On June 23rd, 2017 the family of Dr. R.K.Laros, Jr. gathered with members of the Bethlehem community at Rosemont Lutheran Church to celebrate the life of the esteemed longtime trustee and chairman of the R.K.Laros Foundation. After the memorial service the community gathered in The Laros Room at the church to remember the great support and care that Dr. Laros brought to the community through his work with the foundation. The extended Laros Family, including members from all five branches of R.K.and Helen Laros' children gathered at Sunset Acres that afternoon to remember their days at their grandparents home and the continuing Laros connections to one another and to Bethlehem.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
R.K. LAROS FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES THE LOSS OF DR. R.K. LAROS, JR.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania February 21, 2017
Bethlehem-based, R.K. Laros Foundation, established in 1952 by Laros Industries Silk Mill Founder and Owner R.K. Laros, announces the death of R.K. Laros Jr., past Trustee, Chair and Board Member Emeritus of the Foundation since 1965.
Dr. Laros passed away on Friday, February 17, 2017, at Hospice in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. He was 81 years old and had struggled with dementia for several years.
Dr. Laros, who attended Choate, Harvard and Temple Universities was world renowned as the father of high-risk obstetrics at the University of California San Francisco where he was a physician and professor, teaching at the UCSF School of Medicine. In addition to bringing thousands of lives into the world, he mentored untold numbers of medical students, residents, and fellows at UCSF during his long and illustrious career there.
Born January 25, 1936, at St. Luke’s hospital, to local industrialist R.K. Laros and his wife Helen Laros, Russell was their youngest child and only son. Dr. Laros grew up in Bethlehem and attended Moravian Prep and Rosemont Lutheran Church.
In 1965, Dr. Laros joined the Laros Board of Trustees in steering the foundation his parents had established in 1952. He was instrumental in guiding hundreds of grants to over 150 non profit organizations in Bethlehem, supporting their efforts to serve the community he loved in the Arts, Education, Environment, Health and Human Services and for local Historical preservation.
The community honored R.K. Laros Jr. with several awards in his lifetime including The City of Bethlehem’s 250th Anniversary “Spirit of Bethlehem” Award in 1991, Appreciation Award from the Bethlehem YMCA for "Continuing Efforts & Support To The Youth of This Community" and in 2014 the Lifetime Achievement Award in Philanthropy was presented by the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In association with this award, he was recognized by the Senate of the State of Pennsylvania and the U.S. House of Representatives.
R.K. Laros Jr. was the father of three children, R.K. Laros III, Ann Laros-Weaver and Rebekah Kristin Laros, and five grandchildren. His son R.K. Laros III currently leads the foundation and his daughter Ann serves as a trustee.
The family is planning a public memorial service at Rosemont Lutheran Church in Bethlehem on June 24, 2017, when the family will be gathering for the 65th Anniversary Celebration of the establishment of the foundation in 1952.
The R.K.Laros Foundation announces the following grants awarded in 2016; The Bach Choir of Bethlehem $15,000 for the acquisition of an Acoustical Choir Shell to be used at the annual Bach Choir Festival in Packer Chapel at Lehigh University, The Bethlehem Area Public Library $28,766 for the addition of a security gate in the newly opened Children's Room, Lehigh Valley Children's Centers $3,000 for renovations necessary to expand classroom space at their Southside Bethlehem center, Moravian College for the establishment of a Community Health Room honoring longtime Laros Board member, the Rev. Gordy Mowrer in their planned Health Sciences Building and the National Museum of Industrial History $20,000 for exhibit construction of textile related interpretations.
R. Keller Laros III shared the news today, 7.19.16 of the passing of Gordon Mowrer, Trustee of the R.K.Laros Foundation from 1986-2012 and Board Emeritus member of the foundation from 2012 until the present. Rev. Mowrer, a past Mayor of Bethlehem, was a true and faithful servant to his community and his family all the days of his life. He will be deeply missed but his extraordinary legacy will long endure. His obituary may be viewed at the Morning Call.
Long time R.K. Laros Trustee, Laurie Gostley Hackett, received the Community Partner Award from the Bethlehem Chamber on May 4th, 2016. Laurie was recognized for her consistent and devoted service to Bethlehem, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber, and the larger community of the Lehigh Valley. Laurie began her service on the R.K. Laros Foundation Board as a Trustee in 1995. The foundation has supported over 100 non-profit organizations and distributed over 250 grants in Bethlehem during Laurie's tenure.
The R.K. Laros Foundation received the Community Leadership Award from the Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley on April 15th, 2016. The award recognizes exemplary service and outstanding commitment to the Bethlehem Community. R.K.Laros Trustee Diane Donaher accepted the award on behalf of the foundation from St. Luke's President and CEO, Richard Anderson.
Established in 1952 by R.K and Helen Laros, the foundation has supported over 150 organizations, primarily in the Bethlehem area in the past 64 years.
