Pritzker family business founder dies at 85

AP News
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Posted: Oct 28, 2011 6:14 PM
Pritzker family business founder dies at 85

Businessman Robert Pritzker, who led a global industrial conglomerate and whose family founded the Hyatt chain of hotels, has died. He was 85.

Pritzker died Thursday evening in a Chicago nursing facility after suffering from Parkinson's disease, his executive assistant Becky Spooner said Friday.

Pritzker founded and was chairman and president of the Marmon Group, an international conglomerate of manufacturing and service companies. His business acumen helped Marmon Group revenues grow into the billions of dollars and through hundreds of acquisitions over 50 years, company officials said. The company was sold to Berkshire Hathaway in 2008.

In 2002, at age 76, Pritzker acquired several caster, medical device and hardware companies to form Colson Associates.

Pritzker was the brother of Jay Pritzker, who was founder and chairman of the Hyatt Hotel chain and among the richest people in the United States when he died in 1999 in Chicago.

Pritzker was born in Chicago on June 30, 1926. He graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with an industrial engineering degree in 1946 and later became chairman of the school's board of trustees. The school now has a Pritzker Institute for Medical Engineering.

Throughout his career Pritzker taught management and engineering courses at IIT, the University of Chicago and Oxford University. He also was chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers and worked with the National Academy of Engineering.

Pritzker is survived by his wife, Mayari, five children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.