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Salt Lake businessman, philanthropist Keith Warshaw, 84, dies

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Salt Lake businessman and philanthropist Keith Maurice Warshaw died Dec. 26, 2008, after a long struggle with ongoing medical problems. He was 84.

The son of Russian immigrants, Warshaw suffered a football injury as an East High School senior that left him paralyzed but did not hinder his success and vitality.

Warshaw helped operate the Grand Central Stores chain, a business founded by his father, Maurice Warshaw, in 1928 in Salt Lake City with a single retail location that eventually grew to 31 stores in five Western states. The business was purchased by Fred Meyer in 1984, five years after Warshaw's father died.

In 1976, Warshaw founded Keith Warshaw & Company, a downtown Salt Lake department store with a single location, occupying a six-story building. The store was highly touted as a unique business that employed novel methods for marketing and merchandise selection, though it did not survive a collapse of the downtown retail economy in the late '70s.

Warshaw was known for his generosity and supported numerous community groups as well as helping to operate the Maurice Warshaw Foundation, a philanthropic organization. He was an ardent traveler, reader, sculptor, musician and storyteller.

A memorial service is scheduled for noon today at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary, 3401 S. Highland Drive. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, a contribution to the University of Utah Department of Surgery be considered.