Brooklyn Native William D. Modell passes away

Brooklyn Native William D. Modell passes

Brooklyn native, sporting-goods magnate, and
noted philanthropist William D. Modell passed away on February 14th
at age 86.

Modell's is the oldest family-owned sporting
goods company in America, having been started as a general store on
Cortland Street in Lower Manhattan in 1889 by Morris Modell, William
Modell's grandfather. Morris Modell was an immigrant from Hungary
who supplied clothing for Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders during the
Spanish-American War and bought and sold surplus army clothing after
the war.

After World War II, Modell's announced they would
sell their entire stock of menswear exclusively to veterans, and
also provided on-the-job training to veterans. When the chain opened
their largest store in Brooklyn in 1946, the sales staff was
comprised of company-trained veterans.

Modell's now operates
136 stores in eight states.

In 1947, when Jackie Robinson
broke baseball's color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Modell
placed Robinson's image in company advertisements. Later, William
Modell told Crain's New York Business: "As Jews, we knew what
it meant to be outsiders. Nothing is more important than a sense of
community and harmony."

Mr. Modell grew up in the Manhattan
Beach section of Brooklyn, and was a founder of the Crohn’s and
Colitis Foundation of America and Gilda's Club New York and
Worldwide, and a patron of the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center
for the Performing Arts.

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