Appreciation: Robert L. Beal, Real Estate Titan and Philanthropist, Dies at 78

Robert L. Beal of Boston, age 78, passed away Sunday, Feb. 9. The former president of The Beal Companies and subsequently Related Beal, Robert devoted his heart and soul to his family, his work, and the City of Boston, and made a positive impact on everyone he met.

“Robert was a loving brother and uncle, mentor to many, and a friend to all,” said his brother, Bruce A. Beal, Sr., chairman of Related Beal. “For over 50 years, he worked passionately and tirelessly to make Boston a better place, and left his mark not just on Boston’s map, but also on its compass.”

Robert L. Beal.

Born on Sept. 10, 1941, Robert graduated from Harvard College in 1963 and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1965. He began his career at The Beacon Companies before joining his brother Bruce at the family business in 1976, where together they became the fourth generation of Beals to run The Beal Companies (now Related Beal).

Through his work, Robert helped transform Boston, laying the groundwork for the life sciences industry of the future while also breathing new life into some of the city’s most iconic buildings. As chairman of the Artery Business Committee, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, and a longtime board member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, and the Vault, Robert worked to shape everything from skylines to policy as Boston transitioned from one century to the next.

Yet Robert’s true legacy stems from his incredible commitment to and leadership of Boston’s civic, academic and philanthropic communities. On Beacon Hill, Robert was instrumental in working with the City of Boston to transform the former fire station on Mount Vernon Street into a permanent home for the Hill House Community Center. He served as chair of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, on the boards of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Beacon Hill Civic Association, the Old North Foundation, was a life member of the Bostonian Society, and chaired the School of Social Science, Urban Affairs and Public Policy at Northeastern University.

As Boston established itself as a world leader in healthcare, Robert served as an overseer and trustee for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center. For many years he was Chair of the Boston Zoological Society and the Council of Fellows for the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He spearheaded capital campaigns for the boards of Combined Jewish Philanthropies and United Way of Massachusetts Bay’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society. At his alma mater, Robert was Chair of The Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard, and Chair of Harvard Hillel, the center and catalyst for Jewish life on the Harvard campus.

Said his nephew, Bruce A. Beal, Jr., president of the Related Companies: “Robert was an amazing man. I was blessed to have him as an uncle. He was kind and generous and cared for so many expecting nothing in return. His legacy lives inside of all of us and we will do our best to honor him and make him proud.”

In addition to his brother and nephew, Robert is survived by his niece Dr. Alexandra Stern, his nephew Christopher Beal, and several great nieces and great nephews. Funeral services will be private.

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