Page 8-Saturday, January 7, 1978-The Michigan Daily
MacArthur dies, ending era
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -
The era of the eccentric American
billionaire moved closer to an end
yesterday with the death of John
MacArthur, who conducted the
business of his empire from a hotel cof-
MacArthur died of cancer of the pan-
creas at the age of 80, leaving only one
American who is generally
acknowledged to be a billionaire -.
shipping magnate Daniel Ludwig.
IN CHICAGO, an attorney for
MacArthur said the bulk of his assets -
which were held in trust and not in-
cluded in - his will - would go to
charity. The will, which was probated
yesterday in Circuit Court, leaves the
remaining part of his assets to his wife
and two children.
Howard Hughes, J. Paul Getty and H.
L. Hunt, the only other man listed by,
Fortune magazine in a 1976.-article on
recent American billionaires, have all
died since 1974. The 1977 Guinness Book
of World Records listed MacArthur and
Ludwig as the only living American
billionaires. It adds that in 1969,
another man who is still alive - H.
Ross Perot of Texarkana, Texas - has
been worth more than $1 billion on
The 1975 edition.of the book said the
earliest dollar billionaires were John D.
Rockefeller, who died in 1937; Henry
Ford. who died in 1947; and Andrew
Mellon, who died in 1937.
MacARTHUR, youngest of seven
children of an itinerant Baptist
Council provides non-
profit resident controlled
housing for over 600
people in 23 co-op houses.
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preacher, made~ his fortu~ne
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mail-order insurance. He swelled it
with well-timed real estate investments
that nobody - not even he, he said -
could keep track of.
MacArthur, head of Bankers Life &
Casualty Co. and a pyramid of other
firms, never would say how much he
was worth. But when asked about an
estimate of $5 billion he agreed to let
himself be called a billionaire..
He displayed few signs of extraor-
dinary wealth, however. He lived in an
apartment at his Colonnades Hotel in
nearby Palm Beach Shores. He had no
'But MacArthur was
neither secretive, nor in-
accessible. He preferred
to hang out in the hotel
coffee shop and meet visi-
tors in casual dress -that
one said gave him the
look of an 'elderly beach
... .................... . .. . ....:.... ....: : :
mansion, no limousine, not even a
BUT MacARTHUR was neither
secretive nor inaccessible. He
preferred to hang out in the hotel coffee
shop and meet visitors in casual dress
that one said gave him the look of an
"elderly beach bum."
He was amused when 'hotel guests
would mistake him for the handyman.
MacArthur shunned the big names
who made Palm Beach a winter
playground for the leisure class. Those
people, he said, "have a party every
night someplace ... They're yakkity-
yakking about nothing, boring the hell
out of each other, I'm sure. They cer-
tainly bore the life out of me."
MacArthur preferred to talk about
his land. Starting with profits from
Bankers Life, he had pulled together an
estimated 100,000 acres of Florida land,
and vast holdings elsewhere, including
a Chicago printing company, a brewery
and the PGA National Golf Club here.
ONE OF HIS last ventures was the
purchase of the famous Biltmore Hotel
in Palm Beach. He meant to refurbish
the jazz-age spa, but failing health after
a stroke forced him to sell it to a con-
In the purchase agreement, MacAr-
thur was promised that his portrait
would hang forever in the building and
that the $750,000 Prince of Alba suite
would be renamed in his honor.
MacArthur was born at Pittston, Pa.,
on March 6, 1897, the youngest child of
the Rev. William Telfer MacArthur and
Georgia Welstead MacArthur.
HE IS SURVIVED by his wife,
Catherine, and two children by a
previous marriage - Roderick, 57, of
Chicago, and Virginia Cordova, 55, of
Mexico City. The late Gen. Douglas
MacArthur was a cousin.
MacArthur went to work at 18 for a
Chicago insurance company owned by
a brother, Alfred. "I was kind of a com-
bination office boy and I sold insuran-
ce," MacArthur once said. "And I
order selling by the Depression and by
his inability to hire good salesmen. The
innovation worked, and it is still used
by Bankers Life.
'MacArthur shunned the big names who made
Palm Beach a winter playground for the leisure
class. Those people, he said, 'have a party every
night someplace . . . They're yakkity-yakking
about nothing, boring the hell out of each other,
I'm sure. They certainly bore the life out of me.'
showed other people how to do it. Alfred
did not fully appreciate my services, so
He worked for a while on the Chicago
Herald Examiner, the inspiration for
the play "The Front Page" written by
his newsnan brother, Charles, with
Ben Hecht. But reporting wasn't to his
taste and he joined the Canadian air
corps at the outset of World War I.
