Robert (Bob) G. Faris (March 21, 1938 – August 21, 2017)
Originally from Greensburg, PA, Bob is the son of Mary Scopel and Charles Faris. A graduate of Greensburg High School, Bob went on to attend Penn State University, where he was a member of the wrestling team and Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
In 1960, Bob graduated and married his high school sweetheart, Ruth McArdle. Bob remained devoted to Penn State and was a frequent fan at Nittany Lion football games and wrestling matches. He was an active volunteer and contributor to the University and Beta Theta Pi fraternity. In 2014, Bob was honored with an Alumni Fellow Award, the highest award given by the Penn State Alumni Association, presented for outstanding professional accomplishments.
Bob began working at Inland Steel and attended night school to receive his MBA from the University of Chicago. After receiving his MBA in 1964, Bob continued his professional career as Director of Business Development at the Amoco Chemical Division of Standard Oil of Indiana, and later worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. In 1971, Bob joined Alan Patricof Associates, where he became President and Senior Partner. During Bob’s 17- year tenure and ten-year Presidency of Alan Patricof Associates (now Apax), the firm grew to become one of the world’s largest and most successful venture capital firms.
In 1990, amid momentous changes taking place in Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe, Bob was appointed President of the newly formed Polish-American Enterprise Fund (later Enterprise Investors), a fund created to invest in fledgling businesses to help these countries transition to a free-market economy. Enterprise Investors has become one of the oldest and largest private equity investment companies in the region. In 2006, having served as the Fund’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Bob stepped down and was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors. During his tenure, Bob became a pioneer in the global private equity and venture capital industries, focusing on the Eastern European market.
As a result of his intense commitment to Poland, Bob received the second and third highest classes of awards given to foreigners for having rendered great service to Poland. In 1999, the President of Poland awarded Bob with the Commander Cross of the Order of Merit for his exceptional contribution to the development of the Polish economy, and in 2011 he received the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Merit, again awarded by the President of Poland.
Bob and his wife Ruth volunteered with numerous community organizations, such as the Center for the Protection of Children. They also endowed a fund in the Child Study Center at Penn State University. Bob and Ruth have both been active members of the Westfield, NJ community where they have resided for over 50 years.
Bob is survived by his beloved wife Ruth; his daughter Lynn of Westfield, NJ; his son David and his wife Stefanie of Summit, NJ and his greatest pride and joy, his five grandchildren: Cynthia, Tyler, Robert, Sofia and Ronald. He is survived by his brother Ron; his brother Richard and his wife Ginger and his sister Catherine and her husband Charlie. He also has five nieces and eight nephews.
His successful life was filled with great compassion, kindness and a contagious sense of humor. He met with multiple Presidents and international business and political leaders, but he was always happiest at home with family and friends. Despite all of his professional and civic accomplishments, among the things Bob enjoyed most were a game of handball or a round of golf (usually followed by a few beers), fly-fishing and watching the sun set over the Oregon mountains. Bob cherished the time he had with Ruth, his wife for over 57 years, and in the end Bob’s greatest moments were those filled with each of his five grandchildren. Bob’s family and close friends were the center of his universe and his devotion and generosity towards them had no end.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 – 8:00 PM on Friday, August 25 at Dooley Colonial Funeral Home at 556 Westfield Avenue, Westfield NJ 07090. Funeral Services will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, August 26 at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church at 315 First Street (corner of Westfield Avenue), Westfield, NJ 07090.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made in Bob’s memory to Friends of the Child Advocacy Center of Union County, by mailing a check to Friends of the Child Advocacy Center, PO Box 5763, Clark, NJ 07066 or by donating directly on line at friendscacunj.org.