We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Ryan-Parke Funeral Home
John W. “Jack” Brown, 91, passed away Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in Park Ridge, Ill.
Jack was born on Feb. 3, 1931, in Minneapolis, the second of three children to Wilbur L. and Goldie Mae Brown. His family moved to Chicago when he was a toddler. Jack attended Northwestern Military Academy in Lake Geneva, Wis., through high school and then enlisted in the United States Army where he was promoted to Officers Candidate Training on his way to achieving the rank of Captain. Jack met Carol Jean Cousins while he was stationed at Fort Riley, Kan., and he married Carol in Norton, Kan., on Nov. 7, 1954. Shortly after, they moved to the Chicago area, finally settling in Northwest Suburban Park Ridge, where he has lived since.
He, along with his father and Fred Winkler founded Mohawk Mfg. & Supply Co. in April 1958. At first, Jack moonlighted at Mohawk, working in the purchasing department of Greyhound by day and then spending another six hours at Mohawk into the night. He eventually came to Mohawk full-time, serving as Mohawk’s traveling sales representative for all properties west of the Mississippi River for many years. He became company President in April 1967 and oversaw the company’s growth from a small storefront company on Elston Avenue on the Northwest Side of Chicago to North America’s largest independent supplier and manufacturer of aftermarket motorcoach and transit bus parts. Jack oversaw the company’s moves from Mundelein to Chicago to Morton Grove to Niles, where it has been based since 1980.
In all, Mr. Brown worked in the bus industry for nearly 70 years, entering the business after his honorable discharge from the Army. Jack worked at Greyhound Motors and Supply and Lift Parts Manufacturing prior to co-founding Mohawk. He traveled many miles across the United States, building Mohawk to success. He was respected by many for his honesty and integrity in business and life.
Jack was a devoted husband to Carol, his wife of 49 years, with whom he is reunited in heaven. He was a proud father to his son, Robert (Mohawk’s Vice President), and his four daughters: Cheryl, Janice, Susan, and Marci. He was especially proud of his 16 grandchildren and his five great-grandchildren (with a sixth on the way).
Jack loved his people. In addition to his immediate family, he was loved and respected by his nephews, nieces, and cousins. He forged a bond with his younger brother, Tom (Mohawk’s Executive Vice President until his death in January 2000), thanks to 35 years of building a successful business together. He was fiercely protective of his older sister, Donna, who courageously battled cerebral palsy until she died in 1978. Additionally, he treasured countless friendships with schoolmates, fellow soldiers, co-workers, business partners, vendors, neighbors, golfing partners, fellow congregants, and others he just met along the way. He cared deeply about his employees, treating them like his own family. He loved meeting Mohawk’s customers, and he maintained friendships with customers across the country throughout his career. He enjoyed attending trade shows which he would travel to until 2017.
Jack was involved in sports through his years at Northwestern Military Academy including hockey and baseball. These loves continued as he coached his son in hockey and enjoyed many years of golf at the Park Ridge Country Club with family and friends. He was a devoted fan of the University of Illinois sports teams and Maine South’s sports teams, where his children participated in varsity sports. Jack has attended the First United Methodist Church of Park Ridge since 1954. His generous heart was recognized by many.
Jack is survived by Robert (Elizabeth) Brown, Cheryl Raguse. Janice (Timothy) Richardson, Susan (Michael) Darby, Marci (David) Morse, 16 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, two nieces, three nephews and his sister-in-law, Frances Brown. He was preceded in death by his wife, Carol Jean Brown, sister, Donna Mae Brown, brother, Thomas Roy Brown and brother and sister-in-law, James and Donna Smith.
Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 31 at Ryan-Parke Funeral Home, 120 South Northwest Hwy., Park Ridge, Ill. The funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m., Monday, Aug. 1 at the First United Methodist Church of Park Ridge, 418 W. Touhy Ave., Park Ridge, Ill., followed by a private burial for family only.
“The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams, and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family.” Reed Markham
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