Philanthropist Kluge remembered as "suffering from a disease called generosity"


Some 400 people gathered on Tuesday, September 21 to celebrate John Kluge, the self-made billionaire who made a home in Albemarle and died on September 7. In a 85-minute ceremony at Monticello Memorial Gardens, Jon Kabat-Zinn, the world-renowned mindfulness teacher, and poet Jonathan Paul Walton, one of hundreds of beneficiaries of Kluge’s $400 million scholarship gift to Columbia University, offered the benedictions. Kluge, who regularly ranked high on lists of the world’s wealthiest people, “had a quality akin to the Dalai Lama,” said Kabat-Zinn. “The Dalai Lama is the only person aside from John Kluge who I’ve been in the presence of who doesn’t care what your status is in society. He treats everyone of equal importance.” Kluge’s legendary philanthropy included gifts totaling more than $11 million to UVA, as well as the 749-acre Morven Farm, which is not far from his final resting place.