Charles Wyly

  • Born: October 13, 1933
  • Died: August 7, 2011
  • Location: Dallas, Texas

Tribute


Philanthropist Charles Wyly, shown left, whose family donated millions of dollars to Republican causes and Dallas arts projects, has died after a car accident in western Colorado, authorities said. He was 77.

Texas billionaire killed in Colorado

The Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — Texas billionaire and philanthropist Charles Wyly, whose family donated millions of dollars to Republican causes and Dallas arts projects, has died after a car accident in western Colorado, authorities said. He was 77.

Wyly, who maintained a home near Aspen, Colo., was turning onto a highway near the local airport when his Porsche was hit by a sport utility vehicle Sunday, the Colorado State Patrol said in a statement. Wyly died at Aspen Valley Hospital.

"He is among the finest people I have ever known," William Brewer III, Wyly's attorney and long-time friend, said in a statement to The Associated Press. "His contributions in business, philanthropy and civic leadership will forever be remembered."

The other driver suffered moderate injuries.

In Texas, Wyly and his younger brother, Sam, along with their wives, gave $20 million to help build Dallas' performing arts center. They also donated big, but quietly, to Republican causes: the brothers had said they'd given about $10 million to GOP candidates and causes since the 1970s.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was one of the biggest political beneficiaries, receiving more than $300,000 combined from the Wylys since 2000, according to Texas Ethics Commission reports. According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, the brothers had donated almost $2.5 million to more than 200 Republican candidates and committees at the federal level over the past two decades.

Last summer, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Wyly and his brother of using offshore havens to hide more than a half-billion dollars in profits over 13 years of insider stock trading. The brothers denied and were fighting the allegations.

Born during the Great Depression, Charles Wyly was a child when the collapsed economy forced the surrender of his family's cotton farm in Lake Providence, La. He and his younger brother went on to attend Louisiana Tech University in the 1950s, then went to work for IBM.

Charles Wyly helped his brother run their startup computer software company, University Computing, and later founded and led several other companies including arts and crafts retail chain Michaels Stores Inc., which was sold in 2006. He also was a former member of a White House Advisory Council for Management Improvement.

Leaders of the Dallas arts community were stunned by news of Charles Wyly's death. Bill Lively, who launched the 2000 campaign to build the $345 million performing arts center in Dallas, told the Dallas Morning News that Wyly was "a critically important force." The complex has a theater named after Wyly.

"He was always positive," Lively said. "He was always optimistic."

Robyn Flatt, executive artistic director of the Dallas Children's Theater, said Wyly was a good friend who made "immeasurable" contributions to the Dallas arts scene.

"He was a true friend of the arts and our community, a friend who truly cared and who truly made a difference," Flatt told the Morning News.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Candle

Charles was a little younger than me but I remember what a nice person he was. He played a cornet in the band and then later went out for football. He was one of Mr. Nelson's favorite in the band and later became one of Coach Richards favorite on the football fiels.

Posted by Henry Stout - friend   August 10, 2011

Candle

Mr. Charles Wyly sounds like he was a caring individual. What a good quality to have , a giving spirit. May you all be able to endure your pain at this time. May our Heavenly Father give you all the "power beyond what is needed," 2 Cor 4:7 to get through the days ahead.

Posted by margatet beard    August 10, 2011

Candle

i work for Mr. & Mrs. Wyly 17 years and i have not found a kinder man to work for i injoyed working for the family being that the man had more than most he was still down to earth i did not feel like just another worker i felt like he was my friend. i can't say enough about him
just that he will be missed
Your Friend Dennis i will pray for the family i hope all of you will do the same that read stis.

Posted by Dennis Briscoe - Friend of family   August 08, 2011

Candle

Charles Wyly was a warm caring family man and a true patriot. I had the privilege of knowing him when I worked at TXI Aviation. He was never pompous and one would never know he was such a wealty businessman. He always treated everyone as he would want to be treated. He will be missed by so many people that respected him so much.

Posted by Laraine Bethke - Former Flight Coordinator   August 08, 2011


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Philanthropist Charles Wyly, shown left, whose family donated millions of dollars to Republican causes and Dallas arts projects, has died after a car accident in western Colorado, authorities said. He was 77.