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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Tom Benson: 1927-2018

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 6:25 PM

click to enlarge Tom Benson. - PHOTO BY JONATHAN BACHMAN
  • PHOTO BY JONATHAN BACHMAN
  • Tom Benson.

Tom Benson, the billionaire car dealer, philanthropist and owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, died today at Ochsner Medical Center at the age of 90. He had been hospitalized with the flu for a month.

The New Orleans Saints site has a full obituary. Funeral and memorial services have not been announced.

Reactions from local officials:

 Mayor Mitch Landrieu:
“I am deeply saddened to learn of Tom Benson’s passing. His unrivaled commitment to our city knew no bounds. Through his leadership of our Saints and Pelicans, he gave us the opportunity to showcase the resilience of our city on the national and world stage. Tom’s commitment to winning extended far beyond the football field and basketball court. Through his generous support of the arts, education, faith-based causes, health and wellness and our veterans, Tom put our local community first in so many ways. New Orleans is on a roll, and we have Tom Benson to thank for being a huge part of our continuing success. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gayle, the Benson Family, and all those touched with his generosity and spirit. He was a true champion for our city and will be dearly missed.”
Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell:
"For more than four decades, Tom Benson has been an integral part of the social, civic and entrepreneurial fabric of New Orleans. Today I am saddened to learn of his passing and extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Gayle and to his children and grandchildren. His legacy will live on in the city of New Orleans for generations to come. May our dear friend, deservedly, rest in peace."
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro:
"Tom Benson left an indelible mark on New Orleans as a businessman, philanthropist and Super Bowl-winning team owner. It is with immense sadness that our city absorbs today's news of his passing. We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Benson's wife Gayle, daughter Renee, grandchildren Rita and Ryan, and to all of his extended family, friends and colleagues. And we pray that Mr. Benson enjoys his view of next season as his and our beloved Saints bring home a second championship in his honor."
U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy:
“My prayers are with Tom’s wife, Gayle, and their family during this difficult time. A true New Orleanian, Tom Benson ensured the survival of the Saints and the Pelicans through hard work, perseverance, and passion. He’s left a lasting legacy.”
Former Saints vice-president Arnie Fielkow:
"I am saddened to hear of the passing today of Saints and Pelicans owner Mr. Tom Benson, and my wife Susan and I extend our condolences to his entire family. In 2000 Mr. Benson provided me with an opportunity of a lifetime when he selected me to be the Saints Director of Administration (and later Executive Vice President). The opportunity to work in the NFL had been a life-long dream and I will forever be appreciative. Equally important, Mr. Benson's decision brought my family and me to New Orleans and we immediately fell in love with our great community, a love affair which has continued through today. May Mr. Benson rest in peace and may his family be comforted by a lifetime of personal and professional memories."

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