Trustee Bob Bilheimer presented a $30,000 grant to NMIH as part of a $50,000 commitment on December 23, 2015.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - DECEMBER 28, 2015
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF INDUSTRIAL HISTORY RECEIVES GRANT FROM R.K. LAROS FOUNDATION
$50,000 pledge from the foundation funds silk exhibit
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The National Museum of Industrial History, opening in the summer of 2016, is excited to announce the receipt of $30,000, the first installment of a $50,000 pledge from the R.K. Laros Foundation. The grant is in support of an exhibit showcasing the rich history of silk production in the Lehigh Valley.
Founded in 1952, the R.K. Laros Foundation, Inc, a non-profit charitable trust, was established by Mr. Russell K. Laros and Mrs. Helen K. Laros. The Foundation was established to support community non-profit organizations serving the arts, education, the environment, health, historical preservation and public and human services.
Robert Bilheimer, a trustee of the R.K. Laros Foundation, presented the check to the National Museum of Industrial History, commenting that,“the story of textiles is so important to the Lehigh Valley, important to the industrial history of the United States, and important to this community. We felt it was absolutely essential to make that part of this museum.” He added, “Somehow we forget that history today is really yesterday’s innovation, and the innovation message is an important story that needs to be told here.”
The silk exhibit at the National Museum of Industrial History will showcase Scalamandre and Valenta machinery from the 20th century which were used in silk production in the United States. The exhibit will also feature original footage, oral histories, advertisements, and photographs from the Laros Silk Mills. Employing thousands of Lehigh Valley residents over four decades, the Laros Silk Mills set standards for silk production around the world. “We are excited to receive support from the R.K. Laros Foundation. Their historic ties to the silk industry and their legacy of community giving make them the ideal partner in conveying the story of silk mills in the Lehigh Valley to the museum’s visitors,” says Amy Hollander, President and CEO of the National Museum of Industrial History.
The National Museum of Industrial History is currently installing and conserving artifacts and is on-schedule to open in the summer of 2016.
Attached photo: L. Charles Marcon, chairman of the National Museum of Industrial History, accepts a check from Robert Bilheimer, trustee of the R.K. Laros Foundation. Also present were NMIH board members (L-R) Ned Rauch-Mannino, Laura Bennett Shelton, Curtis H. Barnette, and Fr. Daniel Gambet.
About the National Museum of Industrial History
A Smithsonian Affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America's rich industrial heritage. Restoring a 40,000-square-foot, 100-year-old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America, the Museum will be home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history.
On a breezy April Friday, members of the Bethlehem and Northampton County communities joined with Mayor Donchez, donors and supporters to cut the ribbon on the gathering space at Skate Plaza. The R.K. Laros Foundation has been a long standing supporter of the South Side Greenway and continuing improvements in the Eastern Greenway Neighborhood. Speaking on behalf of the R.K. Laros Foundation, Trustee George Mowrer reaffirmed that commitment. Morning Call April 25 2015
PBS 39 Interviews Moravian College Student Jeremy Hachey'15, Moravian College President Bryon Grigsby, Local Historian Martha Capwell Fox and Executive Director Sharon Zondag about the history and legacy of R.K. Laros; his family, industry and philanthropy.
The R. K. Laros Foundation has been pleased to work with Jeremy Hachey, Class of 2015 at Moravian College, to tell the R.K. Laros story. Jeremy spent 6 months in research and writing the history of R.K. Laros the man, his family, industry and philanthropy. On March 12, 2015 Jeremy presented the history at The Salvation Army in Bethlehem to an audience of 50. Two in the audience worked for Laros Industries and talked about the great affection they had for R.K. Laros. The Foundation is grateful to Jeremy for continuing his work to tell the story long after his internship was completed.
Laurie Gostley Hackett, the longest serving trustee for The R.K. Laros Foundation Board will be receiving the Annual "Take The Lead" Award on April 28th, 2015 at Steel Stacks. The entire R.K. Laros Foundation Board congratulates our board member and community leader, Laurie Gostley Hackett.
For more information download the itinerary.
Join us November 11, 2014 at Bethlehem Public Library to hear Moravian College Student Jeremy Hachey '15 share his research and R.K. Laros History and story.
Jeremy Hachey's research on R.K. Laros, his Family, Industries and Foundation was the topic of a recent article published by Moravian College of Bethlehem Pennsylvania on their website. Jeremy is a member of the MC Class of 2015.
Here at the Laros Foundation we have been hard at work compiling data and documenting the history of our beloved founders.
On August 25th, a portion of our work has been highlighted on local new distributor WFMZ.
Along with a video the article tells the story of our founders from past to the present where their legacy continues.
Join us Tuesday November 11th at the Bethlehem Public Library at 6:30 p.m. for "Laros Night", when Jeremy Hachey will be presenting his research and biography.