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Meet Jim Tyree

There are many words that describe Jim Tyree including husband, father, friend, leader, visionary, humanitarian and fighter.

HUSBAND, FATHER and FRIEND

Jim Tyree grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the Beverly neighborhood. He lived in Chicago with Eve, his wife of 15 years; their daughter, Jessica; and twin sons, Matthew and Joseph. A proud and devoted dad, in 2010, Jim was honored by the American Diabetes Association as a "Father of the Year." There was nothing Jim enjoyed more than spending time with his family and friends. In his home in Chicago or the beach house in Indiana; at local restaurants or watering holes; entertaining his kids on the lakefront; or going to Sox, Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks games, Jim enriched the lives of so many.

LEADER and VISIONARY

Jim's entire professional career was with Mesirow Financial. He joined the firm in 1980 as a research associate and quickly rose through the ranks to be named president in 1990, chief executive officer in 1992, and chairman and chief executive officer in 1994. During his tenure as CEO, Jim led Mesirow Financial to exceptional levels of growth in all areas of the business.

Throughout his career, Jim served on more than 50 corporate, civic and not-for-profit boards of directors. He was the Chairman of Sun-Times Media Holdings, a media firm that publishes 58 newspapers and corresponding websites, including The Chicago Sun-Times. Jim was Chairman of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and The Executives’ Club of Chicago. He also was a member of The Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, The Economic Club of Chicago, University of Chicago Medical Center, Illinois State University Foundation, Illinois Institute of Technology, Illinois Education Foundation, Big Shoulders Fund and Uhlich Children's Advantage Network (UCAN).

In 2010, Jim completed a 10- year appointment by Mayor Daley as chairman of the board of City Colleges of Chicago, an organization with seven colleges and more than 121,000 students.

HUMANITARIAN

Jim was a tireless advocate for the community and participated in numerous organizations in support of health care, education and children - work that continues through the James Tyree Foundation.

As a juvenile diabetic himself, he served determinedly for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). He was on the International board and served as chairman from 2006 to 2008. He held various leadership positions with JDRF’s Illinois Chapter and was a member-at-large of its executive committee, a life member of its board of directors and was named the organization’s 2004 Person of the Year.

You could always find Jim at a ringside table in support of Mercy Home for Boys and Girls or at other charitable events throughout the city. In addition to many other honors, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by The Association for Corporate Growth Chicago, the Spirit of Erikson Institute Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award by Illinois State University, the Mary Potter Humanitarian Award by the Little Company of Mary Hospital, the Youth Advocacy Award by the Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network, the Civic Leadership Award by the American Jewish Committee and Jim accepted The Children’s Place Association "Chicago Champion for Children" award.

FIGHTER

Jim never quit. There wasn't a battle that he could not win. Growing up in a modest home on the South Side of Chicago, Jim was the youngest son of a hardworking mother. Jim loved and played sports but also worked at a very young age to help his family make ends meet. He sought ways to educate himself and make it through college. He not only earned a Bachelor's Degree while at Illinois State, he also earned his MBA and successfully passed the CPA exam.

When he was diagnosed with diabetes in his 20’s, Jim decided he needed to take on this awful disease so he raised money and awareness through his work with JDRF. When his kidneys began to fail, he didn’t give up. Instead, he searched for a solution that ultimately resulted in a kidney and pancreas transplant making him free from insulin injections and blood sugar swings.

He fought for his family, friends, business and the things he believed in with great passion, energy and humility.

View some of Jim's key accomplishments.


Quotes About Jim

Jim was a quintessential Chicagoan, a South Side kid from humble roots who worked his way to the top but never left the city behind. He was beloved for what he gave back to the city that gave him so much--from his work with non-profit organizations, to his service on the board of the University of Chicago Medical Center, to his role in giving the Sun-Times a new lease on life. President Barack Obama

Jim was well known as both a business leader and a civic-minded Chicagoan who always gave back to the community. His service as board chairman of City Colleges, his work with non-profit organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and his investment in the Sun-Times made him a pillar of our city's civic life. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mr. Tyree is a model for living. It wasn’t what he said but the way he lived his life that was so inspirational. Rev. Scott Donahue, CEO of the Mercy Homes for Boys and Girls

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