Honoring Bob Reum: A Remarkable Legacy in Business and Family

"Our father was the most extraordinary man we knew. He will be remembered as an exceptional human being who loved his wife and family above all else."

To leave a legacy is to leave a lasting imprint on the world through accomplishments and character. Some people make their mark on the world through professional contributions; while others view their family as a legacy, and work hard to shape their children into upstanding members of society. W. Robert “Bob” Reum was of the rare genus who achieved both—with equal aptitude.

A visionary and compassionate leader, he steered companies to unparalleled success, but his impact extended far beyond the boardroom, for it was his unwavering devotion to his family that inspired his children to honor his incredible legacy with an Eterneva Diamond. 

A Remarkable Businessman 

In his fifty-year career, Bob Reum held many pivotal roles in top echelon companies, all of which earned him praise for being a true visionary, leading by example, and prioritizing people. 

“Our father was of that mold that doesn’t exist anymore,” shares Courtney Reum, stating that his dad ran his companies with a people-first mentality. “He led with the mindset that the better a company does, the better everyone does. By the end of his career, even his secretary was a multi-millionaire.” 

An accomplished businessman, Bob Reum is perhaps most notably revered for reeling Amsted Industries back from the brink of bankruptcy amidst a recession and transforming it into a global industrial and transportation supplier—a turnaround that continues to astound today. Under his guidance beginning in 2001, the employee-owned industrial conglomerate experienced unparalleled growth, achieving record earnings and exponentially increased share value, catalyzing it to become one of the largest private companies in the United States. 

Ever conscientious of building wealth for the employees through expansion, Bob transformed Amsted Industries to 100% ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), empowering staff members to share in the company’s success. 

Courtney and Carter, successful venture capitalists and co-founder of one of the best-selling independent liquor brands in the U.S., credit much of their business sense to their father, who taught them to “lead from the back.” “Our father was and continues to be an incredible role model both professionally and personally, in terms of character,” shares Carter. “He never wavered in his beliefs in what he thought was right, always made decisions with the employees on the factory floor in mind, and was the consummate father and family man. It’s hard for us to imagine anybody doing it better.”

Now with their investment firm M13, Courtney and Carter follow in their father’s footsteps of guiding companies to success “while staying out of their way.” They seem to share his knack for scalable growth, as the firm now has nearly one hundred portfolio companies, including billion-dollar behemoths, such as Lyft and Slack

Additionally, Bob served on the board of the Houston-based Waste Management for fourteen years and was appointed its non-executive Chairman. He made significant contributions to Chicago area cultural and non-profit institutions as a member of the Board of Trustees and Treasurer of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and during prior sustained tenures as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of both The Morton Arboretum and The Elgin Academy.

A Devoted Family Man

Professionally, Bob was a man of integrity and compassion. These qualities followed him home, where he was a beloved husband to his wife, Sherry, and a devoted father to their three children: Courtney, Carter, and Halle. 

Education was highly valued in the Reum household, with Bob and Sherry both having impressive educational backgrounds. They met at the University of Michigan—Sherry as an undergraduate and Bob as a graduate student, having completed his undergraduate degree at Yale University. She would later go on to graduate from Columbia Business School and he would later earn his M.B.A. in finance from Harvard Business School. Bob and Sherry’s shared commitment to learning was instilled in their children, who all went on to graduate from Columbia University. 

Despite his demanding career, Bob never missed an opportunity to cheer on his children at various sporting events, whether soccer for the boys or gymnastics for Halle. “He worked all the time, but he always managed to be present,” shares Halle. “I was a really serious gymnast and dancer. He drove me to every meet and he’d be quizzing me on mathematics in the car.” 

Courtney and Carter echo that their dad was always willing to get out there and play sports with them. “Our parents waited a little while to have kids,” says Courtney, “so he wasn’t the youngest dad (even though no one could ever tell that by looking at him or his athletic prowess), but he was always willing to get out there and play sports with us. Even though he was an industrious businessman, I can count on one hand the number of games he missed.” 

An Extraordinary Tribute

Sadly, Bob passed away suddenly on February 4, 2017. In the wake of his passing, Courtney, Carter, and Halle wanted a meaningful way to remember and honor his memory. After all, an extraordinary father deserves an extraordinary tribute. 

They partnered with Eterneva to grow a diamond from his ashes, and surprised their mother with a beautiful, sentimental necklace. The stone itself is an emerald-cut blue diamond, paying homage to Bob’s favorite color and his captivating blue eyes. 

Halle, who is a fashion designer and celebrity stylist, shares that their dad’s diamond is a perfect complement to their mom’s wedding ring. “It was really important to us that the diamond was emerald-cut, as Dad proposed to Mom with an emerald-cut ring. She loves anything in that style.” 

The diamond was hand-delivered to Halle’s Los Angeles home on Christmas Eve, by Adelle Archer, Co-founder and CEO of Eterneva. “It was so special to be the one to bring Bob home, and surprise his wife Sherry on Christmas Eve with the most special gift she could possibly receive,” shares Adelle. “She told us about their timeless love story while her kids fastened her husband’s necklace around her neck. It was so poignant, beautiful and perfect.”

Bob Reum’s legacy as a business leader was extraordinary, paralleled only with his commitment to his family. His ironclad integrity, respect for education, and unconditional love are values that each of his children carries with them today, and like his diamond, will endure for generations.