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John Cali, Co-Founder of Mack-Cali Predecessor, Dies at 95

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Mack-Cali Realty Co-Founder John J. Cali
John J. Cali, co-founder of the family real estate business that today is Mack-Cali Realty Corp., has died at the age of 95. Cali’s $5 million gift to Montclair State University in 2008 led to creation of a school of music that bears his name. Photographer: Mike Peters/Montclair State University via Bloomberg

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- John J. Cali, co-founder of the family real estate business that today is Mack-Cali Realty Corp., a real estate investment trust, has died. He was 95.

He died on Feb. 1, the Edison, New Jersey-based company said today in a statement. No cause was given for his death, which occurred in Indian Wells, California.

With his brother, Angelo, who died in 2006, and a friend, Edward Leshowitz, Cali co-founded Cali Associates in 1949. He was chairman of the board of Cali Realty Corp. when the company went public in 1994 and remained chairman as it merged in 1997 with Mack Co. He retired in 2000.

“His impact on the industry in the New Jersey region will forever be evident,” Mitchell E. Hersh, Mack-Cali’s president, said in a statement. “His experience, knowledge, guidance, philanthropy, and friendship will be greatly missed.”

Mack-Cali owns or has interests in about 31 million square feet of office space and more than 3,600 rental residential units, according to its website.

Cali Realty built about 5,500 housing units in New Jersey before becoming a developer of commercial buildings in 1969.

Cali was born on Aug. 8, 1918, the son of an immigrant miner, according to Suzanne Bronski, director of media relations at Montclair State University. He was born in a mining town in Colorado and raised in New Jersey, where he graduated from Clifton High School, according to a biography on the university’s website. Cali’s $5 million gift to the New Jersey school in 2008 led to the creation of a school of music that bears his name.

He majored in sociology and psychology at Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana, working his way through college by playing saxophone and clarinet in jazz and swing bands, according to the biography.

Survivors include his wife Rose C. Cali, his children, Brant, Jonna and Christopher, and stepsons, Michael and Joshua Nevins.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laurence Arnold in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Charles W. Stevens at

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