- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 17, 2008

William Modell, 86, sports store owner

NEW YORK (AP) — William Modell, the head of the family-owned Modell’s Sporting Goods chain and a philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to medical research including Crohn’s disease, has died. He was 86.

Mr. Modell died Feb. 14 of complications from prostate cancer, the company said.

Mr. Modell became chairman of the company in 1985 after taking over from his father, Henry. Under his leadership, the chain grew from four stores to 136 in about a dozen states in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic region.

Last year, the chain’s revenues were about $635 million.

The store had a modest beginning when Mr. Modell’s grandfather, Morris, opened a general store in Lower Manhattan in 1889. It thrived after World War II by selling Army surplus merchandise at low prices.

An ardent philanthropist, Mr. Modell was a founder or co-founder of a number of medical foundations including Gilda’s Club New York.

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