Bob Serenson 1966–2020: A Gift to the LP Industry Gone Too Soon

Bob Serenson

The retail loss prevention industry lost one of its brightest lights who made the industry better when Bob Serenson died unexpectedly Tuesday. At age 54, Bob was seemingly in excellent health still playing and coaching hockey, a lifelong passion of his. His passing has touched many people in the industry. Several have commented for this article.

Bob began his retail career in 1984 with Bradlees Department Stores. He moved to
Kids“R”Us in 1991 as a regional loss prevention manger and rose to director of LP at Babies“R”Us. He joined Linens N Things as vice president of LP in 2007. Bob also served as senior director of LP for Duane Reade, senior director of AP for Walmart, and director of LP, logistics, and innovation for Bed Bath & Beyond. Most recently he worked as strategic account executive for Checkpoint Systems.

During his career he mentored dozens of individuals with a focus on making people better professionals and leaders. Scrolling through his Facebook page, comment after comment say: “He was an awesome mentor and great friend.” “You were such an inspiration and a true leader to so many in our crazy retail loss prevention world.” “He was a trusting leader and a true mentor.” “He helped me both personally and professionally so many times, when I worked for him.”

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Bob was a life-long resident of West Haven, Connecticut, where he lived with his wife Angela and raised two children, Brendan and Skylar. Funeral services will be private. Click here to see his obituary.

Bob Serenson at Dodger Stadium
Bob Serenson at Dodger Stadium with the author in 2009.

On a personal note, Bob was a personal and professional friend of mine and great supporter of the magazine from the beginning in 2001. As you can see from the photos accompanying this article, Bob had an infectious smile that reflected his outgoing, positive personality and outlook on life. His Facebook page is filled with photos of him with his large collection of friends along with posts that promoted love and living life to the fullest. Just two days before his death, he posted a photo of sunrise over the West Haven beach with the caption: “Good morning…don’t take today for granted!” Bob will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Comments from Friends of Bob

“The news of Bob’s passing is a shock to all of us. Bob was a very happy, extremely healthy, truly positive leader among us. Suddenly and without explanation, many of us lost a dear friend and an industry leader while the Serenson family lost the center of their world. As I sit here two days after Bob’s passing, I struggle to make sense of it. At the young age of 54 and with so much ahead of him in his professional and personal life, his passing is unfathomable.

“He has left us with precious memories and his teachings of how to live life fully every day. Bob said, “Life is not a dress rehearsal,” and he lived it as such. I thought I was a special friend of Bob’s and I was, but in the last 48 hours I realize so was everyone else who knew him. His energy, zest, passion, and love for mankind will be missed. And on a personal note I can share, he knew I loved him because I had told him so at the end of every one of our conversations. And now that he is in his final resting place I will say once more—I love you, Bob.” – Roger Greene, TJX

(Left to right) Stuart Rosenthal, Lynn and Roger Greene, and Bob Serenson

“Twenty-six years ago I was hired as a regional loss prevention manager for Kids“R”Us and was sent to New Haven, CT, for two weeks to be trained by Bob. He picked me up at the airport in this really crappy Oldsmobile that was literally falling apart. I came to find out it was his company car. Now I am thinking, ‘Okay did I make the right decision.’ Well, after two weeks with Bob (not sure how much training we actually did), I had made the best friend I have ever had at a job. That friendship grew to a brotherhood with way too many adventures to relay, even as we went our separate ways, grew in our careers, and eventually reunited on the sales side of the business.

“As I write this with a heavy heart, there are some things that truly standout about Bob. This is what separated him from the pack and made me proud to be his friend. Bob had a passion for our industry both on the retail and sales side of business. He not only believed in but constantly demonstrated his desire to mentor and grow his teams to the next level. He was always there for anyone who needed him with support and advice. Most importantly was the love and dedication he had for his family. The way he lit up when talking about his wife and kids, you knew they were his world. Bob, my friend, may you rest in peace and know you will be terribly missed every day. But I am sure you will build a great team in heaven.” – Stuart Rosenthal, Checkpoint Systems

Bob Serenson with Kelli Woelfel
Bob Serenson with Kelli Woelfel

“I met Bob through a mutual friend 20-plus years ago. We remained connected and every time I saw him, his warm welcome made me feel like we had been friends forever. His sincerity and openness were special. He loved his work, and the people he worked with were important to him. His passion was obvious to everyone, but most of all as it related to his wife and children. Bob was a special guy. I will miss talking to him, seeing his smile, hearing him razzing his buddies. We lost a good one.” – Kelli Woelfel

“I had the opportunity to work with Bob for over 10 years while at Babies“R”Us and created a lifelong bond and friendship. We were always in touch with each other long past our time at Babies. Many people speak about Bob’s team style of management, and I was able to benefit from that trait while working with him. You never really worked for Bob but were simply one of the team. He valued each player and was a master at assembling teams that I try to duplicate today.

Chris McDonald with Bob Serenson
Chris McDonald with Bob Serenson

“Bob also had a great way of balancing both work and family life. He was very candid about never wanting to leave his home of Connecticut because of his deep family commitments, even though that may have impacted his career growth, and I absolutely respected and admired his firm stand. Recalling one of our first business trips together, Bob came to Atlanta to visit me, and I was anticipating the typical whirlwind 12-hour days jumping from store to store. But when we left the airport, his agenda was clear—we were going to hit a few stores, but he wanted to spend time to get to know me. We did visit a couple of stores, but also spent hours learning to understand each other and what drove each of us. That visit was one of the most important ones of my career, and I continue to ‘steal’ that philosophy even today.” – Chris McDonald, Murphy USA

“I met Bobby during his time at Kids“R”Us. We became friends immediately as that was the type of person he was. Our common profession is what brought us together, but our love for life, family, and hockey is what always kept us connected. I followed his career from Kids to Babies and then to Linens N Things, all the while talking more about life first then work. When my son Andrew was young, he attended one of Bobby’s hockey camps. Bob’s knowledge of ice hockey and goaltending was spot on and translated to young people, which I always believed was because of his boyish smile and his lust for sincerity. I will miss our conversations and the sharing of stories about our families. I will miss you, Bobby. Rest in peace.” – Gregg “Ox” Oxfeld, Securitas Electronic Security

Kevin Ach with Bob Serenson at Pinehurst
Kevin Ach with Bob Serenson at Pinehurst

“I was very fortunate to count Bob as a close personal friend as well as a great loss prevention industry partner. He was a great connector of people and brought that amazing energy and positivity to all of those around him. We had a great number of conversations and experiences that I’ll always cherish. We had an annual trip to Pinehurst where we played golf and laughed with Industry colleagues and always just had a blast! He loved his family and his friends fully and always showed it. I’m tremendously sad about his passing and will miss him greatly!” – Kevin Ach, EPIC

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