A gregarious, caring local man may always be remembered not for how and when he died, but for his concern for children and interest in their education.
Secaucus native Steven Strobert, lost on Sept. 11, 2001, may very well live on through the fundraisers and donations of the foundation named in his behalf.
So loved and regarded was the 33-year-old Cantor Fitzgerald broker, that the burning embers from the Twin Towers had not yet been totally extinguished when family and friends had already forged a plan to honor him and carry on his memory. Since then, the organization has raised tens of thousands of dollars through golf and softball tournaments, days at the races, and other events.
The memory of Strobert was again stoked just weeks ago when the town hosted its annual Sept. 11 commemoration at the town’s monument in front of the Secaucus Library and Business Resource Center on Paterson Plank Road. Strobert was one of six beloved members of the Secaucus community who were killed in the terrorist attacks, along with Arlene Babakitis, Richard Cudina, Nancy Perez, Kenneth Simon, and Michael Tanner.
““The library came to mind. … We asked that whatever we give be used for the youth and children’s collection.” – Barbara Strobert
It’s fitting that Strobert is honored each September at the location in front of the library, since many of the efforts in his name have been centered there. When Strobert died, he left not only wife Tara, but also his then 18-month-old son, Frankie. Youth and learning were a recurring theme in Steven’s life, according to his mother, Barbara Strobert.
“When he was a child, I used to take him to the library and he always enjoyed it,” she said in an interview last week. “But he always complained they didn’t have enough sports books.”
So after the foundation was started for him, it was a natural who they thought should benefit.
What would be funded
“The library came to mind,” Strobert said. “My (late) husband and the foundation gave to the library every year. We asked that whatever we give be used for the youth and children’s collection. The library is magnificent here.”
She said the town’s children also benefit educationally from the five $1,000 scholarships dispensed each year.
Strobert’s recreational passions were football, golf, and horseracing, so it was no surprise to anyone when his foundation planned events focusing on those interests of his.
Day at the Races
The Day at Monmouth Racetrack sponsored by the foundation in the spring was a sellout and raised nearly $9,000 for the library, according to Mark Dehnert, foundation president.
“The Strobert Foundation and individual donors covered all costs associated with the event, so all the money raised went to the library,” Dehnert said. “The foundation is proud to have the opportunity to continue its support of the Secaucus Public Library.”
Library director Jenifer May acknowledged the Strobert Foundation for its past and continued help to the library.
First major donation
“Through a very generous donation from the foundation several years ago, the library was able to create the Steven Strobert Young Adult Learning Center, which is used primarily to increase the circulation of books and media in the children’s and young adult sections,” she said. It is important that “the library always recognizes the memory of Steven Strobert.”
“I think anything we can do to improve the lives of children is the best way for him to be remembered,” Mrs. Strobert said. “Education has been one of our primary purposes since the foundation began.”
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.