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SCHOTT--Lewis M.

Lewis M. Schott, a venture capitalist, philanthropist, and owner of race horses, died on January 12th, in Palm Beach, FL. He was 94. Born on February 23, 1922, in Hackensack, New Jersey, Schott grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1943, and received a Doctor of Law degree in 1946, graduating first of his class. Returning to Daytona Beach to practice law, Schott formed a partnership with the late James T. Nelson. At 23, he was appointed Municipal City Judge, the youngest judge ever appointed to serve in the state of Florida. At the age of 27, he became Director of the Florida State Beverage Department and served as the youngest member of then Governor Fuller Warren's cabinet. After three years in Tallahassee, Schott moved to New York in 1951, where he worked for Merritt- Chapman & Scott, a noted marine salvage and construction firm. He served as executive vice president and member of the board of directors. At the age of 30, he purchased the Shoup Voting Machine Company, one of only two voting machine companies in the country. He later served on various public boards, including chairman and CEO of Automatic Toll Systems, Inc., a manufacturer of highway toll-taking machines. In 1955, he formed his own company, LMS Securities, which he headed until his passing. Schott was featured in the book, How to Win Success before Forty, by William G. Damroth, Prentice Hall, New York, NY, 1956. In 1966, Schott championed inventor, Bert N. Adams, in a seminal patent litigation case against the United States Government. Adams developed the first water activated battery. He claimed the government stole his idea. Recognizing what he believed to be a great injustice, Schott agreed to fund Adams' long legal struggle which went to the United States Supreme Court. In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled in Adams' favor in a landmark decision, U.S. vs. Adams, 383 U.S. 39 (1966). That year, TIME magazine chronicled the story in an article entitled, The Supreme Court: How Bert Beat the Bureaucrats. Schott remained active with the University of Florida throughout his life. In 1987, he funded the first Eminent Scholar Super Chair in the State of Florida, located at the University of Florida College of Medicine. The chair is named in honor of his first wife, the late Marcia Whitney Schott, whom he met in law school. This chair has permitted the continued dedicated research and treatment of arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. In addition, he funded several other programs for students at the University and the Law School. He was a Life Member of the University of Florida Foundation Board, and named its Most Distinguished Alumnus. Paul Robell, Vice President Emeritus of the University of Florida, stated "Schott was a huge fan of the Florida Gators and one of UF's most generous donors." According to Robell, when the 2006-2007 basketball team repeated as national champions, Schott purchased the floor on which the game was won in Atlanta. He donated it to the University where it was cut into pieces and sold as memorabilia to help fund a scholarship for the players. A large section of the floor was framed and displayed in the hallway leading from the locker room to the arena as a gesture of gratitude to Schott. Former Coach Billy Donovan noted how the players would touch it for good luck as they ran out to play their home games. With his late first wife, Marcia Whitney Schott, a breeder of race horses, who passed away in 1989, Schott was active in the field of racing for twenty-five years. In 1981, their horse, Willow Hour, won the Travers Stakes in Saratoga Springs, NY, in a thrilling upset, beating Kentucky Derby Winner Pleasant Colony at the wire. In 1990, Schott moved to Palm Beach, FL, and married the late Mary Rubloff, in 1994. He served on numerous philanthropic boards in the Palm Beach area, including as a Founder Member of the Kravis Center serving on their board of directors from 1995 through 2007. At the time of his death, he was a Life Trustee. Schott also served on the board of directors of the Palm Beach Civic Association for more than twenty years and was a member of their Executive Committee from 1994-2009. I 2010, he was made an Honorary Lifetime Director. In 2011, at the age of 89, he received the Association's Bill Brooks Community Service Award, their highest honor, for his long-time commitment toward improving life in the community. Schott is survived by his three children, Nash Whitney Schott, of Washington, D.C., Victoria, Lady de Rothschild, of London, England, and Steven G. Schott of Forest Hills Gardens, NY; also a daughter-in-law, Aniko Gaal Schott; a step- daughter, Felicia Taylor; five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. A private memorial service was held in Palm Beach, FL, on February 24th, 2017.

Published in The New York Times on Feb. 26, 2017
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