Monday, August 18, 2008

Former New England Patriots owner, James Busch Orthwein, dies

James Busch Orthwein, former New England Patriots owner, died Aug. 15 at age 84. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said he also played a role in the Rams coming to St. Louis. With the middle name Busch, you may have already guess a connection to Anheuser-Busch. His mother, Clara Busch Orthwein, was the granddaughter of Adolphus Busch, one of the founders of Anheuser-Busch. According to the Post-Dispatch:

    In 1992, Mr. Orthwein bought the floundering New England Patriots. He sold the team two years later to its current owner, Robert Kraft. Mr. Orthwein had hired Bill Parcells as the Patriots' head coach, and the team had drafted Drew Bledsoe as its quarterback. The team made the Super Bowl after the 1996 season. Mr. Orthwein played a role in the arrival of the Rams in St. Louis from Los Angeles. He had owned 65 percent of the stadium rights and donated his ownership of those rights to FANS Inc., the nonprofit group that persuaded the Rams to move here.
He lived an interesting life, which included an acquaintance with writer Ernest Hemingway.

In the Boston Globe, Kraft, who still owns the Patriots, said: "I have a great black-and-white photo of the two of us sitting at a table that day (when Orthwein sold the team) with my entire family standing behind us. It is a day I will never forget and a memory I will always cherish."

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