Peter Lewis, who helped build
Philanthropic advisor Jennifer Frutchy said Lewis died at his home in
In 1965, Lewis became CEO of Cleveland-based Progressive, a company that succeeded a small operation co-founded by his father in 1937. Lewis held the post for 35 years and was Progressive's chairman at his death. In 2006, Forbes calculated his net worth at $1.4 billion.
Lewis was a heavy donor to a number of causes, including marijuana law reform. He used marijuana for pain management following a leg amputation and helped finance marijuana-related campaigns in Ohio, Washington, Colorado and Massachusetts.
"I don't believe that laws against things that people do regularly, like safe and responsible use of marijuana, make any sense," he told Forbes magazine in 2011. "Everything that has been done to enforce these laws has had a negative effect, with no results."
Lewis' left leg was amputated below the knee in 1998 because of a congenital vascular condition.
An arts patron, Lewis was a trustee of the
In 1985, Lewis hired renowned architect
Lewis never built his house but, over a decade of working with Gehry, he bankrolled experiments with computer technology that enabled Gehry to design the widely acclaimed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, according to the newspaper.
Lewis was "a risk-taker, open-minded, generous, quixotic, fun to be with — all of those things," Gehry told the Plain Dealer. "He was sort of an icon for the world, for my world anyway."
Born in Cleveland on Nov. 11, 1933, Lewis graduated from Princeton in 1955 and started working at his father's company as an accountant. He ultimately gave more than $220 million to Princeton.
Divorced from his first wife, Toby, in 1981, Lewis later hired her to oversee his company's large art collection.