Betty Wold Johnson, the mother of New York Jets owners Christopher and Woody Johnson, died on Friday, the team announced.
She was 99.
The Johnson family purchased the Jets in 2000 for $635 million. Christopher currently serves as the team’s chairman and CEO, while Woody is serving as the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom.
“There are very few people in this world who live to 99,” former Jets running back and Hall of Famer Curtis Martin said, via the team’s website. “And I'm sure if you go back and look at everything she did for other people, you could probably write a book on her from a philanthropic standpoint … She had such a charitable heart and a charitable way about her."
Betty was raised in Minnesota and married Robert Wood Johnson III — the grandson of one of the co-founder’s of Johnson & Johnson. They had five children before his death in 1970.
She was a big supporter of the arts in the New York area, too. Betty donated $11 million to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in 2008 and supported several other major arts and science institutions in the area, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Princeton Public Library and the Nature Conservancy of New Jersey, to name a few.
She made a massive impact on former Jets players throughout her time around the team, too, many of whom have dubbed her as the team’s “First Lady.”
“To me, two of her greatest qualities were humility and approachability. Ms. Johnson was such an approachable and humble lady,” said former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, via the team’s website. “When I think of her, I think of her as ‘The First Lady of the Jets.’
“I think of Ms. Johnson as nothing but first class with how she treated people, how she carried herself and how she represented herself and her family."
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