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In Memory of
Carl Henry Lindner, Jr.
April 22, 1919 - October 17, 2011

Private...Kenwood Baptist Church, 8341 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45236

Rest Haven Memorial Park, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio

4/22/1919 - 10/17/2011

Cincinnati financier Carl Henry Lindner Jr., who used his experience running the family dairy store to build a business empire whose reach included baseball, banks and bananas, has died. He was 92.

He died Monday night after being taken gravely ill to a hospital that morning, said a person close to the family who was not authorized to speak until a statement had been issued.

Lindner became controlling partner and chief executive officer of the Cincinnati Reds in a 1999 deal that ended Marge Schott's rocky 15-year reign as owner. In contrast to her grandstanding, Lindner stayed mostly in the background — save for a lasting memory in 2000 when he picked up Ken Griffey Jr. at the airport in his Rolls-Royce following the blockbuster trade.

Lindner was chairman of Cincinnati-based American Financial Group, a publicly traded financial holding company that had more than $17 billion in assets. In 2009, Forbes magazine estimated Lindner's personal wealth at $1.75 billion, placing him among the 400 richest Americans.

Lindner ruled over a complex maze of corporations with nearly 70,000 employees worldwide.

American Financial Group owned, or held substantial investments in, Charter Co., marketer of fuel to electric utilities; Chiquita Brands International Inc., one of the world's largest food producers, and Great American Insurance Co.

His financial support for the University of Cincinnati, which named its business administration building after him, and various charities earned him a reputation as a philanthropist.

Tributes from current and former business school students poured onto Twitter early Tuesday. They thanked Lindner for championing the city and the university and sharing his wealth with them.

''He's got to be one of the most generous guys in Cincinnati,'' friend Richard Farmer, chairman of Cincinnati uniform maker Cintas Corp., said in 1993. ''I don't know of any positive thing that's happened in Cincinnati that Carl has not been a part of.''

In the business world, some critics considered him a ruthless takeover artist. He made millions in the 1970s and 1980s by investing, then retreating, from companies.

An alleged attempt by Lindner to take over Gannett Co. prompted former chairman Al Neuharth to call him a ''shark in sheep's clothing.''

Lindner made a name for himself by becoming one of Michael Milken's earliest and most prominent junk-bond players. But he also showed his investment smarts by predicting a decline in the junk-bond market in the late 1980s.

''Of course, Carl was always a couple years ahead of the pack,'' said James Dahl, a former bond seller for Milken.

Lindner had a reputation for working long hours in pursuit of the next great deal.

''I'm working over 80 hours a week and have to keep on track,'' he once told a reporter in explaining why he usually refused interview requests. Even in his later years, he showed no signs of slowing down.

He was publicity-shy, yet he held a fundraiser for presidential candidate George H.W. Bush at his home in 1988. He also played host to Bush and Francois Mitterrand, at the time the president of France, at his vacation home in Ocean Reef, Fla., later that month.

Lindner paid his staff handsomely and threw lavish annual parties for them. At his 70th birthday party, Frank Sinatra entertained.

Lindner's fortunes began to slide in the late 1980s with the acquisition of Taft Broadcasting, a Cincinnati television and radio company.

The $1.5 billion takeover in 1987 left the new company, Great American Communications, mired in debt. The company was forced to sell several key assets in a short time, including cartoon creator Hanna-Barbera Productions.

In 1992, Lindner suffered losses of $560 million at Great American Communications and $284 million at Chiquita, leading to a $77 million loss at American Financial. In 1993, Lindner filed for "prepackaged" bankruptcy to restructure debts of Great American Communications.

Carl Henry Lindner Jr. was born in Dayton in 1919 but spent much of his youth in Norwood, a blue-collar suburb of Cincinnati. As he made his wealth, he moved to Indian Hill, where most of Cincinnati's rich and famous live.

Lindner, along with brothers Robert and Richard and sister Dorothy, helped his parents in a succession of dairy businesses, first in Dayton, and then in Cincinnati. He never finished high school because he was so busy.

In 1940, Lindner's father opened one of the nation's first cash-and-carry milk and dairy stores, in Norwood. That launched what became the United Dairy Farmers convenience store chain.

During World War II, with his father's health failing and his brothers being called into military service, Lindner began to direct UDF. By the mid-1960s, when Lindner left UDF to Robert's direction, the chain had more than 100 stores. That number has since more than doubled.

