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John P. "Jack" Pearl 1926-2018

John Pearl
John Pearl

John (Jack) Powers Pearl, 91, passed away peacefully at his home in Peoria, Illinois surrounded by his loving family on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 9:40 p.m. 

He was born on August 25, 1926 in Philadelphia, PA. He moved with his family to Riverside, IL and attended Riverside Brookfield High School, which he graduated from in 1944. He then enlisted in the United States NAVY serving in Guam and honorably discharging in 1946. He then attended Bradley University with help from the GI Bill. He married Colleen Cassidy on July 5, 1952, his Chi Omega sweetheart, who he met while attending Bradley University. He founded Pearl Companies in 1954 and acted as Chairman for the Peoria Heights-based insurance company for over 65 years. Jack began selling insurance door-to-door in rural communities throughout the greater Peoria area and often joked about his humble beginnings. Known for his business acumen, he developed an innovative partnership with the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) and CNA Insurance Company in 1957. This launched Pearl Companies as the leading provider of professional liability insurance in the state, a moniker the company retains today.

The company diversified in 1975, purchasing the local Honda Motor Cycle dealership in Peoria, another spot-on business decision by Jack, which led to the organization of Pearl Automotive, including ownership of Lexus of Peoria, Peoria Toyota, and Autohaus of Peoria. Under his continued leadership, the company has grown to include Pearl Insurance Solutions, Pearl Technology, and Pearl Insurance New York, and employs over 800 individuals. 

Jack was active in the insurance profession, serving as a charter member and past president of the American Institute of Professional Association Group Insurance Administrators (AIPAGIA) and a charter member of the Professional Insurance Marketing Association (PIMA). He was recognized for his outstanding achievements in business over the years, including the prestigious Master of Mass Marketing award presented by the Mass Marketing Insurance Institute (MI2), the Sigma Chi Significant Sig award, and the second-ever recipient of PIMA's Legend award, recognizing his leadership and longevity in the industry. Jack was an active contributor and volunteer for the Children's Miracle Network and Children's Hospital of Illinois, United Way, Easter Seals, Salvation Army, and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria. He set an example and developed a culture of giving within Pearl Companies that continues today.

Even though Jack was not a native Peorian, he considered Peoria his true home and demonstrated this through his investment in the community through his businesses and philanthropic support of local causes.

Posted on February 2, 2018 by Sara Anderson