Who was Myra Kraft?
Myra Kraft was an American philanthropist and the wife of Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots and the New England Revolution. She was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1942, the daughter of Jacob Hiatt, a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant who became a successful businessman and a leader in the Jewish community
Myra Kraft graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in History in 1964 and married Robert Kraft in the same year. They had four sons, Jonathan, Daniel, Joshua and David
What did Myra Kraft do?
Myra Kraft was a prominent figure in the philanthropic and community sectors. She managed the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation and was president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, which contributed millions of dollars to charities in the United States and Israel
She also served on the boards of directors of various organizations, such as the American Repertory Theatre, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, Northeastern University, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, the Jewish Book Council, and Brandeis University
She was especially passionate about promoting American football in Israel, supporting Jewish identity among young people, and fostering interfaith dialogue between Christians and Jews. She and her husband donated millions of dollars to build the Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem, found the Israeli Football League, and endow two professorships in comparative religion at Holy Cross and Brandeis
How did Myra Kraft die?
Myra Kraft died from ovarian cancer on July 20, 2011, at age 68, in her Brookline, Massachusetts home. She had been diagnosed with the disease in 2010 and had undergone chemotherapy and surgery
Her death was announced by the New England Patriots in a statement that said: “Words cannot express the deep sorrow that we feel in learning of the passing of Myra Hiatt Kraft. Myra passed away early this morning after a courageous battle with cancer. We are all heartbroken. The global philanthropic community and the New England Patriots family have suffered a great loss.”
Her funeral was held on July 22, 2011, at Temple Emanuel in Newton, Massachusetts. Thousands of people attended, including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, former president Bill Clinton, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, Boston mayor Thomas Menino, and many current and former Patriots players and coaches.
She was buried at Sharon Memorial Park in Sharon, Massachusetts. Her grave is marked by a simple stone that reads: “Myra Kraft / Beloved Wife / Mother / Grandmother / Friend”.
What is her legacy?
Myra Kraft’s legacy lives on through her family, her foundation, her charitable work, and her impact on countless lives. Her husband Robert Kraft said: “She was truly my soulmate.”
Her son Jonathan Kraft said: “She taught us that we have an obligation to give back to our community.”
Her friend Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz said: “She was a force for good in this world.”
Her colleague Josh Kraft said: “She was a mentor to me and to so many others.”
Her admirer Vince Wilfork said: “She was a wonderful woman who will be greatly missed.”