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Billionaire Simmons Remembered As Fierce Investor And Giver

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Brian New
Brian joined the CBS 11 News team in 2013 after working a...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Billionaire Harold Simmons died Saturday in Dallas at the age of 82.

Simmons was named the 40th wealthiest person in the country by Forbes Magazine with a net worth of more than $10-billion.

As the son of two school teachers in Golden, Texas, Simmons was born rich.

When he was 29-years-old, he put $5,000 down and took out a $95,000 loan to buy a small drug store near the SMU campus in Dallas.

Simmons bought other drug stores before selling them in 1973 for $50-million in Eckerd stock.

He then took his millions and made billions as an investor.

Harold_Simmons

Described by some as a ‘corporate raider’, Simmons was a fierce investor. That same intensity, friends said, he put forth towards his giving.

Simmons gave millions to the AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Dallas Zoo, but education and medical research were his biggest beneficiaries.

View from the interior stair of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, designed by Foster + Partners, at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. (credit: Nigel Young/Foster + Partners)

View from the interior stair of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, designed by Foster + Partners, at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. (credit: Nigel Young/Foster + Partners)

“Harold and Annette Simmons are among SMU’s most generous supporters,” said the university’s vice president, Brad Cheves.

On the SMU campus the School of Education and Human Development bears the name of his wife –Annette after the couple gifted $20-million.

Another $25-million gift to the school will help expand the program and will help pay for Come next fall a new building set to be built on campus next fall. The building will be named after Harold Simmons.

Cheves said, “I think his legacy will be the school children and teacher who will impact communities around the world.”

At UT Southwestern Medical Center, Simmons’ $200-million dollars in giving funds cancer research — giving patients access to innovative treatment that otherwise would not be possible.

“I think the impact goes well beyond the tens of thousands,” said UT Southwestern Medical Center President Dr. Daniel Podolsky. “The kinds of discoveries that have been made at this cancer center as a result of his investment will enhance care worldwide.”

Simmons also gave heavily to the Republicans party – famously calling President Obama during the 2012 election “the most dangerous man in America.”

His friends ranged from T. Boone Pickens and President George W. Bush to Oprah Winfrey.

His interests were as diverse as his investments just as his impact was as great as his wealth.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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