Area civic groups to honor Beatrice's Reginald Lewis


It is exactly one year since Baltimore native Reginald F. Lewis, a lawyer, corporate takeover dealer and philanthropist and one of the nation's richest businessmen, died of a cerebral hemorrhage related to brain cancer at age 50.

So today, 30 employees of TLC Beatrice International Holdings will board a bus in Manhattan and travel to Baltimore for a commemoration of his life at the Hyatt Hotel on the Inner Harbor.

TLC Beatrice International is the company Mr. Lewis formed after acquiring the international operations of Beatrice Co. in 1987, in a $985 million leveraged buyout.

The event, "In Celebration of a Native Son," is sponsored by the Associated Black Charities of Central Maryland and the Presidents' Roundtable, an organization of black chief executives of companies based in Baltimore.

At the celebration, two artistic depictions of the entrepreneur, destined for the Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, will be unveiled: a wax statue and an 8-by-10-foot painting of the signing of the Beatrice purchase agreement.

A half brother, Joseph M. Fugett, will read excerpts from an autobiography that Mr. Lewis was writing when he died. It is called "Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" and was completed by Blair Walker.

"I agreed to the unveiling and to this big ceremony because his life ought to be known by more people than those in the business community and the African-American community," said Loida Nicolas Lewis, Mr. Lewis' widow, who will become chairman of TLC Beatrice International on Feb. 1.

"I think that his legacy of being successful in a field where very few people of color have penetrated should be understood. He always shared whatever he had with the community and I hope that should start to be known.

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