USF Mourns Loss of Trustee Robert Dressler

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 19, 2008) – University of South Florida and the Greater Tampa Bay community are mourning the sudden death of USF Foundation Trustee Robert Dressler.

Upon learning of his death, his widow, Edie Dressler, stated, “I am the luckiest woman alive to have been his wife for 40 years. There’s only one Robert Dressler on the planet and there will never be another like him.”

Dressler served as a Trustee of the USF Foundation since 1982. He was the board’s president from 1989 to 1991. His participation on the board included service as foundation liaison for the Board of Trustees Health Science and Research Workgroup. He also held board memberships with the USF Research Foundation since 1993, memberships on the USF Center for Entrepreneurship Board of Advisors, the USF College of Engineering Advisory Board and membership on the USF University Advancement Campaign Executive Committee between 1996 and 2001. He was honored with the Class of ‘56 Award in 1993 and placed on the USF College of Engineering Honor Roll of Volunteers in 2004.

USF President Judy Genshaft said, “Speaking on behalf of everyone at USF and from my own personal sense of loss, we are profoundly saddened by the death of one of our closest and most devoted friends. Bob Dressler was a wonderful person. We benefitted from his wise counsel and his tireless commitment to USF’s mission and will be forever grateful for his generosity and dedication. Our condolences go out to his family, especially his wife, Edie, and his countless friends. He will be deeply missed.”

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio stated, “Robert Dressler was an outstanding human being. So intelligent. So perceptive. And so caring of the community and the larger world we live in. He has added so much to the betterment of the community that it’s hard to put it into words.”

Generosity was a hallmark of his life having contributed to numerous USF projects as well as the Pioneers of the Riverwalk Project in Tampa, the Upper Pinellas County Association for Retarded Citizens and the Tampa Jewish Federation.

Dressler was born in 1925 and served in the United States Navy during World War II. He was a pioneer in electronic research in television, color television, military electronics and satellite reconnaissance for the intelligence community and the Department of Defense. He served as vice president, director of research and finally president of Autometric Corporation, a company now owned by Boeing Aircraft and once owned by Raytheon Company where Dressler held the position of director of advanced systems. He served on the National Television Systems Committee (NTSC), the technical group that formulated the color television standard used in the U.S.

In 1973, Dressler joined Crown Industries, a building materials manufacturer in Florida, serving as president and CEO, building it into a major enterprise with over $100 million in sales, ultimately acquired by Florida Progress in 1985. From there he joined Raymond James and Associates in 1987 and served on the board of directors of Raymond James Financial from 1983 to 1987. He concluded his career as the managing director of corporate finance for Raymond James & Associates and served on the Business Advisory Board for Intezyne Technologies.

Dressler held bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Columbia University and an honorary doctor of science degree from USF (1997). He was a national board member of the Museum of Science and Industry and served on the board of the Florida Orchestra.