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Cali’s legacy is buildings and music

John J. Cali

John J. Cali, a New Jersey real estate developer and philanthropist, died on Feb 1, 2014.

Cali co-founded Cali Associates in 1949 with his brother, Angelo R. Cali, and a friend, Edward Leshowitz. Mr. Cali served as chairman of the board of Cali Realty Corporation when the company went public in 1994. He continued as chairman of the board through the growth of the Cali REIT and its merger in 1997 with the Mack Company. Mr. Cali retired as chairman in 2000 and became chairman emeritus until retiring in 2003.

Mitchell E. Hersh, Mack-Cali president and chief executive officer, issued this statement: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, John Cali. His impact on the industry in the New Jersey region will forever be evident. His experience, knowledge, guidance, philanthropy, and friendship will be greatly missed.”

Cali was born in 1919 in Bear Canyon, Co. and moved with his family to Passaic, N.J. when the Great Depression hit in 1929, according to a 2010 article in the Montclarion.

Cali was a saxophone player and life-long lover of music. He met his wife, Rose, when they were students at Montclair State University, and in 2008 the family donated $5 million to the university to help establish the John J. Cali School of Music.

“The Montclair State community mourns the loss of John Cali, a kind and caring man, who did so many great things for our School of Music, for our students and faculty, and for countless others in Montclair and beyond,” Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole said in a memorial posted on the university website. “The support, guidance and friendship of John and his wife, Rose, have been invaluable to both me and the University over the years. The John J. Cali School of Music is a beautiful testament to the wonderful life lived by this community leader an extraordinary human being.”

He is survived by his wife, Rose C. Cali, and his children, Brant, Jonna and Christopher, his grandchildren and extended family.

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