Each year Forbes releases their list of the 400 richest Americans. It is of no surprise that the 2002 list was topped by Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, whose personal wealth as of September 2002 was estimated at $43 billion dollars. In second place was investment guru Warren Buffet, founder of Berkshire Hathaway, whose wealth was estimated at $36 billion.
The top ten list of richest Americans includes two other individuals who have amassed their wealth from the fortunes of Microsoft (Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer), as well as am amazing five members of the Walton family, whose wealth derives from their inheritance from Wal-Mart founder, Samuel Walton who died in 1992.
Locally ten residents of the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey area were included in the 2002 list. However, since the list was released in September 2002, the richest local resident has died. The Hon. Walter H. Annenberg, philanthropist, patron of the arts, and former ambassador, died of pneumonia at his home in Wynnewood, PA on October 1, 2002 at the age of 94. Annenberg's wealth was estimated at $4 billion at the time of his death. He was ranked 39th on the Forbes list of richest Americans.
Let's take a brief look at the remaining nine local residents who were included in Forbes' 2002 list of the 400 richest Americans.
#1 - Malone, Mary Alice
Dorrance - $1.4 billion, 52, married, Coatesville, PA - Granddaughter
of Dr. John T. Dorrance, who developed the process for condensing soup.
Dorrance purchased the Campbell Soup Company from his uncle 1914. Upon his
death, he left half of his fortune to his son John, Jr., and the remainder to
his 3 daughters. John, Jr. died 1989, and his children inherited his share. The
family still holds approximately half of outstanding shares of Campbell stock.
On her own Mary Alice Dorrance Malone is a horse breeder.
#139 of Forbes 400
#2 - Lenfest, Harold
Fitzgerald - $900 million, 72, married, Huntingdon Valley, PA -
Lenfest is a graduate of Columbia School of Law. As
managing director of Triangle Publications he became interested in the
burgeoning cable TV industry. In 1974 he founded Philadelphia-area Suburban
Cable. He sold the company to Comcast in 2000, His interests currently are
focused on philanthropy.
#256 of Forbes 400
#3 - Honickman, Harold
- $850 million, 68, married, Philadelphia, PA - Honickman made his fortune in
the soft drink bottling industry. In 1947 his father persuaded Pepsi into giving
Harold the bottling/distribution rights for Pepsi in southern New Jersey. In
1957 his wealthy father-in-law built him a state-of-the-art bottling plant.
Since that time Honickman has acquired Canada Dry bottling operations in New
York and suburban Philadelphia as well as bottling rights to Coors in New York
and Snapple in Baltimore, Rhode Island and suburban Philadelphia. The Honickman
organization now has over $1 billion in annual revenue and is one of the biggest
independent soft drink bottlers in the United States.
#277 of Forbes 400
#4 - West, Alfred P., Jr.
- $825 million, 59, married, Paoli, PA - West is a graduate of the
University of Pennsylvania Wharton School with a Masters of Business
Administration. While working as a teaching fellow at Penn in 1968, West
conceived the idea for Simulated Environments (SEI), which would provide for the
automation of banks' back-office operations. He later founded SEI Investments, a
global asset management company dedicated to helping institutions and
individuals more effectively manage their invest able assets. He remains chairman
and chief executive officer. SEI now manages $77 billion in assets and processes $50 trillion in transactions annually. In
addition to his business responsibilities, Mr. West is an active member of the
Graduate Executive Board of Wharton; the Chairman of the Board of the SEI Center
for Advanced Studies in Management at Wharton; past Chairman of the National
Advisory Board of Georgia Institute of Technology; a member of the Georgia Tech
Foundation Board; a member of the Chairman's Advisory Committee and the
Executive Committee of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia; and chairman
of the board of the Washington-based American Business Conference.
#287 of Forbes 400