Longport Community Mourns Massachusetts Plane Crash Victims - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Longport Community Mourns Massachusetts Plane Crash Victims

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A well-known Philadelphia area business man and philanthropist and six others died in Massachusetts plane crash.

“This is just an absolute terrible day for the people of Longport, and not only Longport but the whole South Jersey, Philadelphia area," Longport Mayor Nick Russo said.

A community is mourning the death of Lewis Katz.

The 72-year-old co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and former owner of the New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils, was among seven people killed in a plane crash in Massachusetts.

The Gulfstream IV crashed while taking off on its way to Atlantic City just before 10 p.m. Saturday.

“He was just a down to earth guy and of course he never forgot his roots. He remembered everybody that he grew up with," Kolman Diamond said.

Katz’s neighbor and Longport Commissioner James Leeds’ wife Anne also died in the crash.

She texted Leeds four minutes before takeoff.

“They were ready to go at 9:36 and at 9:40 it was over," Leeds said.

Leeds said the retired preschool teacher went with their neighbor and friend to support an education initiative.

He said they both died doing what they loved, trying to help others.

“They never had a negative thing to say about anyone. Everything was positive," Leeds said.

Katz’s son Drew issued this statement about his father's death, saying in part:

“My father was my best friend. He taught me everything. He never forgot where and how he grew up, and he worked tirelessly to support his community in countless ways that were seen and unseen."

Katz was known as a generous philanthropist in the greater Philadelphia area, providing major donations to several organizations, including his Alma Mater, Temple University.

He gave $100,000 to make a playground in Longport handicap accessible.

It’s just one of the many examples of the kindness and generosity Katz provided to the area.

“He was a giver. Many, many people are takers. Lewis Katz was clearly a giver," Russo said.

This Jewish Community Center in Margate bears his parents names, thanks to yet another example of his charitable works.

“I can’t imagine how many lives he’s touched, and it’s a huge loss for the community that he’s not here, but his footprint is," Margate JCC COO Margaret Mancuso said.

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