Katz, the Philadelphia tycoon, former sports team owner, and philanthropist who had just purchased the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, had been trying for days to persuade former governor Rendell to fly up with him on Saturday to Concord, Mass., for a cocktail party and dinner at the home of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.
“I stopped to get some produce at a place on 20th Street, and Lewis was sitting in an outdoor seating area at a restaurant across the way,” Rendell, 70, told The Daily Beast on Sunday afternoon, a few hours after he learned that his friend had been killed the previous evening, along with six other people, in the fiery explosion of his chartered jet. “We joked and kibitzed, and Lewis said, ‘You really ought to come tomorrow. Doris would love to see you.’ And I said, ‘Listen, I’ll call you, but I don’t think I can.’”
Rendell had his own speaking engagement to attend. If not for that, Saturday’s air crash would’ve wiped out a good portion of Philadelphia’s elite.