Robert I. Toll, Innovative Co-Founder, Chairman Emeritus of Toll Brothers Builders and Philanthropist, Dies at 81

Robert I. Toll, 81, formerly of Solebury Township, the innovative and charismatic co-founder, former chairman and CEO of Toll Brothers Inc., philanthropist and civic activist, died on Friday October 7 of Parkinson’s disease at his Manhattan home.

Mr. Toll founded Toll Brothers in 1967 with his younger brother Bruce, and they have grown the company into one of the world’s most successful builders of luxury single family homes, working adult communities, residential rental properties , urban skyscrapers and other developments.

Known for his savvy investments, shrewd reading of the market and what a colleague called his “extremely charismatic” personality, Mr. Toll was determined to build “on the corner of Main and Main” as often as possible and dominate the progression. . market of people moving to more luxurious homes.

So the company has purchased as much land as possible in sought-after locations over the years and displayed stunning sample homes to entice buyers before actual construction has even begun. Today, the company estimates that more than 150,000 families across the United States live in a home built by Toll Brothers.

“Everything has to be spicy,” Mr. Toll told The Inquirer in 1983, and his seductive samples featured crackling fires in fireplaces, the smell of bread baking, soft music and a dining room table. eat with crockery and napkins. “We’re really not a home builder,” he said in 1988. “We’re in the entertainment business. We satisfy dreams and egos.

Chairman and CEO from the company’s founding until 2010, Mr. Toll remained on the board until recently, and his tenure included a 1986 debut on the New York Stock Exchange, 9 billions of dollars in annual homebuilding revenue and wild success in more than 60 markets in 24 states.

‘He could persuade anyone to do anything,’ said former Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell, who worked with Mr Toll on a number of building projects and political fundraising events. funds during the 1990s. “He drove hard and he knew what he wanted. He wanted to give people the best he could.

Under Mr. Toll’s leadership, Toll Brothers was named Builder magazine’s 2014 Builder of the Year, and in announcing the brothers’ induction into the magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2017, writer John McManus noted, ” Mr. Toll’s unique combination of leadership qualities”. – precise focus, a passion for details and questions, the thrill of the transaction and a strong dose of humor in the mix.

Mr. Toll has been named one of Institutional Investor magazine’s Top CEOs three times, has been named to Barron’s Top CEOs list twice, and the company won Professional Builder magazine’s 1995 National Housing Quality Award. “He was the epitome of success, but he also really wanted to make things better through politics and philanthropy,” Rendell said.

To that end, Mr. Toll and his wife, Jane, have supported the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, the Say Yes to Education Foundation, the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network, and many other groups. He has served on the boards of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn’s Carey Law School, Cornell Real Estate Council, Seeds of Peace and other organizations.

“Bob has had such a profound impact on so many of us in so many unique ways,” said Douglas C. Yearley Jr., Toll Brothers Chairman and CEO. “His huge heart, his unique sense of humor, his zest for life and his deep intelligence.”

Born December 30, 1940 in Philadelphia, Mr. Toll grew up in Elkins Park and graduated from Germantown Academy. The son of a real estate developer, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cornell University in 1963 and a law degree from Penn in 1966.

He practiced law for just one year before founding Toll Brothers and marrying Norma Spear. After a divorce, he married Jane Snyder Goldfein, and together they raised daughters Laurie, Deborah, and Rachel, and sons Joshua and Jacob.

An enthusiastic opponent on the tennis court and golf course, Mr. Toll also played softball at annual company picnics, raced sailboats in Long Island Sound, skied the mountains of Colorado and swam in lakes with his family in Maine. He loved opera, and was witty and quick with quotable conclusions.

“One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor,” he told The Inquirer in 2019. “Some see the light at the end of the tunnel like a train coming our way. a great opportunity.

Bruce Toll said: “One of the happiest days of my life was when Bob left the practice of law and we came together to form Toll Brothers. … I am eternally grateful for our lives together as brothers and business partners.

Besides his wife, children and brother, Mr. Toll is survived by 12 grandchildren and other relatives.

Family services are private. A celebration of Mr. Toll’s life is to be held later at the company’s headquarters in Fort Washington.

Donations in his name may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research, PO Box 4777, New York, NY 10163.

About Mary Moser

Check Also

Real estate mogul Rene Benko faces a more critical spotlight

I was walking down Kurfürstendamm, Berlin’s main shopping street, with a friend last Saturday. We …