CINCINNATI -- Marge Schott, the former Cincinnati Reds
majority owner who clashed with baseball's leadership and was a
community philanthropist, was buried Saturday in a suit of her
favorite color: red.
Schott's past suspensions by baseball for remarks insensitive to
blacks and Jews were overlooked on a day in which Pete Rose, other
players and executives, politicians and friends joined Schott's
family to memorialize her 75-year life.
"Actions speak louder than words," said Johnny Bench, the
Reds' Hall of Fame catcher. "I judged her by her actions. She had
a big heart."
"She was a wonderful person for others, and her possessions
will continue to give to others," said Lottie Crane, the oldest of
Schott's four sisters, who read the eulogy for the funeral Mass at
All Saints Roman Catholic Church in suburban Cincinnati, where
Schott was a donor and parishioner.
She was buried in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's Gate of Heaven
Cemetery in Montgomery, where former Reds slugger Ted Kluszewski
was interred in 1988.
Relatives and friends recalled Schott's donations to the church,
where a new parish hall named for her opened last year; the Boy
Scouts; St. Ursula Academy, a Cincinnati Catholic school for girls
which opened a gymnasium last year that she helped pay for, and the
Cincinnati Zoo, where her contributions helped build a new elephant
display facility opened in 2000.
Melanie Burke, 18, and Julia Rouse, 18, both St. Ursula seniors
on the student council, represented their school at the public
visitation before Schott's funeral. They remembered Schott showing
up at their new gym last year and doling out Reds tickets to four
"She pulled up in a car, said hello and gave us tickets to the
game," Burke said.
Mayor Charlie Luken and executives of the Reds and Major League
Baseball attended the funeral. Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief
operating officer, sat with his Reds counterpart, John Allen.
Bouquets mostly in team colors of red and white surrounded
Schott's cherry wood casket. At her sisters' insistence, Schott was
dressed in a red suit with a golden elephant pin on her lapel to
reflect her love of animals and donations to the Cincinnati Zoo.
Across the room were a table of photographs showing Schott with
her parents as a child, with her late husband Charles, with former
President Reagan and current President Bush, with boxer Muhammad
Ali and with one of her St. Bernard dogs.
Schott, a car dealer who retained a minority interest in the
Reds after selling her controlling shares in 1999, died Tuesday.
She had been hospitalized about three weeks for breathing problems.
Schott bought majority control of the team in 1984 partly, she
said, because there were rumors then that someone else might buy
the team and move it out of Cincinnati.
"She's the first lady of Cincinnati," said Sheldon Bender, a
Reds executive who has worked for the team since 1967.
A steady stream of mourners passed through the church's Marge
Schott Parish Center during the 3½-hour public visitation.
Allen said his fondest memory of Schott was going to the circus
with her eight years ago.
"Just to watch her glee and delight that night was wonderful,"
Allen said. "She obviously loved the animals."