Carl Pohlad was born on August 23, 1915, to a poor Slovak family in Des Moines, Iowa.He grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa and graduated from Valley High School in West Des Moines in 1934. He attended and played football for Compton Junior College in Southern California for a short time. Bing Crosby saw him play football and recruited him to play for his alma mater Gonzaga University in Washington. Pohlad attended Gonzaga but dropped out after the football season of his senior year.
He was drafted to serve in WWII serving from 1943 to 1946. During his time in the service, he fought in Europe, spending some time in France, Germany, and Austria. Pohlad was scheduled to participate in the Normandy Invasion (D-Day), but a case of Poison Oak kept him out of the invasion's early stages. He was wounded in battle, and was awarded the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star Medal.
After the war he returned to Iowa, married Eloise O'Rourke Pohlad and later moved to Edina, Minnesota. Pohlad's wife, Eloise, died in 2003. They had three sons during their 56-year marriage: James, Robert, and William, who all serve as Executive Board Members of the Minnesota Twins
Pohlad got his start in the banking business by foreclosing farms during the Great Depression. After the Depression, he began investing in community banks. Over several decades, he built a banking empire. He bought deposits from The Midwest Federal Savings & Loan after its collapse in 1989. Eventually he sold his bank Marquette Bank to Wells Fargo in 2002. In 2006 Forbes ranked him tied for the 107th richest person in the United States, with a net worth of 2.6 billion dollars.
Pohlad became president of the Twin City Rapid Transit (the Minneapolis St. Paul bus and streetcar company) saving it from Fred A. Ossanna (who was convicted in 1960 of illegally taking personal profit from the company). Pohlad was also the Vice President of Pohlad Companies, which owns several companies both large and small, including Marquette Financial Companies, United Properties, River Road Entertainment, Stanton Group Holdings, Inetium, Arcadia Solutions, KTTB FM (B-96) Radio Station (through Northern Lights Broadcasting, a holding company, and JB Hudson's Jewelers in the Twin Cities, as well as a controlling interest in PepsiAmericas, the second largest bottling group in the United States.
Carl Pohlad purchased the Minnesota Twins from the Griffith family in 1984 for $32 million. The club won the World series in 1987 and again in 1991.
Pohlad died of natural causes on January 5, 2009 at the age of 93. His funeral was held at the Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis. His son Jim took over day-to-day operations of the Twins organization.
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