NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ann Mara, matriarch of the National Football League’s New York Giants franchise, died at age 85 from complications from a head injury after she slipped on ice, her family said on Sunday.
Mara, together with her 11 children, inherited a 50 percent interest in the Giants when her husband, Wellington, died a decade ago at age 89.
In 1925, Tim Mara, Wellington’s father, purchased the Giants, now one of the oldest and most storied teams in the NFL, for $500.
“She has been the leader of our family in every way, and we will miss her dearly,” her oldest son, John Mara, the franchise’s president and chief executive, said in a statement.
The announcement came on Super Bowl Sunday, the day when the NFL stages its championship game. The Giants have won four Super Bowls over the years, as well as four more NFL championships before the Super Bowl era began in 1967.
The Mara family were the sole owners of the franchise until 1991, when Bob Tisch bought half of the Giants. Tisch passed away in 2005, three weeks after the death of his partner, Wellington Mara.
Tisch’s son, Steve, now serves as chairman and executive vice president of the franchise.
For 60 years, Ann Mara attended nearly every Giants game, home and away, the team said.
Ann Mara slipped during a storm on Jan. 18 and hit her head in front of her home in Rye, a New York City suburb. She was hospitalized the following day.
Her family was hopeful that she would recover from the trauma, her son said. “Unfortunately, there were complications.”
Aside from football, Mara was an advocate of education and donated to various organizations, including Convent of the Sacred Heart and Inner City Scholarship Fund.
Mara was born Ann Mumm in Manhattan on June 18, 1929, to Irish Catholic parents. She worked for the Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau, and was a member of the Church of St. Ignatius on Park Avenue, where she met her husband when they both rushed to help an elderly woman who had fainted.
The couple married in 1954 and had four sons and seven daughters. Among their 43 grandchildren are actresses Rooney Mara and Kate Mara.
Editing by Frank McGurty and Sandra Maler