The Guthrie Theater, the Metrodome and the Star Tribune are cultural staples of Minneapolis, and John Cowles Jr. had a hand in shaping all of them.
Cowles died of lung cancer on Saturday at the age of 82, the Star Tribune reported. The Cowles family owned a media empire that included the now Star Tribune for most of the 20th century, with Cowles becoming the editor of the morning Tribune and the evening Star in 1961, The New York Times reported.
During his time as editor of the Star Tribune, Cowles took strong editorial stances on supporting the arts, sports and civil rights. "He was always a person who fought for civility and reason and a sense of progress and caring in the community," former Vice President Walter Mondale told the Star Tribune. "He was never a person who wanted credit."
"Strengthening the cultural organization and life of the Twin Cities was not only going to make life more interesting and attractive for our families," Cowles told The New York Times in 2010, "but was going to attract business and keep business here in town, and it was going to be just plain good business."
After the Star Tribune's parent company, Cowles Media, ousted Cowles in 1983, the McClatchy Co. bought Cowles Media for $1.4 billion in 1998, according to the Star Tribune.
Cowles is survived by his wife of 60 years, Sage Fuller Cowles, two sons, one daughter, one stepdaughter, one sister, one brother, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, according to The New York Times. "His courage, deliberate style, wisdom and love of community were some of the special qualities that gave us all joy and will continue to be an influence in our lives," his family said in a statement.