FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) — Her smile was wide and her generosity was deep.
Marti Huizenga, wife of business tycoon Wayne Huizenga, lost her battle with cancer at the age of 74 but left behind a legacy felt and seen throughout South Florida, from the Broward Boys and Girls clubs to the Humane Society to the Family Skywalk at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
“She was involved with the Broward Humane Society for nearly 40 years, so she had a significant impact,” said the Humane Society’s Cherie Wachter.
Whether it was saving pets or raising money, Wachter says Marti was a passionate philanthropist.
“The naming of the building was an anniversary gift from her husband to her more than 25 years ago,” said Wachter. “I think it maybe brought people to the shelter that might not ever have thought about coming to an animal shelter before.”
It wasn’t just about generating money, though. Marti Huizenga was known for developing programs and educating generations of children on loving and caring for animals.
One of those partnerships was with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward, in which she was involved in for 30 years and was board chairman from 1994 to 1997.
“Marti, I would say, was a person who was always affectionate, approachable, full of ideas,” said CEO Brian Quail, who explained how she helped expand the centers from a handful to a dozen, impacting the lives of thousands of children. “They gave, not only their money, but they gave their time, their ideas, their sweat equity, to make the club what it is today.”
On the lighter side, her involvement with her husband’s south Florida sports teams are legendary, from putting her support behind the Florida Marlins to delivering bucket loads of plastic rats for Panthers fans to toss onto the rink.
Huizenga is survived by her husband, Wayne; their children Peter, Robert Jay, Pam, Wayne Jr. and Scott, and 11 grandchildren.