Robert Saul Blau, lawyer and international finance expert

Posted: April 05, 2013

WIFFLE ball may not be an Olympic sport, but its practitioners are as devoted as a Jamaican bobsled team or hammer throwers in kilts.

One of the sport's stars in the '60s was a robust Friends' Central kid named Bob Blau.

His prowess with a bat he had painted red and blue and named the KesselKill (after a boy he used to harass with cherry bombs) was described in an article in Sports Illustrated in 1982 by Franz Lidz, a Cheltenham High School grad and Wiffle-ball practitioner who played with Bob Blau and other kids in a back yard in Penn Valley.

Lidz, whose tongue-in-cheek article actually concerned players who continued the sport in adulthood, described the Wiffle ball as a hollow white plastic sphere with slots on one side. Young kids use a plastic bat, but older boys - and maybe some girls - use thin wooden bats to hit the ball.

The writer told how Bob Blau pitched two no-hitters in 1965, and then retired.

Robert Saul Blau went from Wiffle ball to the world of law and international finance, where he earned a reputation as a specialist in creditors' rights and bankruptcy work.

He died on April 1, a day before his 62nd birthday. He had fought a long battle against multiple debilitating illnesses, his family said. He lived in Upper Chichester, Delaware County.

Bob was born in Philadelphia to Evelyn Gellar Blau and Seymour Dore "Big Sie" Blau. He received diplomas from Friends' Central High School, Purdue University, the London School of Economics and Rutgers University Law School.

He founded the law firm Kahn Greenberg & Blau in Plymouth Meeting, specializing in credit and bankruptcy cases.

Bob married Miriam Franco and bought a dog he named after John Maynard Keynes, famed British economist. He did so, said his brother Stephen Blau, "because he found the notion of overbearing governmental involvement in the economy unacceptable."

After the marriage ended in divorce, Bob married Hua Hua Zhang, a renowned Chinese puppet artist who performs widely.

Bob was an enthusiastic pilot since his high-school days, and enjoyed doing acrobatic stunts in single-engine planes.

In the 1995 film, "Unstrung Heroes," directed by Diane Keaton and based on a memoir by Franz Lidz, a character named Rabbi Blaustein is an oblique reference to Bob Blau, his brother said.

Besides his wife, mother and brother, Bob is survived by a daughter, Margaux Amelia Blau, and two other brothers, David and Mark.

Services: Celebration of life service 2:30 p.m. Friday at Joseph Levine & Son funeral home, 2811 West Chester Pike, Broomall.

Donations may be made to the Jim Henson Foundation, 37-18 Northern Blvd., Suite 400, Long Island City, N.Y ., 11101.

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