(RepublicanJournal.org) – A close associate of billionaire investor Warren Buffett has died. Charlie Munger made a fortune on his own but then became Buffett’s most trusted adviser. He played a key role in building Buffet’s giant holding company, which has the most expensive stock in the world.
GI Bill Brought Success
Charles Thomas “Charlie” Munger was born in Omaha, Nebraska on New Year’s Day 1924. As a teenager, he worked in a local grocery store, Buffett & Son, which was owned by Warren Buffett’s grandfather, but he had ambitions that went further than that. After graduating high school he studied math at the University of Michigan, but in 1943 he dropped out and joined the US Army Air Force. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant and assigned as a meteorologist, training at Caltech in Pasadena, California. While there he met and married Nancy Huggins, whom he knew through his sister — the women had been roommates at college. After leaving the Air Force he used his GI Bill entitlement to study, eventually graduating from Harvard Law School in 1948.
It seems Munger enjoyed his time at Caltech, because after he graduated he moved back to Pasadena with his family, and joined a local law firm. In 1962, he broke away to found his own firm, Munger, Tolles & Olson, which is still in business and known for its skill in corporate cases.
However, within a few years, Munger himself gave up law and moved into investments, setting up Wheeler, Munger and Company to deal in real estate. That business failed in 1976 after suffering heavy losses, but Munger had also been running another investment partnership since 1962, and that endeavor had outperformed the stock market by a wide margin.
He had also started buying shares in Massachusetts-based textile company Berkshire Hathaway the same year, along with Buffett, and in 1964 Buffett took over the company. In 1967 he started expanding it into insurance, and by the mid-1980s he’d transformed it into a fully diversified holding company. Munger, who he appointed as vice chairman, was his right-hand man through this process, but he never stopped running his own independent businesses.
Outside of Berkshire Hathaway, Munger was also interested in philanthropy. He was a major donor to the University of Michigan, even though he’d dropped out to join the Air Force. He also gave millions to Stanford University and a variety of museums. However, he refused to sign the Giving Pledge authored by Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Charlie Muger died peacefully in the hospital on November 28. He was 99 years old.
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