PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If it weren’t for prior obligations, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said he “would have been on that plane” that killed his long-time friend Lewis Katz and six others this past weekend.
The private jet, Gulfstream IV, crashed around 9:40 p.m. Saturday departing from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts for Atlantic City International Airport.
Rendell joined the 94WIP Morning Show Monday to remember his long-time friend.
Rendell was invited by Katz to attend the education initiative for the son of Doris Kearns Goodwin.
“He decided he would go to hear Doris Kearns Goodwin’s son, who was getting an award for what he did in education, and they were having a fundraiser for helping that sort of charter school,” Rendell explained. “So he asked me to go Tuesday and fortunately, I had an auction winners dinner Saturday night, which Michael Barkann, Ray Didinger, and I we auctioned off dinner with us at City Tavern. I couldn’t go that Saturday and I had a speaking engagement early Sunday morning.”
“So those two events, I couldn’t get out of or else I would have gone because I love Doris Kearns Goodwin and you know, education has always been a big thing for me,” Rendell said. “I would have been on that plane.”
Katz, 72, was a co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com. Born in Camden, New Jersey in 1942 and graduate of the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University, Katz was a former owner of the NBA’s Nets and the NHL’s Devils.
“Well he was a great, great friend to me and one of those people—and you know there are a few of them—he always made people laugh and he did spontaneous things,” a somber Rendell told Angelo Cataldi and the WIP Morning Show. “He’s a force of nature. There wasn’t anything he didn’t think he could change. There wasn’t any idea that he thought was good that he didn’t try to put together a way to effectuate the idea. He was just amazing. He was a great business man, a tough negotiator. He could make people angry with them because he was so tough and yet he was as kind as anyone I ever saw.”
Katz, an extremely successful business man, donated $25 million to Temple University last year and the school of medicine was renamed the Lewis Katz School of Medicine. Rendell recalled a story where Katz used his own scholarship and money to generously pay for a portion of a student’s tuition.
Katz served on Temple’s board of trustees and received an honorary degree from the university, making a commencement speech at Temple University this past May.
Rendell explained he sent Katz some “talking points” and “quotations” to help him. Katz picked a quote from former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
Rendell said Katz picked that remark “because it was everything he [Katz] was about.”
The Wooden quote that Katz picked?
“You can’t live a perfect day unless you do something for someone who will never be able to thank you.”
Temple University will hold a memorial service for Katz on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the Temple Performing Arts Center, Temple University, 1837 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19122. All are welcome.