Bob Tobias (b. 1929)
Bob Tobias was born on June 22, 1929 at Good Samaritan Hospital, at the time known as Wilcox, in Portland, Oregon. While his parents resided in Winnipeg, Canada, Bob’s mother Anna Tobias traveled to Portland to ensure Bob was a US citizen. Mr. Tobias who made his living as an attorney in Winnipeg, suffered financially during the Depression, and so, the Tobias family moved to Portland. In Portland, Bob’s father found employment as a service manager in the tire business, working for Anna’s brothers: Jay, Harry and Al. Bob attended elementary school in Portland, and went to religious school at Congregation Beth Israel. He spent much of his time outside of school at the Jewish Community Center. Bob’s Jewish roots were very important to him, and played a crucial role throughout his childhood.
Bob graduated from Grant High School, and attended the University of Portland for one year before enrolling at the University of Washington in Seattle with his two closest friends - Rod Levitt and Sanford Wiseblack. He met his wife Mitsy, joined the Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity, and graduated with a degree in business administration. In 1951, just two weeks after graduation, Bob joined the United States Coast Guard; he served for three years.
After his time in the service, Bob and Mitsy were married in Seattle by Rabbi Levine. Following their marriage, the couple made their home in Portland, where they lived in a duplex on NE 21st and Wiedler with their two sons, Scott and Bruce. Bob went to work for his uncles at Woolach Brothers Tires. He worked for them for several years before buying the business with Stan Marcus from his uncle Al. Bob eventually bought Stan’s half of the business, expanding into neighborhoods all over Portland.
Soon Bob sold the tire business to Goodyear and bought Promotional Products Incorporated (PPI) from Albie Kalis. Bob owned and operated PPI for about 15 years before retiring in 1992. PPI was highly successful, working for companies such as Microsoft and Nintendo.
In his retired life, Bob Tobias has continued to be involved in the Jewish community in Portland, enjoys cars, and takes great pride in his three granddaughters. Bob and Mitsy spent their time together often traveling, staying at one of their properties in Seaside, Palm Springs or Maui, among many others. After sixty-five years together, Mitsy passed away. Bob Tobias has had a very successful and fulfilling life, enjoying the benefits of his dedication and hard work.