Marti Huizenga remembered as devoted philanthropist

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Marti Huizenga, one of South Florida’s best known philanthropists, has died. She was 74.

Friends of Huizenga, who was the wife of billionaire businessman Wayne Huizenga, said South Florida has lost someone who cannot be replaced.

Huizenga, who died peacefully in her home on Tuesday, spent much of her life volunteering. She also helped launch organizations like the Humane Society of Broward County and Habitat for Humanity of Broward.

“She truly was the epitome of Winston Churchill’s saying, ‘You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give,'” said Dr. George Hanbury, President of Nova Southeastern University.

The university’s business school was named after the Huizenga family, and it represents one of the many contributions they made to the community throughout the years.

“She saw nothing that was living that was too little to be engaged with,” said Hanbury.

That included animals. Huizenga worked with the Humane Society for nearly 40 years, but she did more than just give. She also adopted.

“Through her involvement, it brought other people in the community to the Humane Society,” said Humane Society of Broward spokesperson Cherie Watcher.

Nancy Daly of Habitat for Humanity of Broward remembered the first time she asked Huizenga to help with Women Build, to see if she’d like to help with a house. “She came over to my house for a cup of coffee. She said, ‘Why are you only building one house? Why don’t you build six?'” said Daly.

“That year, she sponsored the first home, and we got 500 ladies to sponsor,” Daly continued, “and that was the beginning of Women Build.”

Huizenga also served on the boards of other charitable organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Mike Jackson, the CEO and President of AutoNation, one of the companies her husband started, said, “Marti was Wayne’s greatest partner and an inspiration to all of us here at AutoNation. Her spirit, dedication and love will forever leave a lasting legacy on so many.”

Daly echoed that sentiment. “She cared about everybody in this community. She has left a legacy that all of us should aspire to follow,” she said.

Marti is survived by her husband, their five children and 11 grandchildren.

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