claire) as well as one brother, Dean Neumann, sister-in-law, Janet, nieces, nephews, and decades-long friends.
Calling hours are Friday, Sept. 22 at Edward J. Ryan Funeral Home, 3180 Bellevue Ave., Syracuse from 4-7pm.
A Celebration of Life is planned for Sunday, October 15 at 12:30 PM at the Skaneateles Country Club. The family would like to thank all those who supported Bob as he recuperated from his illness this year.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation to the charity of your choice.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert Neumann, please visit Tribute Store
In Loving Memory
3180 Bellevue Avenue
Syracuse, New York 13219
Phone: (315) 468-3443
Fax: (315) 468-6004
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