New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson passed away at the age of 90 Thursday, the team announced.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 15, 2018
Benson died peacefully at Ochsner Medical Center with his wife Gayle Marie Benson at his side.
He had been hospitalized with the flu on Feb. 16.
— NBA (@NBA) March 15, 2018
From the press release:
Thomas Milton Benson, Jr. was born on July 12, 1927 in New Orleans to Thomas Milton Benson Sr. and Carmelite Marie Pintado Benson. Raised in the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, Mr. Benson graduated from St. Aloysius High School (now Brother Martin) in 1944. Following his high school graduation, he enrolled at Loyola University New Orleans to study business and accounting. He interrupted his education to enlist in the U.S. Navy, where he was assigned to the USS South Dakota. Upon the conclusion of World War II, Mr. Benson returned home to New Orleans and continued his business administration studies.
In 1948, he went to work as a bookkeeper for the Cathey Chevrolet Co. in New Orleans and by 1956, at age 29, Mr. Benson was on his way to manage a Chevrolet dealership as a junior partner. Six years later, he took full control of the company and established a multi-dealership organization with outlets throughout the New Orleans area and South Texas. In 1972, Mr. Benson entered the banking business and eventually took his banking network public as Benson Financial World.
In 1985, Mr. Benson purchased the New Orleans Saints after learning that the NFL franchise was on the verge of being sold to parties interested in relocating the team. Mr. Benson purchased the Saints on May, 31, 1985.
In 2012, Mr. Benson purchased the National Basketball Association’s New Orleans Hornets franchise from the NBA, which the following season, he rebranded and had renamed the New Orleans Pelicans.