Tom Benson Dies at 90

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints

Tom Benson, who flirted with moving his New Orleans Saints to San Antonio following Hurricane Katrina, and was a fixture in the local business community for decades, died today in New Orleans at the age of 90, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Even though Benson was perhaps the most prominent businessman in his native New Orleans, where he owned the Saints for more than thirty years, Benson owned a ranch in the Hill Country, and remained active in Tom Benson Chevrolet and other local business interests.

Benson, in fact, came to San Antonio in 1956 to help revitalize the car dealership that became Tom Benson Chevrolet, and was the foundation of his fortune, estimated by Forbes at $3 billion.

Benson angered his home town when the Saints, with their home Superdome ripped apart by Hurricane Katrina right at the start of the football season, played several home games in San Antonio and even toyed with the idea of making a permanent move to the Alamodome.  At one point, Benson even advised his players not to renew the leases on their homes in New Orleans.

Benson stayed in New Orleans, where the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2010.  Benson became famous for his Benson Boogie, a dance he would perform after Saints victories.

Benson was a major San Antonio philanthropist, especially in donations to Central Catholic High School, his late sons alma mater.  Benson also made major donations to St Anthony Catholic School in honor of his son, who died of cancer at 37.

Benson also personally financed the University of the Incarnate Words entry into football, and the UIW football stadium is named in honor of  Tom and Gayle Benson.  The Bensons were regular fixtures at UIW games.

Bensons brother Larry owned the short-lived San Antonio Riders of the World League of American Football.

Benson also went through a probate battle in the San Antonio district courts in 2016, when several of his relatives claimed Benson, who was then 88, was incompetent after he had cut them out if his will.

Benson is not only a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, the stadium at the Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio is named the Tom Benson Stadium.


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