Irwin G. Jann, of Chicago, Illinois and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, passed away on Thursday, December 27, 2018 surrounded by friends and family. The son of the late Albert and Marianne Jann, he is survived by his wife, Norma, three children, including James (Lynn McGovern) Jann, Joanna (Stuart) Halloway, and numerous beloved grandchildren.
A self-starter from an early age, Irwin had jobs as a sock and shoe salesman on Maxwell Street, a busboy, a siding salesman, and, most proudly, as a CTA bus driver. Irwin attended college at DePaul University where he went directly into law school after his junior year. He began his law career in the Chicago Corporation Counsel’s office, later forming his own full service law firm that included multiple partners and associates. He went on to work as a lobbyist for RJ Reynolds and the Tobacco Institute.
Irwin loved the restaurant business, playing an active role in many establishments throughout his life including Chicago hotspots Haray Caray’s and Gibsons.
A force in Chicago politics, Irwin also had a voice on the state level as a member of Jim Edgar and George Ryan’s gubernatorial transition teams. He was a long serving Commissioner of the Illinois Racing Board and member of the Juvenile Justice Commission. He was proud of his service on the boards of the Chicago City Ballet and Thorek Hospital. He was a generous patron of Maryville Academy and the Mayo Clinic.
Irwin was a lifelong fan of both the Chicago Cubs and Bears and was particularly proud of his enthusiastic participation as a member of the board of the Chicago Wolves. Equally pleased with hot dogs or caviar, Irwin was a man of many passions including his time as a semi-professional race car driver, Indy pit board man and member of the 2000 Hemelgarn Racing IRL championship team. He loved boating, motorcycle riding, car collecting and his many pets.
Most of all, Irwin will be remembered for his irreverent sense of humor and the ability to find the levity in any situation. A memorial service will be held on January 10th. Please contact the family for details.
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