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Modell’s “matriarch” Shelby Modell died at the age of 98

Shelby Modell — the Big Apple philanthropist and “matriarch” of what was once the largest family-owned sporting goods company — died peacefully at her Manhattan home, relatives said Friday. She was 98.

The Brooklyn-raised wife of William “Bill” Modell, the late chairman of the Modell sporting goods empire, raised millions of dollars to research Crohn’s disease and colitis and advocated for causes ranging from mental health to education and the arts enough.

“She was one in a million. There was nothing standing in her way,” her son, Mitch Modell, told the Post. “She was just a force of nature.”

Shelby Modell died Thursday after being diagnosed with COVID-19, although it was unclear if the virus caused her death, he said.

For decades, Shelby Modell was a “facilitating” force within the now-defunct company, where she served as vice president of public affairs — and a behind-the-scenes political powerhouse.

In 1977, former President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the US-Panama Canal Treaty Negotiating Committee.

Model's store.
Modell’s Sporting Goods was a New York institution.
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two years later, Big Apple Mayor Abe Beame named her a commissioner on the New York City Youth Board. Governor Mario Cuomo brought her in for the New York State Council of the Arts in 1987.

Shelby met her husband while vacationing at Glenmere Mansion upstate, where she fell into a lake and nearly drowned, her family said in a statement. William stepped in to save her and sparked a romance that resulted in a 59-year marriage.

She graduated from Brooklyn College and earned her master’s degree from Columbia University before pursuing philanthropy.

Carl Goldstein, Lynn Goldstein and Shelby Model.
Carl Goldstein, Lynn Goldstein and Shelby Modell attend a reception honoring Andrea Bocelli in 2009.
Amber de Vos/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Shelby was the national co-founder of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, which she launched after her teenage son Michael was diagnosed with the disease.

After he died of complications from the disease in 2011, she made it her life’s work to collect money for research.

“That was the most incredible thing. I was walking into a restaurant and someone came up to me and said, ‘Please thank your mom, she saved my husband’s life,'” Mitch told Modell.

She taught her children the value of gratitude.

“Everyone has problems. … But she always said, ‘What are you grateful for?’ ‘ Mitch said.

She was also a founding member of the American Digestive Disease Society and the Jeffrey Modell Foundation for Immunological Research.

In addition, Modell helped found Gilda’s Club, a community organization for people living with cancer.

She was also a founder of Hewlett House, a breast cancer resource center, and contributed to other charities.

Shelby Modell was also a member of the prestigious National Health Council of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and was responsible for raising $150 million to build his new psychiatric institute.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/13/modells-matriarch-shelby-modell-dead-at-98/ Modell’s “matriarch” Shelby Modell died at the age of 98

JACLYN DIAZ

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