Myra Kraft, wife of Patriots owner, dies at 68

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Myra Kraft, wife of Patriots owner, dies at 68

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Myra Kraft, the wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and a long-time philanthropist, has died. She was 68.

The NFL team said in a statement on its website that Myra Hiatt Kraft died Wednesday morning after a battle with cancer. The statement said "we are all heartbroken" and added that the philanthropic community has "suffered a great loss."

Myra Kraft held key positions in numerous charitable and community organizations.

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.

In 1995, she became the first woman to chair the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, a position she held until 2002.

She married Robert Kraft in June 1963 while she was a student at Brandeis University.

Myra Kraft was the daughter of Jacob Hiatt, who grew up in Lithuania and moved to the United States in 1935. He settled in Worcester, where she was born. Hiatt became president of the E.F. Dodge Paper Box Corp. in Leominster in 1938 and stayed on when it was bought by Whitney Box.

The company is now known as the Rand-Whitney Group which Robert Kraft bought in 1972. He now serves as its chairman and chief executive officer.

Myra Kraft also served as chairwoman of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and was on the board of directors of the American Repertory Theatre, Brigham and Women's Hospital, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, and Brandeis.

The Krafts have four sons, Jonathan, Daniel, Joshua and David. Jonathan is president of the Patriots. Daniel is president and CEO of International Forest Products, founded in 1972 by his father. Joshua is president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.

Bill Belichick issued a statement on Wednesday:

On behalf of the entire Patriots football operation, we mourn the passing of Myra Kraft. As much support as her quiet but unmistakable presence provided us in the competitive arena and as much as I personally will miss her warm embraces before and after each game, Myra shined brightest in a much broader arena.

In the humanitarian arena, her generosity through philanthropy was admired and appreciated by all. She made a permanent impression on hundreds of coaches, players, staff and our families as a model of grace, strength and giving. Myras vision and example will impact and remain very much with our team forever.
-- The Associated Press

Four killed in crash involving Dallas Cowboys' bus

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Four killed in crash involving Dallas Cowboys' bus

PHOENIX (AP) -- A bus carrying Dallas Cowboys staffers but no players and a van collided Sunday on an Arizona highway, killing four people in the van, authorities said.

The bus occupants emerged uninjured from the crash, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr said.

"All on the bus came through OK with some bumps and bruises," Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple said in an email.

Dalrymple said the bus was only carrying members of the franchise's staff but would not say how many. There were no players on board.

Mickey Spagnola, a columnist for the team's website, has been writing for the past week about traveling on a Cowboys bus with a driver, the team mascot and videographer. On his Twitter page, Spagnola tweeted before 2 p.m. that the bus was 80 miles outside of Vegas.

The two vehicles collided in the afternoon on U.S. 93, about 30 miles north of the city of Kingman or 180 miles northeast of Phoenix, according to DPS.

The crash shut down at least one lane of the highway that serves as the main route between Las Vegas and Phoenix.

The bus was on its way to a Dallas Cowboys fan event in Las Vegas. Charles Cooper, manager of GameWorks entertainment center in Vegas, said the session with 50 to 75 fans was scheduled for 3 p.m. PDT. People were already waiting when the president of a Las Vegas Cowboys fan club called to relay news of the accident. The event was subsequently canceled. Cooper says the team mascot was supposed to appear.

After the Las Vegas stop, the bus was scheduled to go on to Oxnard, California for the team's training camp. Members of the organization typically take a bus two weeks before the camp starts and make stops along the way.