Mr. Anonymous Dies

September 15, 1984

Mr. Plough was a multimillionaire, a philanthropist, a visionary, a celebrated luminary and a larger-than-life presence in this city where he repeatedly made the impossible possible by sharing the bounty of his remarkable career.

And what a career it was. Starting from scratch, he turned out to be an old-fashioned, hard-working, do-it-yourself tycoon, who not only went to the top of the ladder — he built the ladder he climbed.

— Reporter William Thomas on the death of Plough, Inc. founder Abe Plough who set a new standard for charitable giving during his life and since, through the Plough Foundation.

Looking back: Granddaughter Diane Rudner, who chairs the foundation, which has distributed $300 million, recalls Sunday afternoons at the zoo or at a restaurant at the airport with the man widely known as Mr. Anonymous for his quiet, charitable giving. As the grandchildren grew older, they’d visit the Plough facility on Jackson Avenue to see samples of products being sold in drugstores around the world. The Abe Plough she knew was a voracious newspaper reader who would pore over the business section, his fingers and his chair coated with ink, and ask:

Would you rather have luck or brains?

"And no matter what you said, the correct answer was supposed to be — a little bit of both."