LIVE: Coverage of the Lewis Katz Memorial
Good morning. This is where you can find our live coverage of the Lewis Katz memorial. It can also be viewed online here. The event starts at 11 a.m.
11:02 a.m.: A string quartet is playing. The stage features a Temple University podium and several chairs behind it.
11:10 a.m.: Neil Theobald, president of Temple, welcomes the crowd. Says they’ll hear from a few of Katz’s friends. They’ll speak individually, but create a powerful whole image of Katz’s life. Theobald mentions other victims of the crash that killed Katz: “They’re in our hearts and in our prayers.”
Katz was given honorary doctorate at recent commencement. “Success isn’t about material things. Work matters, but family matters more,” he told grads at that event.
11:15 a.m.: Rabbi Aaron Krupnick, of Camden’s Congregation Beth El, tells story of Katz at a golf driving range, watching girl drive. Told father: “You should have her play real golf.” Father said he couldn’t afford it. Katz told the manager to let the girl and her father play for free; girl went on to get a scholarship and play for the University of Georgia.
“Extend a helping hand to people who are despondent and living without hope. Lewis saw them.”
11:25 a.m: Ed Rendell speaks. “Lewis Katz was a great man.” Not because of achievements in business, sports, philanthropy. Crowning achievement: Paid “tens of millions more than economics said they should have” with Gerry Lenfest to buy the Inquirer, preserve it, and preserve it from interference.
Katz gave money that got his name on buildings, Rendell says, but also many unknown acts of kindness: Left $100 tips for struggling waitstaff, picked up tuition for college students in need, all without public praise or notice.
Rendell tears up: “He was a champion to thousands who never knew his name, doing things that would never make the paper.”
11:37 a.m.: Bill Clinton’s turn. He had lots of fun with Katz. “I can hear him now: ‘Can you believe I got Bill Clinton to come to Philadelphia for something besides a fund-raiser?”
At early 1990s fund-raiser, Katz told Clinton to whisper in his ear before Katz spoke. Why? “Because if you whisper in my ear,” Katz told the president, “they’ll think I’m close to you and give more money.” When the time came, Clinton whispered to Katz: “Lew, you’re a putz.”
Clinton adds: “He didn’t smile or anything. He nodded gravely like I’d given him the nuclear codes.” Much laughter from the crowd.
“His life force was such, I thought he’d be around forever,” Clinton says of Katz.
“Thank you, Lew Katz, for what you did for me. For never giving up in the darkest hours. For making sure we had a good time trying.”
11:49 p.m.: More string quartet.
11:52 a.m.: Gov. Tom Corbett speaks. Had young friendship with Katz. “When Lewis opened his arms up to you, he opened them up wide.”
“Lewis was always altruistic.” Conversations always about strengthening Temple and Dickinson universities.
12:01 p.m.: Sen. Cory Booker speaks. Puts on kippah in Katz’s honor.
“He in his life sought to elevate humble people, and he tried to knock down people with fancy titles.”
Says Katz once made a bet he could tell a dirty joke to then-President Jimmy Carter. Managed to whisper it to Carter before being grabbed by Secret Service and escorted out.
Katz had told Booker: “Cory, Cory: Don’t think highly of yourself because you got elected to the United Senate. Any idiot can do that, and idiots usually do.”
Praises Katz’s altruism: “He seemed drawn to the persons who were on the most difficult path.”
12:13 p.m.: Mayor Michael Nutter. Just a week ago today had called Katz to congratulate him on winning the Inquirer. “One week later, we’re here.”
Nutter’s time talking is much lighter on the personal anecdotes than the other speeches. “Lewis Katz didn’t just pass this way. He stopped, smelled those roses, and made things better for many people. … He was always trying to do more and better.”
12:24 p.m.: Inky editor Bill Marimow: “I came to realize no one could catalog all he had done in his remarkable life.”
Best tribute to Katz, he says, will be to continue to do excellent journalism.
12:35 pm.: Doris Kearns Goodwin. Hosted Katz’s last outing, was longtime friend. Says last book Katz was reading was Seneca’s On The Shortness of Life.
“What truly bound us together were the love and pride we both felt for our families.” His last words to her: “So long as we pledge to tell and retell the stories of their lives,” we live on in the lives of our familes.
12:42 p.m.: Ed Snider. “He never bragged about anything that he did. He was just a spectacular human being.”
“I’ve never ever been to a testimonial like this, ever. He is absolutely irreplaceable; he was unique.”
“We never had a conversation without saying: ‘I love you man.’ Well, I loved that man.”
12:45 p.m.: Bill Cosby. Katz, graduating from high school, fatherless, received an anonymous donation to attend Temple.
Cosby exhorts the beneficiaries of Katz’s largesse to keep alive the institutions and missions he helped set in motion.
Points out that Boys & Girls Club of Camden no longer has Katz to fund it, as well as many other institutions in the area. “I’m not challenging you, I’m telling you, you better not let it drop, you better not let it fall, you better not let stains, graffiti, touch these buildings without it being washed off immediately. Am I clear? He gave it to you.”
“So c’mon Camden. That Boys & Girls club has to stay, it has to be there, so that all who come and pass by it will know it’s worth keeping. … His life lives, not in the name that was put on the wall, but in the gift that was given to you.”
“We’re alive. So we weep. But we also will do.”
1:03 p.m.: Lew Katz’s grandson, Ethan Silver, speaks. “He impacted everyone in such a certain way, that I got to witness, it was so amazing. … For as long as I live, Poppy Lewis will be in my heart.”
1:08 p.m.: Katz’s daughter, Melissa Silver. “We were raised by, quite simply, the best.”
1:17 p.m.: Katz’s son, Drew. “I am heartbroken. Not simply heartbroken; my heart is shattered into a zillion pieces.”
Lost mom in December. “I don’t know how I’m going to go on without the most important people in my life.”
“He was a force of nature. Brilliant. Hard-working. Savvy. Funny.”
Katz yearly took three waiters from Boca Roaton to the Bahamas for a few days of gambling and relaxation. “My father wanted to make memories.”
“Death can end a life, but it cannot end a love. Dad, I will love you until the day I die, and then from the other side.”
1:40 p.m.: Theobald closes, with video of Lew Katz’s commencement speech at Temple last month.
And that’s where we’ll leave it. Thanks for following today’s coverage of the memorial service for Lew Katz.