FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Mourners poured into the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Thursday morning for a memorial service and tribute to Wayne Huizenga, the billionaire businessman who left an indelible mark on South Florida.
Huizenga passed away last week at the age of 80 after a years-long battle with cancer.
Huizenga was a billionaire businessman who, in the early 90s, owned three major South Florida sports franchises including the Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins, and Florida Panthers.
He also founded three Fortune 500 companies; Waste Management, Blockbuster, and AutoNation.
Huizenga’s name is on the façade of the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business on NSU’s main campus. In addition, there is a statue of Mr. Huizenga on a park bench on the south side of the DeSantis building.
Huizenga was remembered by his children as a loving father. His friends and business associates said he may have made millions, but he never lost sight of his humility.
“He never forgot that he started working on a trash truck, he never forgot what it took to work all day to take care of your family,” said Mike Jackson, President and CEO of AutoNation.
Huizenga was a huge philanthropist in South Florida, along with his wife Marti.
She died in January 2017 at 74.
In 1989, they donated $1 million to the Broward Community Foundation to establish the Huizenga Foundation, a children’s fund. The entrepreneur also gave $1 million in personal and corporate funds in 1997 to The African-American Library Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale.