Philadelphia Mourns The Loss Of Lewis Katz - KMSP-TV

Philadelphia Mourns The Loss Of Lewis Katz

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PHILADELPHIA -

Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz was killed along with six other people in a fiery plane crash in Massachusetts on Saturday night.

The passengers were returning to our area from a gathering at the home of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

The tragic accident comes, just days after Katz reached a deal that many were hoping would help stabilize the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Sunday was the 185th anniversary of the paper's founding. The legacy Katz leaves behind, already extends much farther.

Fox 29’s Chris O’Connell has local reaction to the loss of Lewis Katz

In one way or another most of us have felt the influence of Lewis Katz.

"I haven't really reconciled yet that I'll never see him again. He'll never make me laugh or smile again," said former Governor Ed Rendell.

Rendell still shaken from the early morning phone call telling him one of his best friends had died.

"He was as good a friend as our family had, but he didn't care whether if you were rich or powerful if you were a good person he tried to help you," he said.

Rendell just spoke with Katz Friday when Katz asked Rendell to join him on that fateful trip to Boston.

Rendell declined because of a prior speaking engagement.

"If it wasn't for that speech I’ve might have never been on that plane," said Rendell

As one of the area’s most generous philanthropists, Katz grew up in the Parkside neighborhood of Camden, and never forgot where he came from.

The Camden Boys and Girls Club bears his name, so does a charter school and a Jewish community center in Longport

Katz recently gave a 25-million dollar donation to Temple University's School of Medicine.

"Lewis was just a guy who supported so many different causes. He cared about kids. He cared about education. He looked at things going on in Philadelphia and in Camden, never forgot his very humble roots,” said Mayor Michael Nutter.

Rendell says one of Katz crowing achievements came just last week when he and partner Gerry Lenfest bought the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News for a 80-million dollars. Their goal was to make sure the papers stayed locally controlled.

"They knew the Inquirer was not a great investment. They overpaid 20-30 million, but they did it because they wanted to make sure the paper stayed in Philly they wanted to make sure the papers survived," said Rendell.

"In 26 years, I've never seen him happier," said Rendell.

Son Drew Katz will take over company operations.

In a statement his son writes:

"My father was my best friend. He taught me everything. He never forgot where and how he grew up, and he worked tirelessly to support his community in countless ways that were seen and unseen."

"The greatest joy he got out of life was helping people," said Rendell. "He just liked doing stuff for people. He was unbelievable and for us as a community it's a huge loss."

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