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Herbert Kohl, Former Wisconsin Senator and Milwaukee Bucks Owner, Dies at 88


Mr. Kohl also gave bonuses, totaling $10 million, to every member of the Bucks organization and every worker at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, the Bucks’ aging and soon-to-be-replaced arena. Ushers received $2,000 each, and some longtime Bucks employees got enough to pay off mortgages or buy new homes.

“I was happy to do it, and they were deeply appreciative,” he told The Journal Sentinel. “It doesn’t change my life, but it changes theirs.”

Mr. Kohl, a lifelong Milwaukee resident who kept a horse ranch in Jackson, Wyo., never married and had no children.

He is survived by his older brother Sidney, his older sister Dolores and his younger brother Allen.

He gave $25 million to the University of Wisconsin for construction of the Kohl Center, a 15,000-seat basketball and hockey field house built on the university’s Madison campus in 1998. He also founded an educational foundation that each year provides grants to graduating seniors and teachers in Wisconsin high schools.

Mr. Kohl’s net worth was never disclosed, although in 2016 Forbes estimated that it was between $630 million and $1.5 billion. He remained a loyal Bucks fan, with season tickets at the Fiserv Forum, a few rows up from courtside.

As if vindicating Mr. Kohl’s faith in the team, the Bucks ended decades of drought by winning the N.B.A. championship in 2021, defeating the Phoenix Suns in seven games. Mr. Kohl was presented with a championship ring for his efforts to keep the team in Milwaukee, and he rode in the lead car in the championship parade, proclaiming: “This is one of the big days of my life.”

Orlando Mayorquin contributed reporting.

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