RETURNING TO Chicago with a
medical discharge and medals, MacAr-
thur became one of the first to sell a
million dollars worth of insurance. All
his money was tied up, however, when
he saw a chance to buy the Depression-.
weakened Bankers Life & Casualty for
$2,500. He borrowed the money and thus
laid the foundation of his empire.
Later he said he was forced into mail-
In a book called "The Stockholder," a
former employee, William Hoffman,
portrayed MacArthur in the 1930s as a
corrupt wheeler-dealer who prospered
by finding loopholes in the usury laws.
MacArthur denied that.
WHATEVER HIS METHODS, Bank-
ers Life prospered and MacArthur's
wealth grew. At least a dozen insurance
companies came under his corporate,
umbrella, along with banks, restauran-
ts, farms, airplanes and ventures in
recording, printing, utility, salvage,
brewing, restaurants and housing.
His companies were leaders in hiring
MacArthur's name didn't appear
only on financial pages. When the
Delong Ruby was stolen from the
American Museum of Natural History
in New York City, he paid someone
$25,000 in 1965 to "ransom" it from un-
derworld jewel cutters before they
could cut it up and resell it.
He recovered the ruby from a
telephone booth, delighting in his cloak-
Another time he spent $11,000 to move
an 80-year-old banyan tree from a
housing development, where it was
slated for destruction, to a park. The
tree weighed 75 tons.
TEHUACANA, Tex. (AP) - John
Jenkins, a 36-year-old writer who
recently purchased the oldest univer-
sity campus in Texas, says he plans
to restore and re-open it as a small
college or conference center.
Jenkins, who bought the 108-year-
old Westminster University on a
17-acre plot, says he wants to
preserve the scenic campus, located
on what is said to be some of the
highest ground between Fort Wroth
and the Gulf of Mexico.
He said the campus has great his-
torical value, as it is reputed to have
been the site of the first indoor
basketball game in Texas, and was
recently designated a national land-
Originally established in 1852 as
Tehuacana University, the school
became Trinity University in 1869,
the first Presbyterian' university in
Striking coal iI
A retired coal miner was killed in a Diamond Coal Co. mine near Ivel,
slain on picket line
volley of pistol fire on a picket line in
eastern Kentucky yesterday, the first
fatality of violence and vandalism
which has marred a month-long
national strike by the United Mine
Workers (UMW) union.
Companies were besieged in two
other states yesterday, and UMW
President Arnold Miller sent the
union's bargaining team home, say-
ing coal operators refused to resume
CAPT. WALTER SIMS of the
Kentucky state police said Mack
Lewis, 65, of Prestonburg, Ky., was
killed while picketing, a railroad
crossing used by coal trucks near a
Sims said Ralph Anderson, 50, of
Banner, Ky., a security guard for the
coal company,. was charged with
murder in the shooting.
Sims said investigators had not
determined hpw the argument start-
AFTER A HEARING, District
Judge Harold Stumbo at Preston-
burg ordered Anderson taken to the
Fayette County Jail at Lexington,
about 100 miles away, to avoid the
possibility of further violence.
"You don't know what could hap-
pen. With a labor dispute, both sides
get mad. We could have a storm on
the jail," Stumbo said.
He ordered Anderson held without
bond and said the accused man would
be returned to court for a hearing
early next week.
ROBERT CARTER, president of
UMW District 30, said the shooting
was likely to increase tension among
"There's no doubt these fellows are
going to continue to picket, and they
are not going to go out and let a fellow
shoot and kill one of our men and just
stand by," he said.
Gov. Julian Carroll called in a
statement for "peaceful, reasonable
communication" between the two
sides in the strike.
CARTER SAID HE asked Carroll
last month to meet with union
officials, and "if he had talked to us I
believe we could have prevented
Carter said the union officials
would have suggested that the gover-
nor not allow coal companies to hire
armed guards, and "that the state
police not escort these fellows (non-
union miners) to and from work over
the picket lines."'
Jack Hall, a Carroll aide, said
Carter's letter. didn't mention the
hiring of guards. Hall said state
police have not escorted non-union.
miners across picket lines, although
they have been on hand at mine
entrances to prevent trouble.
"THERE HAVE BEEN several
meetings between the governor and
UMW personnel," Hall added, "and
we continue daily communications.
The governor designated me as his
He said Carroll met earlier with
Miller and other union officials and
"heard the concerns that they had in
relation to the picketing."
Miller issued a statement calling
the killing "evidence of the tragedy
so prevalent in the everyday lives of
AT NEW ATHENS, Ill., scores of
rock-throwing men besieged a truck-
ing company. Joseph Behnken, pres-
ident of Behnken Trucking Service,
said he counted "between 50 and 75
men" outside the terminal fence.
