James Busch Orthwein
March 13, 1924
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||August 15, 2008 (aged 84)|
Huntleigh, Missouri, U.S.
|Alma mater||Washington University in St. Louis|
|Relatives||Adolphus Busch (maternal great-grandfather)|
James Busch Orthwein (March 13, 1924 – August 15, 2008) was an American heir and business executive. Orthwein was the owner of the New England Patriots during the 1992 and 1993 seasons. He sold the team in 1994.
Life and career
James Busch Orthwein was born on March 13, 1924. His father, Percy Orthwein, was an advertising executive. His mother, Clara Busch, was the granddaughter of Adolphus Busch, the German-born founder of Anheuser-Busch.
Orthwein joined his father's advertising firm in 1947. He served as the chairman and chief executive of the D'Arcy Advertising Company from 1970 to 1983. Orthwein took the advertising agency to the global stage, merging with agencies in Detroit and London. In 1985, the St. Louis-based company merged with Benton & Bowles of New York to form D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.
Orthwein served on the board of directors of Anheuser-Busch from 1963 to 2001. In 1997, Orthwein held 1.6 million shares in Anheuser-Busch, more than any other company insider with the exception of his first cousin, chairman and president August Busch III.
Orthwein purchased the New England Patriots from Victor Kiam in 1992, when the latter was facing bankruptcy and owed him millions. During his ownership, Orthwein hired Bill Parcells as head coach and oversaw the drafting of first-overall draft pick quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who helped to return the moribund franchise to respectability. He planned to relocate the Patriots franchise to St. Louis, renaming the team the St. Louis Stallions. However, those plans were derailed when Boston paper magnate Robert Kraft, owner of Foxboro Stadium, refused to accept a buyout of the lease. Kraft used his ownership of the stadium to stage a hostile takeover, offering to pay $175 million for the Patriots franchise knowing that Orthwein no longer wanted the team if he could not move it to St. Louis. Orthwein accepted the bid on January 21, 1994.
Personal life and death
One of Orthwein's wives was Romaine Dahlgren Pierce, who had previously married and divorced William Simpson and David Mountbatten, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven. Orthwein's third wife was Ruth Orthwein; they divorced in the late 1990s. Orthwein died of cancer at his home in Huntleigh, Missouri in 2008.
For 35 years, Orthwein was Master of Foxhounds at Bridlespur Hunt Club and he was a member of the Missouri Horseman's Hall of Fame. He helped raise more than $1-million for horse show related charities.
- "James Orthwein, 84, N.F.L. Owner, Dies". The New York Times. August 21, 2008. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- Marquard, Bryan (August 19, 2008). James Busch Orthwein, at 84; onetime owner of Patriots who set stage for team resurgence. Boston Globe
- "The Family Tree: Not All Busches". St. Louis Business Journal. St. Louis, Missouri. June 22, 2008. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- Manning, Margie (December 19, 1997). Orthwein cuts A-B holdings.St. Louis Business Journal
- McG. Thomas Jr., Robert (January 22, 1994). "Sold! Time to Call Them the New England Permanents". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- Lhotka, William C. (August 16, 2008). Former NFL owner James Busch Orthwein dies. Archived 2008-08-26 at the Wayback Machine St. Louis Post-Dispatch
| New England Patriots Principal Owner