BARBARA COX ANTHONY / 1922-2007
Barbara Cox Anthony served on several school boards.
Isle media owner and billionaire dies at 84
The renownded philanthropist's active life included generous gifts to isle causes
Renowned philanthropist Barbara Cox Anthony, one of Hawaii's richest residents, died yesterday at the age of 84.
Anthony was principal owner of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, which owns 17 daily newspapers, 80 radio stations and 15 television stations. Her net worth was estimated at $12.6 billion.
"As we mourn my mother's passing, we will always be grateful to her for her leadership and constant support of Cox employees, their families and our businesses," said James C. Kennedy, Cox Enterprises chairman and chief executive officer.
Anthony was a director and founder of La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls and served on the board of Hawaii Preparatory Academy.
Billionaire Barbara Cox Anthony died at her home in Honolulu yesterday after an extended illness.
She was 84.
Her son, James Cox Kennedy, and daughter, Blair Parry-Okeden, were at her side.
Anthony and her sister, Ann Cox Chambers, inherited Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises from their father, company founder James M. Cox, and shared the 45th spot in Forbes magazine's latest World's Billionaires ranking with $12.6 billion net worth each. But her son said his mother never wore her wealth on her sleeve.
She could just as comfortably dress up for a queen as wear boots at the family's Hualalai Ranch, Kennedy said, but she preferred being barefoot around the house.
"She hated wearing shoes," he said.
Anthony routinely gave half her income to charity, preferring to make private donations directly and anonymously to organizations whose causes she embraced, her family said. Her philanthropy will continue through the Barbara Cox Anthony Foundation, which focuses on education, health, human services and community development.
La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls in Waikiki was a recipient of her generosity. Head of School Nancy White said Anthony contributed money for selected students' education. Anthony co-founded the school, served as chairwoman of the school's board of trustees from 1978 to last year and never missed handing out diplomas to its graduates. This year's graduation ceremony is tomorrow.
Anthony was born in Dayton, Ohio. Kennedy said his mother moved here more than 60 years ago after marrying his father, Stan Kennedy, who is from Hawaii, and never left, even after his parents divorced.
He said his mother liked everything about Hawaii -- the beauty, the weather, the people and the aloha spirit.
"I asked her if she wanted to live anywhere else, and she said, 'No.'"
He said his mother was outgoing, athletic and competitive, especially in anything that resulted in someone being declared a winner.
After Anthony soundly defeated Washington Post Publisher Katharine Graham in a tennis match during a convention of newspaper publishers in Atlanta, Kennedy recalled asking his mother why she was so tough on her opponent. He said his mother told him Graham would have done the same if she could.
He said his mother competed in rodeos during her youth, raced cars on Oahu and continued to play tennis and ski into her 70s.
Anthony never held a day-to-day position within Cox Enterprises, but she had intimate knowledge of its business as a director and chairman of Dayton Newspapers, the corporation on which the company was built.
While growing up in Ohio, she traveled frequently with her father as he expanded his holdings from the flagship Dayton Daily News to publications in Atlanta and Miami.
Her relationship with her father, who was elected governor of Ohio three times, also exposed her to some of the political heavyweights of the day.
In 1920 her father was the Democratic nominee for president. His running mate was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Two decades later, Anthony met Roosevelt, then president, when he visited the Cox home in Ohio.
"It was wonderful. Daddy always asked everybody questions, and President Roosevelt was the first person I ever heard who could answer all of them," she said.
After her father died in 1957, Anthony helped guide the company through her close relationship with a succession of relatives who took the helm. Her brother, James M. Cox Jr., managed the company until he died in 1974. He was succeeded by Anthony's husband, Garner Anthony Jr. Her son became chairman and chief operating officer in 1987 when her husband retired.
Anthony's interest in horses and ranching continued from her childhood days spending summers with the family in Idaho.
The company started Hualalai Ranch on the Big Island in 1960, and Anthony served as chairwoman of the board, overseeing all aspects of the 7,500-acre operation on the slopes of Hualalai. The ranch started as a cattle operation producing Santa Gertrudis and crossbred cattle for market and breeding.
Anthony was the only female member of the board of directors of the Santa Gertrudis Breeders International Association.
The ranch expanded into producing protea flowers in 1975 and Kona coffee in 1999.
Anthony also served as chairwoman of Winderadeen Corp. in Australia, where her daughter lives, an enterprise including two large commercial ranches covering 30,000 acres with 2,500 cows, sheep and purebred quarter horses.
She was a member of the Hawaii Preparatory Academy board of directors and director of the James M. Cox Foundation.
In addition to her son, daughter and sister, Anthony is survived by five grandchildren and four stepchildren.