Bob and Betsy Magness

Sep 15, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Bob and Betsy Magness thought the people of Texas needed better television reception, so in 1956 they mortgaged their cattle ranch to start a 700-subscriber cable system in Memphis, Texas.
Friends and colleagues remembered Mr. Magness as a man who literally climbed his way to the top. He would clamber up utility poles to string wires while Mrs. Magness ran the business operation from the kitchen of their home.
From that modest beginning, the Magness operation grew to become Tele-Communications Inc., the largest collection of cable operations in the world.
Mrs. Magness, who died in 1985, left a legacy in the Betsy Magness Executive Development Seminar, an ongoing program to advance women in cable management.
Mr. Magness continued to grow his cable holdings, amassing a fortune in excess of $1 billion. He spent his last few years donating millions to Denver-area institutions, including a $10 million pledge to fund a sports complex at the University of Denver.
Mr. Magness died in 1996. He was named 1996 Philanthropist of the Year by Volunteers of America.