- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Martin Strauss, 81, entrepreneur, leader

Martin Strauss, an immigrant who started the Strauss Photo Technical Service, died Dec. 11 at his Bethesda home of heart and respiratory disease. He was 81.

Mr. Strauss was a leader of the Washington area Jewish community, serving on the board of the Jewish Social Service Agency for more than 25 years, receiving its Pikser Award and the Jewish Council for the Aging’s Gerber Award.

He helped place hundreds of Russian immigrants in homes and jobs.

Born in Leipzig, Germany, he moved with his family as a teenager to Palestine. There, he earned a degree in physics from the Technion, a technical university, and studied photographic and optical engineering under the designer of the Contax camera.

He emigrated to the United States in June 1947, and traveled around the country, finding jobs repairing medical and photographic equipment.

In 1949, he chose Washington as a place to settle, and rented a few rooms in the 900 block of F Street NW, where he started Strauss Photo Technical Service Inc.

Because he could not afford the rent for an apartment and a shop, he lived in his office at the beginning.

The business grew as SPTS became the authorized repair agent for many brands of photographic and entertainment equipment, with branches around the country, and the company moved to larger quarters on Mount Olivet Road NE.

By the late 1980s, it had become the largest camera repair organization in the United States, with a staff of 60 servicing 35,000 items annually.

At the request of U.S. government authorities, Mr. Strauss set up production facilities to design and build custom cameras, optics and related equipment.

He created a camera for NASA’s Mercury spaceflight, as well as target range cameras for the Army, security cameras for the State Department and several medical instruments.

In 2002, Mr. Strauss sold SPTS, but remained with the company as a consultant.

Mr. Strauss is survived by his wife of 48 years, Carolyn “Kitty” Futrovsky Strauss; his son Steven and daughter-in-law Linda, of Bethesda; a daughter Beth Strauss Bonita, of Olney; a sister Marion Lilie of Mount Vernon, N.Y.; four grandsons and a son-in-law, Rabbi Amos Luban of Israel. His older daughter Evalyn Strauss Luban, died in 2003.

The family suggests contributions be made to the Jewish Social Service Agency or other charities.

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