Comcast Founder Ralph Roberts Bids Adieu at 95

Comcast Founder Ralph Roberts Bids Adieu at 95

Thursday brought the news of death of Comcast founder, Ralph Joel Roberts, who was 95. He died of natural causes in Philadelphia.

Ralph Roberts transformed the small cable system that he bought in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1963 into the mammoth Comcast, which presently is the nation's largest provider of cable TV and home Internet service.

Born in New York City on March 13, 1920, Roberts came from a family of means. However, things went for a toss during the Depression. His father died and his family landed in financial distress. This gave him the push to seek financial stability.

Soon after, Roberts graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and as his first job, joined Aitken Kynett Advertising Agency. Next, one of his clients was the local franchise of Muzak Corp, the company behind elevator music. Roberts joined Muzak and rose to the position vice president. However, he moved on to Pioneer Suspender Co, owing to tremendous work pressure at Muzak. Soon he bought Pioneer, only to sell it off in 1961.

Using the sale proceeds, he started an investment company, which led him to purchase American Cable Systems for $500,000. Finally, in 1969, this company was re-christened as Comcast, which was a combination of ‘communications’ and ‘broadcast’. Roberts remained the CEO of Comcast until 2002, when he was 82, before transferring the title of chief executive to his son, Brian. However, he continued to exercise his authority in the decision-making that took place in the company.

Presently, Roberts is survived by his wife, Suzanne, along with four of his five children.

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