TribLIVE

| Obituaries


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Minister ran Goodwill with heart, head

obituary photo of Robert S. Foltz

Daily Photo Galleries

Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

As a child, the Rev. Robert S. Foltz watched his father spend time with the elderly — acts that influenced him as president and CEO of the former Goodwill Industries of Pittsburgh, which he helped turn into one of the largest social service agencies in the region.

“(It) was influential in letting him see firsthand the needs of other people,” said his wife, Nan Foltz of Mt. Lebanon.

The Rev. Robert S. Foltz died Sunday, April 14, 2013, in Asbury Heights nursing home in Mt. Lebanon. He was 73.

He led Goodwill Industries of Pittsburgh, which trains and employs people with disabilities, from 1977 until retiring in 2002.

“He found a way to employ, train and give opportunities to thousands of people who basically had been discarded,” said his son, Nelson Foltz of Brooklyn, N.Y.

During his tenure, Goodwill's annual budget grew from $3 million to more than $30 million, the number of employees went from about 150 to 850, and the number of stores grew from eight to 22.

“Bob understood early on that it not only was a human service organization, but also needed to be run as a business because the more profit that we generated, the more people that we could serve,” said Mike Smith, 57, of Washington, whom the Rev. Foltz hired as controller in 1989. Smith succeeded him as president and CEO.

The Rev. Foltz was born to Joseph W. and Nannette Harris Foltz in Wilkinsburg. His father was a traveling salesman who died when his son was about 13.

After graduating from Wilkinsburg High School, he received a bachelor's degree from Westminster College, a master's degree of divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in Washington and a master's degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh.

He met his wife when both were students at the seminary.

In 1962, he was ordained a minister of the United Methodist Church. He served parishes in Rogersville, Meadville and Pittsburgh; was chaplain at George Junior Republic in Grove City, a residential facility for at-risk youth; and executive director of the Ward Home for Children in Mt. Lebanon.

When he retired, Goodwill named its headquarters, then on the South Side, as the Robert S. Foltz Building.

In addition to his wife, Nan, and son, Nelson, Mr. Foltz is survived by his sons, Drayton Foltz of Mt. Lebanon and Joseph Foltz of Sewickley Heights; and one grandson.

A Service of Celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in Smithfield United Church of Christ, 620 Smithfield St., Downtown. Burial will be private. The Smith Funeral Home in West Middlesex, Mercer County, is handling the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Robert S. Foltz Building, 118 52nd St., Pittsburgh, PA 15201.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Stakes high as ex-Saints receiver Moore faces his former team
  2. Steelers notebook: Injury to RT Gilbert opens door for Adams to start
  3. Icy roads slow traffic across Western Pa.
  4. Police identify driver in North Side crash that killed pregnant woman
  5. Penguins GM prepares for emotional series against Carolina
  6. Pitt receiver Boyd continues to grow on and off the field
  7. Penguins notebook: Winning home games crucial for Penguins
  8. Allegheny County Council wants to hike members’ $3K expense accounts
  9. Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
  10. No federal funds to help enforce Pa. ban on texting by drivers
  11. Youngwood gets 1st full-size grocery in nearly 20 years
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.