CINCINNATI (AP) — Louise Nippert, an owner of the Cincinnati Reds during the Big Red Machine era and a financial contributor to the Cincinnati arts scene, died Monday at age 100.
Nippert and her husband, Louis Nippert, bought majority control of the Reds in 1973 and owned the team when it featured greats including Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan and won World Series championships in 1975 and 1976.
The Nipperts began a 46-year ownership interest — the longest in the franchise's history — when they bought into the club as part of an investors' group in 1966. They sold their majority ownership of the club in 1981 but retained a minority interest held by Louise Nippert until her death, the Reds said.
"No person loved the Cincinnati Reds more than Mrs. Nippert, and her players loved her for her devotion to the family atmosphere she fostered within the organization," Reds president Bob Castellini said in a statement Monday.
Nippert died at her home in the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill on Monday morning after a brief illness, family spokesman Carter Randolph said. Her husband died in 1992.
Nippert had a lifelong interest in the arts and donated $85 million in 2009 for a fund to maintain Cincinnati's orchestra and its collaboration with other performing arts.
The Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra said in a statement Monday that her "commitment and generosity were unparalleled, and her remarkable impact will be felt for generations to come."
Nippert also was a sponsor for the University of Cincinnati's Conservatory of Music, and the Nippert Rehearsal Studio overlooks UC's Nippert Stadium, which was a gift to the school after Jimmy Nippert, Louis Nippert's brother, died of a football injury in 1923.
Most of the contributions by the Nipperts, who had no children, were made anonymously.
Randolph, executive vice president of Greenacres Foundation Inc., a nonprofit the Nipperts established in 1988 to promote education in sustainable agriculture, the environment and cultural arts, said the couple "both believed that the purpose of philanthropy was the smile on the ultimate beneficiaries' faces."
Associated Press writer Amanda Lee Myers and Associated Press Sports Writer Joe Kay contributed to this report.