Chairman of the Board of Modells Sporting Goods, William “Bill” Modell, 86, died February 14, 2008, in New York.
A service will be held on Sunday, February 17 at Temple Emanu-El in New York City.
Mr. Modell was born May 13, 1921, in Manhattan Beach, New York, to Henry and Rose Modell. He attended Peeksville Military Academy and New York University and married his devoted wife Shelby on March 21, 1948.
Bill began his legendary career in business at the age of nine when he sold produce door to door in his neighborhood. He went on to become a retail icon, launching Modells Shoppers World, the first discount department store chain in the country, which he later sold to Home Depot.
Always a visionary, Bill Modell saw the potential for developing Long Island City. As a founder of the Long Island City Business Development Corp., he spearheaded the drive to transform Long Island City into a central business district. In his State of the City address on January 17, 2008, Mayor Bloomberg announced that New York City will develop one million square feet of office space at Queens Plaza.
While Bills business acumen led to great success, it was his public service and his humanitarian and philanthropic efforts that gave him the greatest satisfaction in life.
As a public servant, Bill was appointed a member of the Negotiating Committee for the Panama Canal Treaty under President Jimmy Carter. He was New York Citys Commissioner of Public Affairs for Mayor Abe Beame. He also was a founding patron of the Metropolitan Opera House and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, a member of the Friars Club and a member of the New York City 100 Year Association.
Bill Modells indefatigable commitment to Modells Sporting Goods was only matched by his unswerving commitment to philanthropy.
The center of Bill Modells life was his family whom he deeply loved. He is survived by his wife Shelby, their children Leslie and Mitchell, daughters-in-law Abby and Robin, sister and brother-in-law Doris and Norman Tipograph, and nine grandchildren.
William D. Modell, a brilliant businessman and a great humanitarian, will be missed by all those who were privileged to know and love him.