Willard Rouse III, 1942-2003

Bill Rouse was our champion. More so than anyone else, he could overcome Philadelphia’s all-too-frequent lack of self-confidence,” said Peter Hearn, former chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and a former candidate for mayor. “He defied the doubters time after time, and succeeded. The loss of Bill is staggering.”

Gov. Rendell said yesterday that no other figure in Philadelphia could match Mr. Rouse’s civic brawn.

“Do I see anyone on the scene? No, I don’t,” Rendell said. “But gosh, I’ve been involved in tons of major cities in my capacity as mayor, and I have never seen any individual have as significant an impact on the direction of a city and region, anywhere in the country.”

…Often referred to as “bigger than life,” he loved nothing more than to scoff in the face of what others thought impossible. Consider this piece of typical Rouse braggadocio:

“They laughed at us. They said it couldn’t be done.”

Read the rest by Peter Dobrin in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Prayers and thank you to him and his family.