ST. LOUIS (AP) – James Busch Orthwein, the former New England Patriots owner who played a role in the Rams move to St. Louis, has died. He was 84.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Orthwein died Friday at his home in Huntleigh after a long battle with cancer.

Orthwein bought the Patriots in 1992 and sold them to Robert Kraft two years later.

“I didn’t know James Orthwein well, but I did share one of my life’s most memorable moments with him and my family back on January 21, 1994. That was the day that I purchased the New England Patriots from Mr. Orthwein,” Kraft said.

“I have a great black-and-white photo of the two of us sitting at a table that day with my entire family standing behind us. It is a day that I will never forget and a memory that I will always cherish. On behalf of my family, I would like to extend sympathies to the Orthwein family.”

Orthwein played an important role in the Rams’ move from Los Angeles to St. Louis by donating his 65-percent ownership share of the stadium rights to FANS Inc., the nonprofit group that persuaded the team to move.

“Jim was a private man who thrived as a fisherman, outdoorsman and painter,” family friend Walter Metcalfe said. “Yet he understood business and he had an enormous talent to see what was important and then connect his product, be it candy or cola or beer or the then-broken and ridiculed Patriot franchise, to the public.”

Orthwein’s mother, Clara Busch, was the granddaughter of Adolphus Busch, one of the founders of Anheuser-Busch. Orthwein was a longtime member of the brewery’s board.

Survivors include wife Loris, daughters Katherine Snowden and Romaine Orthwein and sons Percy and James Orthwein.


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