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Billionaire Charles Sammons Dies

November 14, 1988

DALLAS (AP) _ Charles G. Sammons, a billionaire and philanthropist, has died at age 90.

Sammons died of natural causes Saturday night at St. Paul Medical Center.

Sammons was chairman of the board of Sammons Enterprises Inc., a conglomerate of insurance, cable television, travel, industrial supply and bottled-water companies.

Unlike many of the world’s billionaires, he didn’t inherit his wealth and he never went to college. In September, Forbes magazine estimated Sammons’ personal wealth at $1.3 billion.

Born in 1898 in Ardmore, Indian Territory (Oklahoma), Sammons was orphaned at age 11. He came to live with an aunt in Plano, Texas, near Dallas.

Sammons started a grain and hay business when he was 19. In 1928, he entered the insurance industry and, 10 years later, formed Reserve Life Insurance Co., a stock-life insurance firm that later became the basis for his fortune.

He diversified his economic interests, forming Sammons Enterprises in 1962 to facilitate ownership of his various companies.

″I knew him to be a consummate entrepreneur, a person who literally until the day he died was seeking and urging his executives to expand and to grow in their businesses,″ said Robert Korba, president of Sammons Enterprises.

Sammons also was active in Dallas civic and charitable organizations and was a benefactor of health care and arts institutions.

He is survived by his wife, Elaine Sammons of Dallas, a daughter, and 12 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was scheduled for Tuesday.

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