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Highland Park shooting victim Steve Straus loved arts, Chicago

Steve Straus, 88, was an exceptional joke-teller, an avid reader and a “culture vulture” who enjoyed the artistic fruits of the Art Institute and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, family members said Tuesday. Energetic beyond his years, Straus commuted on Metra five days a week to his office downtown, where he worked as a stockbroker.

Straus, said his son Peter Straus, was “very curious about the world.”

A longtime Highland Park resident who was born and raised on the Chicago’s South Side, his son Jonathan Straus described him as “a product of Chicago.”

“He loved his city,” said another son, Jonathan Straus, who lives in Chicago.

Steve Straus didn’t have a preference between the White Sox and the Cubs but “he would probably tell you whoever you wanted to hear,” Jonathan Straus said. “He was like that.”

“My dad was just very much a Highland Parker,” said Peter Straus. “He lived here, and unfortunately he died here.”

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Steve Straus survived his wife, Linda, to whom he had been married for almost 60 years, and a brother, Lawrence, of Glenview. In addition to his two sons, he had four grandchildren upon whom he doted.

“He was kind and sweet and very sharp,” said daughter-in-law Elizabeth Versten.

Peter Straus said his father went to Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade every year.

“I called him yesterday just to wish him a Happy Fourth of July and he didn’t respond, which I didn’t make much of. And then news stories started coming out about a shooting in Highland Park,” said Straus, who lives in San Francisco.

“I’m a psychologist, and so my feeling is that there are many people with undiagnosed and untreated mental illnesses that are, occasionally, sometimes, gun owners, and that the combination is as lethal as I learned yesterday,” Straus said.

“I do feel like civilians owning military weapons is ridiculous,” he said.

Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas contributed.

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