Back on January 14, 2006, after winning three successive Superbowls, the New England Patriots lost the AFC Divisional playoff to Denver by a score of 27 to 13. For days most New England fans felt depressed, hung over, a knot in the pits of their stomachs.
Two days after the loss, I stood behind Myra Kraft in a line for a donors’ reception before the Martin Luther King Day performance of the Boston Children’s Chorus. I expressed my condolences and wondered aloud at her even being ambulatory after the previous day’s outcome.
“Of course I’m ambulatory,” she said, “Really, Margie, It’s only entertainment.”
The Patriots drafted college football star Christian Peter in the fifth round of the 1996 draft, just a month after his eighth conviction in seven years, many for violent acts. He also had settled two rape charges with a victim, the second attack allegedly occurring while his Nebraska teammates looked on. Myra was outraged and demanded the team give up all rights to him immediately. And the team did, explaining Peter’s behavior was “incompatible with our organization’s standards of acceptable conduct. “ To Myra, you didn’t need to hire thugs to build a championship team.
She was grounded in solid values, not inclined to be swept away by things that, in the final analysis, don’t matter. That includes not just her perspective on sports and glitz, but on how she handled her significant wealth.
Our paths crossed over the years. Her demeanor was modest but her role in the charities and causes she cared about was hands-on and substantive, not just check-writing. She set a tone that should well be emulated throughout the philanthropic world.
The Kraft family – indeed, the whole community – has suffered an incalculable loss.
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