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Former Tampa Bay Storm owner Kern dies

Woody Kern owned the Storm when it won Arena Football League titles in 1995, 1996 and 2003.

Woody Kern owned the Storm when it won Arena Football League titles in 1995, 1996 and 2003.

Former Tampa Bay Storm owner Woody Kern died Tuesday in Plano, Texas. He was 66. No cause was disclosed.

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Mr. Kern bought the team from Bob Gries in 1994 for $477,000. Under his ownership, it hired coach Tim Marcum — who died Dec. 5 — and won Arena Football League titles in 1995, 1996 and 2003.

"The team won three Arena­Bowl championships, helping cement his legacy as one of the greatest owners in league history," Storm team president Derrick Brooks said in a statement. "He had a tremendous impact on the Arena Football League and will be missed by all."

Receiver Lawrence Samuels also came to the Storm in 1994 and spent 15 seasons with the team. "He took care of us and was a great owner to play for," he said. "He was everything you wanted in an owner, on and off the field."

Mr. Kern sold the team to Robert Nucci in 2007 for a reported $18.9 million.

Peter Carlson "Woody" Kern, was born April 20, 1947, in Canton, Ohio. In 1970, he entered the family nursing homes business, expanding the company and moving to Pilot Point, Texas, in 1986. In the 1990s, he was sole owner of Texas Health Enterprises, the largest nursing home chain in Texas with more than 100 homes. The firm filed for bankruptcy in 1999 amid a sweeping nursing home investigation by the state.

Mr. Kern also owned minor-league baseball teams in North Carolina, Washington, California, New Jersey and New York.

In the Arena League, he bought the Fort Worth Cavalry in 1993. After it folded a year later, he took over the Storm. In 2010, he founded the Dallas Vigilantes, which lasted two seasons.

Mr. Kern is survived by his two sons, Ryan Kern of Denton, Texas, and Bo Kern of Frisco, Texas; five daughters, Jennifer Walter of Columbus, Ohio, Cari Gilliam of Princeton, Texas, Lindsay Kern of Whitesboro, Texas, Blair Kern of Aubrey, Texas, and Kristin Kern of Cross Roads, Texas; and five grandchildren. He will be buried Saturday in Aubrey, Texas.

Condolences can be shared at slaymemorialfuneralhome.com.

Former Tampa Bay Storm owner Kern dies 01/08/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 9:02pm]
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