MIAMI (Reuters) - Alvah Chapman Jr., a legendary Miami civic leader who once headed the Miami Herald and the defunct Knight Ridder newspaper chain, has died at age 87, the Herald reported on Friday.
Chapman, who at the height of his career was known as the most powerful man in Miami, died of pneumonia on Christmas Day after spending a traditional Christmas Eve at home with his wife, two daughters and grandchildren, the Herald said.
Born in Georgia, Chapman moved to Miami in 1960 and immersed himself in civic endeavors ranging from revitalizing a decrepit downtown as head of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to leading the local Goodwill Industries and United Way.
When Hurricane Andrew, then the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, devastated Miami in 1992, Chapman answered a call from President George H.W. Bush to lead recovery efforts.
In the 1970s Chapman assembled south Florida’s most powerful leaders into what he called the “Non-Group” to work on civic causes. The group was so secret it existed for 14 years before his own newspaper, the Herald, reported on it.
He served as chief executive and chairman of Knight Ridder Inc, which was bought by McClatchy Co more than two years ago, from 1976-1989. The Herald won 33 Pulitzer Prizes and its revenues tripled during that period, the paper said.
Reporting by Jim Loney, Editing by Sandra Maler
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