In 1992, the development, leasing, and management real-estate firm merged with Richard I. Rubin & Co. Mr. Straus stayed on as a strategic adviser before retiring in 1996, his family said.
Sam Switzenbaum, who was hired by Mr. Straus in 1970 and became CEO and president of Strouse when Mr. Straus was chairman, said he was a tough taskmaster with a fierce work ethic and superb networking skill.
"Joe was an unusual mentor," said Switzenbaum. "He had extraordinarily high standards intellectually and professionally. Joe had huge amounts of integrity. His greatest skill was being very engaging, and people loved him."
Mr. Straus was also an effective listener and communicator, a trait that he encouraged in others.
"I got a copy of every letter I wrote, the pink copy from the carbon. He had written in red pen, with circles around things, correcting my spelling and my grammar," Switzenbaum said.
Mr. Straus was active in the city's civic life. He served in various roles with MassMutual Life Insurance Co., the Urban Land Institute, the Counselors of Real Estate, Einstein Healthcare Network, Delaware Valley College, and Rolling Hill Hospital.
In 1995, he received the Louise L. and Y.T. Lum Award, given annually by the Counselors of Real Estate.
Mr. Straus, the counselors wrote, "combines finely honed analytical skills with superb deal-making ability."
Born and raised in New York City, he got his first taste of Philadelphia as an undergraduate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1942 and enlisted in the Navy, serving as a First Division officer in the Pacific campaign from September 1942 to February 1946.
Mr. Straus was married for 59 years to the former Joyce Herzog. They met on a blind date. She died in 2011.
In addition to his son, he is survived by daughters Nancy Sundheim, Joan, and Terry, and five grandchildren.
Services were Monday. Donations may be made to Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad St., Philadelphia 19123.
Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 215-854-2611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.