Bob Lefton


Robert Eugene Lefton

Robert Eugene Lefton, September 4, 1931 – October 6, 2022

Bob Lefton is reunited with Marlene, his beloved wife of 68 years.  He passed away peacefully at home in his sleep on October 6, 2022.

Many in the corporate world might say he was summoned by the great CEO in the sky for eternal leadership consultation after countless referrals from business leaders who preceded him.

A lifelong St Louisan, Robert Eugene Lefton earned his Ph.D. in Psychology at Washington University in 1958.  For his thesis, he studied the effects of stress from cigarette tars on the Swiss albino mouse.  He willfully offered to read it or to recite one of his other favorite works, his Bar Mitzvah speech, to anyone interested in hearing either.  Despite there being no takers, he faithfully continued his search.

Upon graduation, he cofounded Psychological Associates, Inc. with Vic Buzzotta.  Initially a clinical practice, they soon realized many of the principles they were using were relevant to businesses.  They understood that empirically validated measurements and an emphasis on objective, observable behavior can lead to greater business results.  This positioning of psychological principles changed the landscape of how businesses address leadership, organizational development, and talent management

Bob was instrumental in creating the Dimensional Model of human behavior.  He used it to evolve into a sage adviser whom countless businesspeople sought for his keen insight into people and leadership.  He adeptly leveraged his skills as a consummate salesman and an excellent storyteller to translate the technical side of organizational psychology into meaningful advice that any businessperson could appreciate.

Although he enjoyed claiming that his secret was a proficiency to dazzle people with his intellect and baffle them with his bull, the throngs who relied on his expertise knew otherwise.  The most senior people in successful organizations from family businesses to global powerhouses consistently sought his counsel on leadership.

Most of them also became friends, many among his closest.  He connected with people so well because he liked and valued them.  He was loyal, genuine, and valued long-term relationships.

One of his many client turned close friends expressed a common sentiment upon learning of his passing by saying, “Bob was to me and my family, mentor, friend, and mensch.”  Another offered, “the world was his friend.”

Bob’s sense of loyalty extended to his staff.  He felt a strong responsibility to his employees and was always concerned for their needs and well-being.  He loved the opportunity to brighten their day by telling a good joke and the fact that they still smiled even when hearing some of his favorites again and again is a testament to the warmth with which he touched people.

Above all else, Bob was devoted to his family.  He was beloved husband of the late Marlene Rea Shanfeld; dear father and father-in-law of Jeff (Bry) Lefton, Cindy Lefton, and Brad Lefton; dear “Pawpaw” of Jessica and Katie Lefton; dear son of the late Rose Lefton; cherished brother and brother-in-law of the late Morris (the late Marlene) Lefton; dear son-in-law of the late Julius and the late Mary Shanfeld; dear brother-in-law of the late Sylvia (the late David) Siffer and Norma (the late Ash Finer) (the late Joe) Perll; dear half-brother-in-law of the late Irvin (the late Mignon) Shanfeld and the late Pearl Pat (the late Buddy) Fisher; dear uncle of Evan, Mike (Debbie), Amy Lefton, Hillary (Rich) Pandorf, Diane Baer, the late Alan Siffer, Martin, Steven and the late Marsha Finer.

It would also be remiss not mention his everlasting love for his mother Rose’s three sisters and aunt and all of the cousins he cherished from their families (her sisters the late Lillian (Emil) Manne, the late Dorothy (Harold) Saks, the late Ethel “Pat” (Louis) Leve), her aunt, the late Sarah (Chiam) Goldstein).

He never forgot their love and kindness during a difficult childhood in which his depression era mother was suddenly abandoned by her husband and left to raise two young boys alone.  She placed them at the St. Louis Jewish Children’s Home as she sold dresses from the trunk of her car on consignment in a determined way to make ends meet.  Without the loving support of the Iuster and Goldstein cousins, Bob could not have achieved the remarkable life that he enjoyed.

FUNERAL SERVICE WEDNESDAY, OCT 19TH, 10:00 AM at Congregation Temple Israel, #1 Rabbi Alvan D. Rubin Drive (Ladue and Spoede Roads). Interment Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Cemetery  Memorial contributions preferred to Palliative Care at Barnes Jewish Hospital, MERS Goodwill, National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

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