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Robert Langbart 1930-2015

Robert Langbart

Robert Langbart - 1930-2015

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa

Attended King Edwards School

Qualified as an accountant in 1954

Spent 1949-1950 in Israel - Machon L'Madrihei Hutz-L'Aretz

Made aliyah in 1962 with wife and children

Financial Director at Danish Interiors and later at Comasco Ltd.

Volunteered at ESRA as treasurer

Keen bowler at Ramat Hasharon Bowls Club and later played Pentaque at Ahuzat Poleg

When Robert came to volunteer as the treasurer on ESRA's finance committee I knew that I was going to be challenged.

Robert, who worked almost daily on ESRA's accounts, had a sharp eye, a clear financial regime learnt from the world of business and an absolute no-mess attitude for procedure. I, on the other hand, had little knowledge or experience of financial control other than running my own domestic matters.

Robert became my teacher, introducing the value of weekly cash reports, trial balance sheets, bank negotiations, EXCEL and, most important of all, computerizing all of ESRA's financial procedures. This small and much needed revolution taking us away from the beautifully hand-written ledgers needed much patience to convince a hesitant staff that this was not only desirable but possible. Robert also saw the wider picture and brought his experience of having employed a large staff to ensuring that ESRA's employees' welfare was safeguarded. During Robert's time, ESRA faced many inspections by government and other bodies and, due to his diligence, ESRA passed with flying colors.

Robert shared the financial duties with Abe Jaffe and was assigned the ESRA Community Fund. Social and community projects do not often mix well with the economic theories and practices. Robert had a head-on collision with community needs versus economic planning. So now it was my turn to introduce him to the world of special needs, education, empowering youth at-risk and much more. Over the years, Robert, now the student, changed from challenging the value of having any community projects to becoming their champion.

During this time we both learnt new vocabulary, shifted our views and dared to enter the world of the other. I like to believe that we gained a strong mutual respect, and I, for one, have taken the lessons learned with me and I apply them to both my professional and personal lives.

During the many hours spent in the ESRA office, accompanied by his great love for frothy coffee, I got to know a soft-centered, warm and exceptional gentleman. With his dry wit and reserved nature we shared stories and anecdotes of our loved ones, and he told me with great pride about his children and their accomplishments, of his passion for his garden and of the partnership and support he enjoyed with his wife Ros.

Robert was willing to listen, learn, change and support. I thank him for being a patient and good teacher as well as a student willing to appreciate the world of others. Always the gentleman and softly spoken, Robert will be missed for his experience, clarity and outstanding support for ESRA's work.

Personally, thank you Robert for being one of the most important teachers I ever had.

Robert,

You entered our life more than 30 years ago when you were appointed Financial Director of COMASCO in 1982. You brought with you a new style of management - we should say "South African". You captured our hearts immediately with your politeness, manners and your professionalism. A year later, when I was nominated as Managing Director of COMASCO, I was happy to have you near me as Financial Director with a level of professionalism that we had not known before. You gave a different meaning to the numbers.

In those days you reported to our parent company, Blackwood Hodge in England, which was happy to learn that we had a person in that position at your level who spoke their language. You were always loyal to the company and we loved you both as a person and as the Financial Director.

In 1984, you led the company's computerization and we were the first in the group of Blackwood Hodge to install the computer, at a time of 450% inflation rate per year. be computerized. We were the first ones in the country to install the then new IBM 36 computer, with a multiple currency software which was written and built by COMASCO management led by you. You invested all your talent in this software and it still serves us until this very day.

We worked together in full harmony; we matched each other as "a glove to a hand".

The management of COMASCO admired you due to your unique personality and appreciated your full loyalty to the company and to your workers.

You were straight like a ruler, you always analyzed the matter to the point. I liked to consult with you and I think that in those days, I had more "Robert hours" than you had with your wife Ros.

In 1996, you asked to retire. As far as we were concerned, you could have continued for many more years. We honored your request, but we still wanted you around to enjoy your experience and wisdom. You served as a director on the COMASCO Board of Directors until your last day. Over the years we used to meet at the Board meetings and only two weeks ago, as usual, we went for lunch during which we used to update each other with the latest stories about our children and grandchildren. You talked with admiration and appreciation about your children, Tami, David and Simon, and you were proud of your grandchildren, and lately, with your great-grandchild.

Your work alongside your son David in his business gave interest to your life.

You admired Ros, your helpmate and partner in your life, and together you built an impressive family.

We received the message with great surprise and without any warning that you had gone away from us.

Robert - we will remember you forever, you were a figure of good example manager, leader, professional, and most of all a man who loved people and people returned their love to you.

Haim Danon 

 

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