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Obituary: Paul Daube Jr., 78

Paul Daube Jr., founder of The Daube Co., an influential buying group for the big & tall market, passed away at his home Saturday, May 5. He was 78.

DEERFIELD, Ill.  — Paul Daube Jr., founder of The Daube Co., an influential buying group for the big & tall market, passed away at his home Saturday, May 5. He was 78.

Daube is credited with helping develop the big & tall market for independent retailers. In the 1970s he founded The Daube Co. as a means to connect vendors to what was then a fledgling group of specialty stores. Eventually The Daube Co. came to serve as the merchandising arm of BATA (Big & Tall Associates).

“He was the pioneer in the development of independent b&t retailing,” said Rob Dahle, owner of Dahle’s Big & Tall in Salt Lake City.

The Daube Co.’s primary focus was the annual Daube Show, a member-only trade event. Daube ran the event for years with his wife, Shirlee, but in 2004 sold it to BATA, which now operates the show as part of the Chicago Collective. Since then Daube has served as BATA’s executive director.

“He still had such a passion for the industry,” said Susan McCullough, senior vice-president of apparel for Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., which hosts the Chicago Collective. “Just two weeks ago he was talking to me about how to grow their business.”

Daube got his start at Harvard Clothes, which was founded by his father, Paul Daube Sr., in 1892. Daube Jr. eventually took over the company, which for a period functioned as the buying arm of the Menswear Retailers of America.

Daube was a longtime sports enthusiast and conservationist. He is survived by his wife, Shirlee; daughter, Carol; sons, Jeff and Scott; as well as grand- and great-grandchildren.