Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

GOVERNOR MARIO M. CUOMO
EULOGIZES BILL MODELL

In one of my previous books, I included a lovely eulogy for
Michael Modell, scion of one of New York’s great merchant
families.

In 2008 Governor Cuomo got up once more to remember
Bill Modell, the patriarch of the nationally known
sporting goods family.

Mr. Modell was a major philanthropist in the New York
area. His charitable work continues to this day with the
guidance and dynamism of his spectacular wife, Shelby
Modell, who is a sheer pure, natural force. Nancy and I
adore her.

We all repeat ourselves—but Bill sings a chorus!

It’s a cold, clear morning, but one of our brightest lights, who has warmed and enlightened us all, is gone.

Leo Rosten, the famous Jewish writer and philosopher, tells us when death summons a man to appear before his Creator, his greatest advantage will come from his good deeds.

The tsunami of newspaper stories describing Bill’s passing call him a “titan of industry” because he transformed Modell’s from four stores in New York City to 136 stores in eleven states. He took a modest family retail business and, with the help of Michael and Mitchell, created a national model, envied by all. Even President George H.W. Bush praised him as a brilliant innovator who strengthened our national economy.

For all of his commercial success, for all his iconic stature, those of us who knew him well saw a great deal more. Until now, his virtues and accomplishments have been largely concealed behind a veil of modesty and deference.

He was a distinguished veteran of the Army’s Ninth Air Corps in the Second World War; an extraordinary humanitarian and a prodigiously generous philanthropist; a patron of the arts; a civil rights

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