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Lewis Katz Dead: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Lewis Katz, the 72-year-old co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, was among seven people killed in a plane crash Saturday night at an airfield near Boston.

According to the Boston Globe, Katz had been in the area for an event at the Concord, Massachusetts home of famed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and her husband, Richard Goodwin.

The Globe reported that the plane carrying Katz and the other passengers ran off the runway and burst into flames before it could take off for Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Katz died less than a week after he and partner H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest took control of the papers and their website, Philly.com.

Here’s what you need to know about him:

1. He & Lenfest Bought a Majority Share of the Papers for $88 Million

Katz and Lenfest won control of the papers for $88 million at a private auction last Tuesday, marking the papers’ sixth ownership change in eight years.

Lenfest, an 83-year-old who sold his cable company to AT&T in 1999, announced in a statement Sunday morning that Katz’s 42-year-old son, Drew, will succeed him on the board of directors of the new company created by Lenfest and Katz.


2. He Had Just Addressed Employees After Taking Control of the Papers

According to the Inquirer, Katz delivered a pep talk to employees after gaining control of the papers on Tuesday, telling them:

We know more than anybody how difficult this business is. We’re going to give it our best. We’re going to try to bring in the best. And, hopefully, we’ll have a wonderful result.

3. He Used to Own the New Jersey Nets & New Jersey Devils

Lewis Katz dead, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Philly.com

Katz watching a New Jersey Nets game in 2003 when he owned the team. (Getty)

Katz once owned the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and a small piece of the New York Yankees and their TV network, the YES Network. He also made millions investing in the Kinney Parking Company.

He owned the Nets when they made their only appearances in the NBA finals in 2002 and 2003.


4. He Graduated From Temple University & Dickinson Law School

Katz graduated from Temple University and Dickinson Law School, and was a major donor to both institutions, according Philly.com.

Here’s how Katz described his Temple experience in his bio on the university’s website:

I thought I was going to be a doctor or a comedian. My life has been like a good run at the tables, and it all started at Temple. I got more out of extracurricular activities at Temple than anybody I know.

Inquirer editor Bill Marimow summed up Katz’s charitable endeavors in a statement included in the Philly.com story on Katz’s death:

He never forgot his friends or his roots, giving back generously to the city of Camden, Temple University, Dickinson College’s law school, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and countless other organizations.


5. Katz’s Father Died Shortly After Katz Was Born

According to Philly.com:

Katz grew up in the Parkside section of Camden. His father died of a heart attack soon after Katz was born, and his mother raised him on her earnings as a secretary at RCA.

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