Former US Sen. Herb Kohl loved Wisconsin and the Bucks.

 Athletic, political, and economic leaders celebrated former U.S. senator and Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl on Friday for his love of his hometown and Wisconsin. After a brief illness, Kohl, 88, died Dec. 27.

Speakers, including former President Barack Obama's advisor David Axelrod, joked that Kohl, who abhorred the spotlight, had arranged a snowfall to reduce attendance for his tribute at the Bucks' Fiserv Forum.

“I’m not here to mourn Herb,” Axelrod remarked. “I am here to celebrate this extraordinary life and say how grateful I am that he was part of my life.”

Bud Selig described his lifetime connection with Kohl. They met as 6-year-olds in Milwaukee grade school and had lunch monthly until his death. Selig noted Kohl's dedication to Milwaukee, including his 1985 acquisition of the Bucks to keep it in Milwaukee.

“His only goal was to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee and he sacrificed willingly,” Selig stated. Kohl donated $100 million to Fiserv Forum after selling the Bucks in 2014. The Bucks won their first NBA title since 1971 in 2018.

Dan Kohl, Kohl's nephew, claimed his uncle could recall colleagues' spouses and children. Dan Kohl stated Kohl never bragged about his successes in 24 years as a senator.

Dan Kohl said Kohl's scholarships for teachers and children around the state, among his many humanitarian activities, will be his greatest legacy.

Kohl never married or had children, but Dan Kohl claimed hundreds of his relatives from the US, Canada, and Israel attended the tribute in Milwaukee.

Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore, Gov. Tony Evers, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet, state Rep. Greta Neubauer, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, and Mayor Cavalier Johnson all attended. Baldwin succeeded Kohl in the Senate when he left in 2012.

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