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 December 29, 2023

Herb Kohl Dead At 88

Wisconsin has lost a towering figure with the passing of Herb Kohl.

Herb Kohl, a multifaceted leader in politics, sports, and business, has died at 88 following a brief illness.

Herb Kohl, a name synonymous with Wisconsin's development, carved a unique path through his diverse roles. He was not just a successful businessman and a political stalwart but also a sports enthusiast, owning the Milwaukee Bucks. His journey from the family grocery business to the halls of the U.S. Senate was marked by a deep connection with people from all walks of life.

The life of a versatile leader

JoAnne Anton, the director of giving at Herb Kohl Philanthropies, highlighted Kohl's unwavering commitment to the community, emphasizing that his philanthropic activities were not just an aspect of his character but its defining feature. Kohl's journey from expanding his family's business to serving as a U.S. Senator reflects his deep dedication to service.

Herb Kohl, born in Milwaukee to Jewish immigrant parents, experienced a remarkable rise. Educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard, he prepared for a life marked by diverse accomplishments. His service in the U.S. Army added to his broad spectrum of experiences.

Kohl's political career was as successful as his business ventures. Winning four Senate elections, he never faced defeat in his political endeavors. His campaign slogan, "Nobody's Senator but Yours," perfectly captured his approach to politics - a commitment to serve the people earnestly and diligently.

A philanthropist's heart in business

In the business world, Kohl was a force to be reckoned with. He played a pivotal role in expanding the Kohl family grocery and department store business. The business's growth under his leadership was substantial, culminating in a significant sale to a British firm in 1972. This move demonstrated his business acumen and foresight.

Herb Kohl's love for sports was evident in his purchase of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1985. His primary motivation was to keep the team in Milwaukee, showcasing his commitment to the city's sporting culture. This decision was not driven by profit but by a desire to contribute to the community he loved.

His later sale of the Bucks in 2014 for $550 million was not just a business transaction. It was a contribution to the city, significantly aiding the construction of Fiserv Forum. His actions reflected a philosophy where monetary gain was secondary to community development.

Legacy in politics and philanthropy

Kohl's political journey began with his first Senate victory in 1988. His approach to politics was characterized by a focus on people's needs and societal welfare. His tenure in the Senate was marked by a pragmatic approach to governance, always keeping the interests of his constituents at the forefront.

His philanthropic endeavors were numerous, with substantial donations to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and various other causes. Kohl's generosity was not just financial but also in spirit. His belief in giving back to the community was deeply ingrained in his philosophy.

Reflecting on Kohl's multifaceted life, Allan "Bud" Selig said:

Throughout his life, Herb Kohl always put people first... He loved sports, he loved Milwaukee and Wisconsin. I think his career is so really unusual in this day and age.

Herb Kohl's legacy extends beyond his professional achievements, characterized by his humility and simplicity despite significant wealth and prominence. His brother Sidney emphasized that Herb's wealth never overshadowed his personality or values.

The impact of Kohl's work on Wisconsin is evident. He emerged from humble origins in Milwaukee and made significant contributions in various sectors. His legacy is marked by service, humility, and dedication. His life story serves as an inspiring example, showcasing the influence of unwavering commitment, philanthropy, and genuine interaction with others.

Lessons to learn from this tragedy

In reflecting on the life and legacy of Herb Kohl, several lessons emerge:

  1. Philanthropy and service to others enrich not just the community but also the individual.
  2. Success in various fields can be achieved with dedication and a genuine connection with people.
  3. Maintaining humility and simplicity in the face of wealth and success is vital.
  4. Contributing to the community is a responsibility that accompanies success.

These lessons remind us that regardless of our successes, remaining grounded and committed to the welfare of others is crucial. While we can strive to emulate these traits, it's important to remember that crime and tragedies can happen to anyone, and we should never blame the victim.

Why this story matters

The story of Herb Kohl is significant for the community because it showcases the impact one individual can have across various sectors. His life's work in business, politics, and sports and his philanthropic efforts demonstrate how diverse contributions can enrich a community. It's a reminder of the lasting impact that dedication, service, and humility can have on society.

In conclusion, the story of Herb Kohl encompasses:

  • He passed at age 88 following a brief illness.
  • His significant contributions in business, politics, and sports.
  • His dedication to philanthropy and community service.
  • The legacy he leaves behind in Wisconsin and beyond.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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