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May 12, 2017
Bob Landau, one of the founders of GLY Construction in Bellevue, died April 18 at the age of 93.
GLY announced Landau's passing on Thursday in a news release. The company said Landau died at Overlake Medical Center in a wing built by GLY. His wife of 63 years, Betty, was at his side.
“He was one of the last great gentlemen in the local construction community,” said Terry Deeny, a longtime friend and retired founder of Deeny Construction, in the release.
Landau grew up in Alton, Illinois, and fought in World War II. He was awarded two purple hearts for injuries he sustained during the war.
Landau earned a degree in civil engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and worked for several years on projects in Alaska for St. Louis-based Patty McDonald Construction.
He met Harold Gall at McDonald and in 1967 the two formed Gall & Landau Construction. Frank N. Young joined the firm in 1974 as Gall was retiring after 42 years in construction. The firm was renamed Gall Landau Young and later became GLY Construction.
GLY restored several buildings in Pioneer Square, then did a series of jobs for the U.S. Navy at the Trident Base in Bremerton and HUD housing in Seattle.
GLY's annual revenues now are around $500 million, and it takes on large projects, such as the Lakefront Blocks office buildings for Vulcan and Seattle Academy's new Cardinal Union Building.
Landau retired in 1979, but stayed connected to the company as a mentor and teacher.
Bob Irwin, retired vice president of operations at GLY, said Landau was good at noticing details when he visited jobsites — whether they were done well or needed improvement.
In 1980, Landau helped to start the Education Foundation at the Associated General Contractors of Washington, and he continued to attend board meetings into his 90s.
“He asked poignant questions,” Deeny said. “His mind was razor-sharp, and he had an ability to articulate his thoughts in a way that made everyone stop and want to listen. You just wanted to be around someone like that.”
Adrienne Woods, AGC Education Foundation development and marketing coordinator, said Landau played a key role in getting the foundation going.
“He believed in preparing young people for careers in the construction industry, and was passionate from the start,” Woods said. “He fought tirelessly for a foundation that almost didn't exist due to a shortage of funding.”
Through the foundation, he and Betty established the Robert L. and Betty L. Landau Scholarship Endowment in 1990, for construction management students at University of Washington, Washington State University and Central Washington University.
The Landaus also included the Education Foundation's Legacy Society in their estate planning.
The company said no memorial service is planned.