About a week ago, Toys ‘R’ Us announced the closure of its U.S. stores, which sent nostalgia into overdrive and caused Geoffrey the Giraffe to issue a rare emotional outburst. While the business undergoes the process of liquidating its assets, however, more somber news has arrived with the death of founder Charles Lazarus at age 94.
The company announced his passing on Twitter while declaring that, despite recent developments, there are “none more heartbreaking” than this one.
Although Lazarus retired from his CEO position in 1994, he kept in touch with his second family of sorts. A company statement (as reported by the Wall Street Journal) revealed that he even visited the New Jersey company headquarters last year and always possessed a “passion for the customer and love for children everywhere.” Such an attitude is a rarity amid the rise of online retailers, and the demise of both Lazarus and his creation will leave a true void.
Lazarus led Toys ‘R’ Us during its most profitable years, and he even managed to save it from a 1970s bankruptcy filing. His death’s arrival at the apex of the company’s woes only compounds the sadness felt by many.