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Jesse Philips; Business Executive, Philanthropist

December 05, 1994

Jesse Philips, 80, industrialist and philanthropist who owned department stores in the Midwest and developed Philips Industries from a small window company into a building materials firm with plants in 23 states and Canada. The firm was sold to Tomkins PLC of Britain in 1990 for $550 million. Philips gave millions of dollars to public and private schools and universities, including $5 million to the University of Dayton in Ohio. Born in New York City to impoverished Hungarian immigrants, Philips worked his way through college on scholarships and received a master's degree in business administration from Harvard in 1939. He began in department stores, taking over one in Dayton, and in the early 1950s bought a firm that manufactured windows and doors for recreational vehicles, converting it to the building materials company. In Salt Lake City on Tuesday of a heart attack.

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