Ed Rendell explained to The Daily Beast how he was almost on the doomed flight that killed seven people, including sports owner, philanthropist and Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com co-owner Lewis Katz:
Katz, the Philadelphia tycoon, former sports team owner, and philanthropist who had just purchased the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, had been trying for days to persuade former governor Rendell to fly up with him on Saturday to Concord, Mass., for a cocktail party and dinner at the home of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.
“I stopped to get some produce at a place on 20th Street, and Lewis was sitting in an outdoor seating area at a restaurant across the way,” Rendell, 70, told The Daily Beast on Sunday afternoon, a few hours after he learned that his friend had been killed the previous evening, along with six other people, in the fiery explosion of his chartered jet. “We joked and kibitzed, and Lewis said, ‘You really ought to come tomorrow. Doris would love to see you.’ And I said, ‘Listen, I’ll call you, but I don’t think I can.’”
Rendell, who served as Philadelphia’s district attorney and mayor before being elected Pennsylvania governor in 2002, explained that he had an early-morning speaking commitment at the Little Shul in south Philadelphia and was worried he wouldn’t be back in time. It was a fundraising event for the renovation of the state’s smallest synagogue, which is situated in a row house, “and I couldn’t let them down,” Rendell said.
“This is unbelievable,” Rendell said. “The shock and the sorrow here are unbelievable, not only because he was a great philanthropist, but because he did so many small things for people that no one ever heard of. His greatest thrill in life was helping people.” Rendell added: “This is so fucking hard.”
Side note: Not sure what Rendell actually does anymore, so that seemed like a good descriptor.