Lindner founded the cornerstone of his financial empire, American Financial Corp. (later American Financial Group), in 1959. From 1961 until the company went private in 1980, American Financial's portfolio made more than 60 times its original investment as Lindner diversified into banks, insurance and assorted industries.

Lindner had three sons with his second wife, Edyth Bailey: Carl H. Lindner III, 58, president of Great American Insurance Co.; S. Craig Lindner, 56, president of American Annuity Group and senior executive vice president of American Money Management; and Keith Lindner, 52, a former official at Chiquita.

Final Tribute

A restored United Dairy Farmers milk truck will accompany Carl Lindner Jr. on Friday on his final public goodbye through his hometown Cincinnati.

A hearse carrying Lindner’s body will join the truck and a police escort, starting at 9 a.m. at Great American Ball Park, Downtown, and ending about 10:30 a.m. near the Trio restaurant in Kenwood.

Lindner’s family will not be part of the parade and his funeral will be private at an undisclosed time. His family has requested memorial gifts be given to Kenwood Baptist Church, 8341 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236.

The procession is the final public tribute to Lindner, the billionaire and former Cincinnati Reds principal owner who is the region’s most successful entrepreneur.

He died late Monday night at age 92.

Hundreds of people should be along the route. Both the Carl H Lindner YMCA in the West End and the Otto Armleder School on Ninth Street will have more than 100 children outside when the procession goes by.

“We want to say ‘thank you’ and ‘we love you,’” said Joe Calloway, executive director of the Lindner YMCA branch on Linn Street. “We want to show our appreciation and love for what he’s done for our community.”

Other stops where employees are expected to be along the streets include Christ Hospital, the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati and the UDF main offices along Montgomery Road in Norwood.

No streets will be closed, Cincinnati police said, but there will be “rolling closures” as the procession passes through intersections with traffic lights. There will be a police escort in front of and behind the hearse.

Assistant Chief James Whalen, who is acting chief while Police Chief James Craig is out of town, said the city will absorb costs for the coverage with on-duty officers.

“With Mr. Lindner, you’re looking at an iconic person around this community,” Whalen said.

Parade route

Start Time: 9:00 am Friday, October 21, Great American Ball Park (2nd and Pete Rose Way)

Drop down ramp to Pete Rose Way to Broadway

Left on Broadway

9:02 am Left on 4th Street – passing Great American Tower

9:04 am Continue on 4th Street – passing the Dixie Terminal and 1 E. 4th Street

Right on Vine Street

9:06 am Right on 5th Street – passing Fountain Square

9:07am Continue on 5th Street – passing the Taft Theater

Left on Broadway

Left on 6th Street

9:10 am Continue on 6th Street – passing the Cincinnatian Hotel

Right on Elm Street

Right on 7th Street

Left on Vine Street

9:15 am Left on 9th Street - passing Otto Armleder School

9:16 am Right on Elm Street – passing Music Hall

Left on 14th Street

Left on Central Parkway

9:20 am Right on Ezzard Charles Drive – passing Cincinnati Police Memorial

Right on Linn Street

9:22 am Left into Carl H. Lindner YMCA

Left on Linn

9:24 am Right on Liberty – passing Lord’s Gym

9:25 am Continue on Liberty – passing St. Francis Seraph School

Left on Sycamore Street

9:30 am Left on Auburn Avenue – thru Christ Hospital

Left on Taft / Calhoun Street

Right on Clifton Avenue

9:45 am Right on Martin Luther King Drive – looping onto campus passing UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Right on Martin Luther King Drive

9:50 am Left on Reading Road – Passing Temple Bible College

Left on Hickman

Left on Harvey

Right on Martin Luther King

9:55 am Right on Burnett Avenue – passing Shriners Hospital and Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center

Turn right on Forrest Avenue

Left on Reading Road

10:02 am Turn right on Dana Avenue – passing Xavier University

10:08 am Turn left on Montgomery Road – passing 1st Lindner Ice Cream Shop, UDF Main office

10:10 am Left on Hopkins – passing Carl and Edyth Lindner Children’s Learning Center

Right on Allison

Right on Wanda

10:13 am Left on Montgomery Road – passing Norwood Administrative Buildings and 10:20am Olivet Baptist Church

Left on Plainfield Road

10:21 am Right on South Avenue – passing 1st house growing up

10:21 am Right on Silverton Avenue – passing 2nd house growing up

10:24 am Left on Montgomery Road – passing Old Kenwood Mall

10:27 am Left on Kenwood Road – passing Trio Restaurant

10:30 Parade Concludes

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