James Crown, a Chicago billionaire who recently pledged to solve violent crime in the city by inviting fellow CEOs to join him in an extensive jobs program, dἰed Sunday in a car accident on a racetrack outside Aspen, Colorado.
Mr Crown, 70, was the chairman and CEO of his family business, Henry Crown & Co., in Chicago, as well as the managing partner of Aspen Skiing Co. Mr Crown, was at Aspen Motorsports Park in Woody Creek, Colorado, on Sunday, his 70th birthday.
It was said his father, billionaire financier Lester Crown-
“He was driving a race car, and it hit a wall going around a curve.”
Mr Crown dἰed as a result of blunt force trauma, according to the Pitkin County coroner’s office in Colorado.
Lester Crown said-
“He was the leader of our family both intellectually and emotionally, and he looked out for everybody. He also was a great leader also for the community.”
Mr Crown, a Commercial Club of Chicago member, recently said he and other Chicago business leaders were committed to finding jobs for up to 10,000 young men from high-crime areas.
Mr Crown, who led a Commercial Club task force on public safety, set an ambitious target of decreasing Chicago’s homicide rate to less than 400 per year within five years. There were 695 last year.
Mr Crown said in a May 31 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times–
“People are hoping that we can get traction here. But it will take many years before we can reflect on this and say that we had a lasting impact.”
Lester Crown stated that his son’s civic consciousness developed on his own.
“He loved to take care of and do things for people. He had no bias and tiny ego. Just a remarkable, remarkable human.”
Mr Crown, also a director of General Dynamics and JPMorgan Chase & Co., was one of Chicago’s wealthiest residents. In 2020, Forbes listed his family as the 34th wealthiest in America, with a fortune estimated at $10.2 billion.
His friend Christie Hefner, former CEO of Playboy Enterprises, told him-
“One thing people who knew Jim well would say about him, which puts him in a rare category, in my experience, is that he was super-smart, really low-key and really down to earth and gentle. He wore his success and his power lightly.”
Hefner said his effort to address factors that feed violence is a-
“Great example of who he was as a person, in terms of a deep feeling of responsibility to Chicago. It’s so easy to sit on the sidelines and be critical.”
Mr Crown, who lived in Chicago and was a part-time Aspen resident, was a significant Chicago fundraiser for President Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign.
Penny Pritzker, a friend who was commerce secretary under Obama and recruited Mr Crown to help lead Obama’s fundraising, said –
“It’s just sad for the city and leaves a gaping hole for me and so many others.When asked to help, he never said no.”
Mr Crown had hosted the Obamas in Aspen for years, throwing a mountainside Fourth of July bash where high-powered guests would enjoy Chicago favourites like hot dogs, pizza, and Eli’s cheesecake after taking a gondola up to the festivities.
“He also hosted a father-daughter ski outing. You can imagine that chaos, yet he was right there in the middle with all these dads and little kids. He took the most joy from his immediate family and doing activities together.”
- Stewart Granger Cause of Deἀth: What Does Medical Examiner Say About His Demἰse?
- Clark Haggans Cause of Deἀth: Exposing the Details of His Sudden Pἀssing
President Joe Biden, who hosted Mr Crown at a state dinner last week, said-
“Jim represented America at its best industrious, bighearted, and always looking out for each other.”
In a brief statement, Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama referred to Mr Crown as a “dear friend” and one of his “most perceptive advisers” dating back to when Obama first ran for the United States Senate.
The Obamas said-
“His generosity of spirit, his eagerness to help — that’s something we got to know up close, Just a couple weeks ago, we spent an evening with Jim and [his wife] Paula and experienced Jim’s warmth and kindness for what we didn’t know would be the last time.”
Mr Crown was born in Chicago and graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1976 and a law degree from Stanford Law School in 1980. He then worked in New York City for Salomon Brothers Inc. before returning to Chicago in 1985 to work for his family’s financial firm.
His wife, children Torie, Hayley, W. Andrew, Summer Crown, his parents Lester and Renée Crown, grandsons Jackson and Lucas McKinney, and six siblings survive him. There will be a memorial service.
If you are interested, you can check out the Chicago: Sun-times website, which was mentioned earlier, and all the other statements.