New York City Philanthropist Preston Robert Tisch Dies

Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Preston Robert Tisch has died at 79, the New York Times reports.

Tisch and his brother Laurence, who died in 2003, were known for their generosity. Both the medical center and arts school at New York University bear the Tisch name, as do a gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the children's zoo in Central Park, and institutes at the University of Michigan, Tufts University, and elsewhere. Bob Tisch, whose net worth was $3.9 billion in 2003, according to Forbes magazine, helped found Meals-on-Wheels and served as its president for twenty years.

A former postmaster general, half-owner of the New York Giants football team, and a leader of many of New York City's top business groups, Tisch ascended the corporate ladder as a marketer for hotels and other companies owned by the Loews Corporation, which he eventually owned. He went on to serve as former New York City mayor David Dinkins's "ambassador" to Washington, D.C., was chairman of host committees for the 1976 and 1980 Democratic National Conventions, and led the way in building a new convention center on Manhattan's West Side. His last civic campaign raised $140 million to revitalize poor athletic fields at the city's public high schools through an organization called Take the Field.

"My parents were middle class," Tisch said in an interview with Newsday in 1991, "and like everybody else in Brooklyn at the time, they worked hard and tried to move up the scale."

Douglas Martin. "Preston Robert Tisch, Owner of Loews Hotels and Giants, Dies at 79." New York Times 11/16/2005.