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N.J. Nets, Devils Owner Gave Millions To Local Causes

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There was a memorial service for Lewis Katz this week, where a video was shown of the man being mourned saying, life is meant to have as much fun as you can conjure up. Mr. Katz died last Saturday night in a plane crash with six other people. He was 72. He made millions in parking lots, billboards and sports. He owned the New Jersey Nets and Devils and had just bought the Philadelphia Inquirer. He grew up in Camden, New Jersey. His father died when he was a year old.

Lewis Katz gave back millions to charter schools in Camden, Temple University and the local Boys and Girls Club. Bill Cosby told mourners to continue his legacy of generosity, saying, you better not let it fall. Lewis Katz lives in what you do to the gifts that were given to you. Lewis Katz was also the kind of man who left impulsive, hundred dollar tips.

Bill Clinton recalled how Lou Katz once told him to whisper in his ear at a fundraiser. They'll think that we're close, and I can raise more money. So President Clinton says he whispered, Lou, you're a putz. And Lewis Katz just nodded as if he'd been given the nuclear code. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon
Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.