James Tyree Biography
Claim to Fame: CEO, Mesirow Financial/JDRF Supporter
DOB: October 30, 1957
Date of Death: March 16th, 2011
Diabetes Type: 1
A visionary in finance, James Tyree rose to the top of the business world within 10 years of being in the industry. Raised in a large but poor family, Tyree grew up in the Chicago neighborhood of Beverly. After saving money by working a number of odd jobs in his youth, Tyree attended Illinois University and earned both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Business. His thorough education secured him a position as a Research Associate in 1980 at Mesirow Financial, the company he would stay with for the rest of his life.
By 1990, Mesirow had appointed Tyree as President. Two years later he became CEO, and by 1994, he was elected chairman of the entire company. Under Tyree's leadership, Mesirow achieved incredible success and now manages over 1,200 employees and $50 billion in assets. But Tyree's interest in business was far from limited to Mesirow's affairs; in 2009, he encouraged investors to save Sun Times Media, which was in danger of liquidation, and served on the company's board of directors.
Known for his generosity, Tyree devoted countless hours of his life to philanthropy. He has served on the board of directors and made contributions for organizations such as the Big Shoulders Fund, the University of Chicago Medical Center, the University of Illinois Foundation, the Ulich Children's Network, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Having struggled with type 1 diabetes for 25 years of his life, Tyree witnessed firsthand how detrimental diabetes can be in a lifetime. He underwent multiple eye surgeries, experienced heart complications, and was plagued with stomach cancer for the latter half of his life. However, Tyree cared immensely about the future of children with diabetes and directly contributed to JDRF by serving as its International Chairman from 2006-2008. He was also a lifetime member of JDRF's Illinois Chapter Board of Directors. Sadly, Tyree died unexpectedly in March of 2011, but his considerable charity toward the diabetes community will make a lasting difference in the effort to find a cure for diabetes.
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