Robert DeBenedictis impacted hundreds, if not thousands, of people during his life, including many in South Florida. 

Many of them gathered Feb. 27 at Tropics Grille in Wilton Manors to honor and celebrate the man who brought smiles to their faces. The restaurant shut down for the evening so people could gather, walk down memory lane, and share stories.

DeBenedictis passed away in October. He was one of the original investors in Lips on Oakland Park Blvd. Lips’ owner, Mark Zschiesche, posted at the time, “He was a great man who helped many people realize their dreams by investing in them. Bob enjoyed life and he was always looking for a young entrepreneur he believed in to help them in their venture. Bob, you will be missed and thank you for helping me make my dream come true with Lips.”

He was born and raised in Pennsylvania and attended Drexel University for his undergraduate and then a Master's in business Administration. After a stint in the U.S. Navy, DeBenedictis moved to New York City and worked on Wall St. and was a small business entrepreneur, whose ventures included restaurants and real estate.

He expanded his business to Florida in the 1990s. He is survived by his partner, Bashir Khan, as well as two siblings and dozens of nephews and nieces.

DeBenedictis was 87 years old.

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