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Funeral today for one of Blues' original owners


St. Louis, MO – There will be a funeral today (Monday) for a man who was instrumental in bringing and keeping a pro hockey team to St. Louis.

Robert Wolfson died Friday at the age of 88. He and two others were the original three owners of the Blues when the NHL awarded the city a new franchise in 1966.

The Blues reached the Stanley Cup finals each of their first three seasons. When the Blues were sold to Ralston Purina in 1977, a move that ensured they would stay in St. Louis, Wolfson helped oversee the deal.

Wolfson, Sidney Salomon Jr. and Sid Salomon III obtained an NHL franchise for the city in 1966.

"It was the place to be on a Saturday night," Bob Plager, who played on the first Blues team and is now involved in the team's community relations and radio operations, told the Post-Dispatch.

Wolfson and the other owners often invited the players to their homes after games, said Plager, who remembered Wolfson as "a good friend to everyone who played in those early days of hockey in St. Louis."

Wolfson owned several car dealerships and was chairman of GEM, a chain of membership discount stores that once had 50 locations nationwide. He also helped charter several banks in the St. Louis area.

He was appointed chairman of the Missouri Gaming Commission in 1993 and served until 1998.

Wolfson was born in Velva, N.D. and served as an Army captain in India during World War II.

He is survived by his wife, Ethel; sons Andrew Wolfson and Robert Wolfson Jr.; daughter Anne Wolfson; stepdaughter Jill Lee; two grandchildren; and five step-grandchildren.

Today's funeral will be in Creve Coeur, with burial in Affton.