Anne Cox Chambers, the billionaire heiress of Cox Enterprises and former U.S. ambassador during the Carter era, has died, her family’s company confirmed. She was 100.
“My aunt leaves behind a remarkable legacy for our family and the many organizations she generously supported with her time and financial gifts,” Jim Kennedy, Chambers’ nephew and the Chairman of Cox Enterprises, said on the company’s website.
“Aunt Anne was a wonderful, kind and elegant lady who cared deeply about her family, her company and her country,” Kennedy added to the AJC. “She took the responsibility of good fortune very seriously and gave back to the best of her ability to the many causes she cared about.”
Born in 1919 to Ohio governor and presidential candidate James M. Cox and his wife Margaretta Parker Blair, Chambers grew up to be a “business leader, passionate supporter of the arts, champion of animal welfare and generous philanthropist,” the company said.
For 33 years, she and her sister Barbara Cox co-owned their family’s media conglomerate, which began with their father’s decision to buy a single newspaper in Dayton, Ohio, according to The New York Times.
Over the years, the company has grown to include newspapers, radio stations, cable television networks, and automobile-auction businesses, and has earned more than $21 billion in 2019, the outlet reported.
Chambers, who served on Cox’s board of directors and was a former chairwoman of Atlanta Newspapers, also made strides beyond the media world and especially in Atlanta, the company shared.
“She blazed a trail in the business world at Fulton National Bank as the first woman in Atlanta to serve as a bank director. She was also the first woman to be appointed to the board of Atlanta’s Chamber of Commerce and was director of the board of the Coca-Cola Company during the 1980s,” Cox wrote on their website.
In 1977, Chambers was appointed by former president Jimmy Carter to serve as an ambassador to Belgium. She remained in that position until 1981 when Carter’s term ended, Cox noted.
Chambers was also a “generous donor and passionate supporter of the arts,” often working with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, Shepherd Center and the High Museum of Art, where a wing is named after her, according to the company.
“Mrs. Chambers’ influence on Cox and her work on behalf of Atlanta and the world will not soon be forgotten,” Cox wrote. “Moving forward, Cox will continue to uphold her legacy of giving back while growing our businesses for the future.”
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In the wake of her death, many influential figures who personally knew Chambers have spoken out, including Carter and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Carter, 95, who issued a statement on his website on behalf of his wife Rosalynn, said Chambers was “an important part of our lives for over six decades.”
“Rosalynn joins me in sharing our condolences to the extended family and friends of Anne Cox Chambers,” the 39th U.S. president said. “Her life serves as a path for fairness and equality for everyone and especially for women and girls. Atlanta, our state of Georgia and the world has lost a wonderful woman, business leader, and philanthropist. Rosalynn and I are grateful to have been among those whose lives were so richly touched by her.”
Bottoms, 50, also touched on Chambers’ influence in a statement to the AJC on behalf of her husband Derek.
“Derek and I convey our deepest condolences to the family of Anne Cox Chambers,” she said, according to AJC. “She was generous to the community she loved, deeply cherished God’s gifts found in nature, and was a force to be reckoned with. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and all those who loved and admired her.”