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From the archive: Philip Rauch, businessman who helped poor children, dies at 95

After his father's heart attack in 1932, Philip

After his father's heart attack in 1932, Philip Rauch left Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in the middle of his junior year to run the family's manufacturing company, Ideal Corp. Credit: Handout/Handout

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

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

Rauch, who was born Sept. 25, 1911, was raised in the East New York section of Brooklyn.

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

With Rauch at the helm, the company's sales soared 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, at that point a successful businessman, wanted to give back. He picked good projects and good leadership and put a lot of money into them instead of spreading it out, said his niece, Nancy Douzinas, 58, of Lloyd Harbor.

"He went at it with a great deal of determination and gusto," she said.

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

"He felt the foundation was a way to help the community," said his daughter, Patricia McIrvin, 67, of Greensboro, N.C.

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

"Lehigh was his pet project for many years," said Douzinas, president of the foundation.

In 1974, the Rauch Field House, an indoor sports facility that features a six-lane track, opened. In 1981, he established the Rauch Center for Business Communications at the university's College of Business and Economics. A decade later, he started an annual wrestling scholarship.

Lehigh University "just made such an impression on him," McIrvin said. "He just saw his life changing for the better when he was there."

Outside of work, Rauch played golf every weekend, mainly at the Meadow Brook Club in Jericho. At home, with classical music playing in the background, he read trade publications, McIrvin said. Her mother, Louise Fairchild Eaton, could never get him to 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."

He was passionate about opera, attending the Metropolitan Opera with Louise, his wife of 38 years, every week 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 went to live at Jefferson's Ferry, an assisted living facility in South Setauket.

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

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