Feb. 27, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Former University of Michigan wrestler and noted businessman Ralph Bahna (1962-64) passed away Monday (Feb. 24) at the age of 71. A 1964 Big Ten Conference champion, Bahna and his wife, Dorothy, provided the lead gift for the Wolverines' state-of-the-art wrestling facility, the Bahna Wrestling Center.
A three-year Michigan letterwinner at 123 and 130 pounds, Bahna was a member of two Big Ten championship squads under legendary coach Cliff Keen. Bahna captured the Big Ten 123-pound title as a senior in 1964 and twice represented the Wolverines at the NCAA Championships.
Bahna was a founding investor and chairman of Priceline.com and the chairman and founder of Club Quarters, a chain of private hotels in big city centers. He previously served as president and chief executive of Cunard Lines Ltd. During his leadership, Cunard transitioned from a standout shipping company to a modern-day cruise operator. He was named "The Cruise Industry Leader of the Decade" in 1990 by Travel Trade magazine and became the first chairman of a unified international cruise line organization, Cruise Lines International Association.
Opened in January 2009, the 18,000-square-foot Bahna Wrestling Center houses comprehensive training and support facilities for the Wolverine wrestling program. The facility is one of only two stand-alone collegiate wrestling training centers in the country. It was the Bahnas' passion for and commitment to the Michigan wrestling program that led to their significant support of the facility.
A private service will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday (March 4) at St. Cecilia's Church in Stamford, Conn. The family will receive friends from 4-9 p.m. on Monday (March 3) at the Hoyt Funeral Home in New Canaan, Conn. For more information, please visit the Hoyt Funeral Home website.
Contact: Leah Howard