Richard Stromberg, CAS, chairman of Valley Cottage, New York, supplier StrombergBrand Umbrellas, passed away on March 17. He was 78.

Stromberg began his career at his family’s retail/wholesale umbrella business, which was founded by his father, Jaye Stromberg, in 1942. He worked his way up and assumed ownership in 1967. During his career, he devoted himself to learning every aspect of umbrella production, and traveling around the world to France, Italy, the UK, Germany, China, Taiwan and South Korea to meet and work with top manufacturers.

At first offering products in the premium market, Stromberg entered the promotional products industry and exhibited at his first trade show in 1968 in New York City. Reflecting on the show at his 50th anniversary in the industry, he said, “Before I signed up for that show, I didn’t even know what ‘ad specialty’ was! A neighboring exhibitor filled me in on many details of the industry. I grew to love the business and the people in it.”

A lifelong supporter and active participant of industry groups and associations, Stromberg served on various committees over the years and earned his CAS designation in the 1970s.

Stromberg’s wife, Helen Stromberg, has been with the company since 1981 and currently serves as company president. Their daughter, Jennifer Stromberg, assumed the role of company vice president in 2020, ensuring a strategic third-generation management transition.

A statement from the company reads, “Richard has left us with a business that is thriving and with a wonderful team in place to continue operating in his legacy. Those of us who knew him were constantly uplifted by his favorite sayings, which were always ones of optimism: ‘Think positive,’ ‘Where there’s life there’s hope,’ and of course, ‘Carpe Diem.’ We have many things to thank him for, but most importantly, his constant encouragement to push forward, work hard and believe in ourselves.”

Stromberg is survived by his wife, four daughters, five grandchildren, and countless lifelong and industry friends. In addition to family, friends and work, his passions included reading, history, art, jazz music, astronomy, etymology, billiards, his country home, traveling to warm places and murder mysteries.

Offers of condolence to the family and shared memories can be made here. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in his memory.