The company hauls coal to various
businesses from local mines, but
David Nurenberg, assistant terminal
manager, said the firm would haul no
more coal until the strike is settled.
In Pittsburgh, a crowd of pickets
estimated in the hundreds blocked
the entrance to a coke plant, halting
shipments during the early morning
hours. The pickets dispersed by 9:30
Farmers greet Bergland'
with 4-mile 'tractorcade'
THE DEMONSTRATORS con- could lead to that," Bergland said.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Agriculture
ecretaHANob.(A)glandarriv in verged on Ak-Sar-Ben, a racetrack "I'm going to listen to them," he
ecretary Bob Bergland arrived n and coliseum where Bergland was to said. "This is designed to try to
obicy witr stke ldes frm attend a luncheon and round-table discuss ways and means. I hope it
olicy with farm strike leaders from discussion. will be very productive."
liaison and I believe I ha
ave open com-
nine states. Hundreds of tractors,
driven by striking farmers dissatis-
fied with administration farm policy,
came to greet him.
Police said, one of three columns of
tractors was more than four miles
Mousing at University of Michigan
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$29 E. Liberty
Mon. thru Fri.
Demonstration organizers said
they wanted the agriculture secre-
tary to be greeted by "a sea of trac-
tors" when he arrived.
The tractorcade was organized
despite a lack of sympathy from
Nebraska Gov. J. J. Exon, who
arranged the meeting. "There are
times for parades and times for nego-
tiation," he said.
AT EPPLEY AIRFIELD, mean-
while, Bergland said after his plane
landed that "it's possible" that the
strike's goal of prices at 100 per cent
of parity can be achieved.
"It's possible and we want to dis-
cuss the various alternatives that
Lizards are the most widely-
distributed reptiles. They live north
of the Arctic Circle in Europe, at the
southern tip of South America, 200
feet below sea-level in Death Valley,
and as high as 18,000 feet up in the
Himalaya Mountains of Nepal.
EXON, NOW A senatorial candi-
date, was among those at the airport
to greet Bergland.
The roundtable discussion was
with leaders of American Agricul-
ture, the group spearheading the
national farm strike that began
In addition to sponsoring wide-
spread demonstrations, the group
has asked farmers to stop producing
food and buying unnecessary items
until the federal government takes
action to bring farm prices to 100 per
cent of parity.
AT FULL PARITY, farmers theor-
etically have the same purchasing
power for the items they sell as their
forebears had early in this century
when prices and costs were said to be
By comparison, farm prices as of
November 15 averaged 66 per cent of
parity, one of the lowest marks for
the indicator in 44 years.
'U' to get increased
(Continued from Page 1) Kennedy said.
University's instructional progam, not In addition to the surplus, the state
for research. also has an extra $74.7 million in a
Richard Kennedy, University vice- "rainy day" fund-kept to help the
president for state relations, said the state in any economic slump. )
University more than welcomes the ap- Milliken is expected to announce how
propriations increase. He added that the surplus will be used in his "State of
several University departments need the State" message next week.
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off Sale on selected stock
"WE CERTAINLY have definite
needs," Kennedy said. "Some of the
newer high schools in the state have
laboratory equipment that puts some of
ours to shame."
During, the 1976-77 fiscal year, the
state also enjoyed a $68.4 million sur-
plus. Miller said the University will not
obtain any of that money, nor did the
state appropriate any funds from its
1975-76 $28.3 million surplus to the
University. Miller added there would
definitely not be a tax increase for state
residents this year.
"THE STATE SELDOM develops
thorough plans to deal with a surplus,"
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(Continued from Page 1)
final conference in Paris with Frenc?.
President Valery Giscard d'Estaing
and met with Francois Mitterand,
leader of the French Socialist Party,
who is campaigning for a leftist victory
in national elections inYMarch.
A bomb exploded before dawn in
front of the party's Paris headquarters.
An anonymous telephone caller said it
was set off to protest the Carter-
Mitterand meeting. It damaged the
main entrance and shattered some win-
The seven-nation tour, during which
he also visited Poland, Iran, India,
Saudi Arabia and Egypt, was visibly
wearing on the 53-year-old Carter, but
medical aides said he withstood it in
DURING THE TRIP Carter had a
close-up view of monarchy. He stayed
in four palaces, visited four others and
met one shah, one empress, three
kings, one queen and two princes.
The trip began with a gaffe - a slop-
py translation into Polish of his arrival
statement in Warsaw - and ended with
a smooth, correct and largely uneven-
tful visit here in Belgium.
One of the most notable episodes in
between was the accidental recording
of Carter's supposedly private conver-
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