City Council on late S-T leader Jim Tyree: `We shall not see his like again.’
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org January 18, 2012 4:52PM
Jack Higgins illustration of James Tyree
Updated: February 21, 2012 8:29AM
Jim Tyree, the tireless business and civic leader who put together a group that helped save the Chicago Sun-Times, was hailed by the City Council Wednesday as a “Chicago icon” — and remembered with an honorary street designation.
A portion of West Carrol Avenue near the 353 N. Clark headquarters of Mesirow Financial, where Tyree served as CEO, will be renamed, “Honorary James Tyree Way” to recognize Tyree’s prolific contribution to the city.
“He was a great storyteller with a great sense of humor — just like one of the guys. Except for the fact that his was a personality that truly filled the room,” said downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), who championed the street-naming ordinance.
“Jim was special in that, he rose quickly through the ranks of Chicago’s most influential civic leaders and business executives, he never forgot his humble South Side roots or his old neighborhood buddies. Despite his incredible success in life, Jim was an approachable man of humility and incredible generosity.”
Reilly noted that Tyree was diagnosed with diabetes in his late 20s and helped raise tens of millions of dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He also donated $500,000 a year to a broad spectrum of worthy causes, the alderman said.
“Jim Tyree made incredible civic contributions to Chicago, serving as chairman of the City Colleges and on boards of important civic committees. Jim did all of this because he truly loved Chicago,” the alderman said.
Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee, said Tyree was a “Chicago success wonder” much like Walt Disney.
“He truly saw the larger picture of Chicago’s commercial vitality, and he placed his hand and his heart at the center of it all. ... He will remain, at least for me, a historic Chicago icon,” Burke said.
“Mesirow will continue as a monument to his reputation and widely-admired financial acumen. But across the face of Chicago, his true memorials are the people whose lives he changed and the families whose success he helped to ensure. ... He was a rare leader of quiet dignity and extraordinary purpose. As the old Irish would say, `We shall not see his like again.’ “
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it’s fitting that Tyree was recognized on the same day that Maggie Daley was honored.
“Two people who, in totally different ways, made the city we call home the greatest city in America,” the mayor said.
Tyree died March 16 after battling stomach cancer for months. He was 53.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office has ruled the death an accident after determining that Tyree died from an air embolism that followed removal of a dialysis catheter at the University of Chicago Medical Center.