Our Statement on the Passing of Jim Crown

Barack Obama
2 min readJun 26, 2023

We are heartbroken to lose our dear friend Jim Crown.

Jim was a pillar of Chicago, a prominent voice in the Jewish community, and a true civic leader who loved our city. Even in recent weeks, he was busy rallying his fellow business leaders around an ambitious new jobs program to change the odds for thousands of young folks around the city and keep them safer. He cared deeply about Chicago and making it a place where everyone could thrive — no matter who they are or what part of town they call home.

His generosity of spirit, his eagerness to help — that’s something we got to know up close. When Barack was still an unlikely candidate running for the U.S. Senate, Jim became one of his fiercest advocates and most perceptive advisors. He believed in our family, and worked hard to convince others across Chicago that they could, too.

Over the years, Jim and his wife Paula became some of our closest friends, and we have enjoyed some lovely times with the entire Crown family. He even introduced our girls to the joys of Aspen winter. Just a couple weeks ago, we spent an evening with Jim and Paula and experienced Jim’s warmth and kindness for what we didn’t know would be the last time. He was so much more than the business or civic leader he will be remembered as — he was a dynamic and deeply devoted son, husband, father, brother, and friend. We are just so lucky to have known him.

So today we are mourning someone who meant so much to our entire family. Our hearts go out to Paula; his parents Lester and Renée; their kids Torie, Hayley, W. Andrew, and Summer; and their grandkids during this incredibly difficult time.