DEERFIELD—John Jursich, formerly of Deerfield passed away on August 8, 2015 from complications of myasthenia gravis.
Jursich,“Right-Hand Man to Ray Kroc”, attorney and inventor, was responsible for
saving what would become the world’s largest fast food chain.
Born and raised in Chicago, and the youngest of five, Jursich moved with his family to a
farm in Woodstock, IL during his high school years. The only one to graduate from
college, he attended the University of Illinois, later becoming the youngest law school graduate from DePaul University.
He always said that the day he passed the bar was the happiest day of his life.He began his career as a civil and real estate attorney. In 1958, Harry Sonnenborn,then President of McDonalds Corporation, met him and asked for his help with overextended contracts and building projects. Jursich went to work renegotiating contracts and working with banks, unions and builders to avert what was soon to be a bankruptcy. Responsible for single-handedly saving McDonald’s from filing a $2 million bankruptcy in 1958, Ray Kroc referred to John as “The man who saved the company”.
Shortly after, Jursich was hired as Vice President of McDonalds Realty and developed
relationships nationwide with banks and franchisees. He also was responsible for finding
and developing real estate for the company.
In 1963, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to pursue commercial and residential real estate development interests, sometimes with Ray and William Bressler (of Bressler Ice Cream). Before leaving, Ray told John, “You can have anything you want—you were the son I
never had”. Instead of attaining franchises for himself, he was instrumental in acquiring
six franchises in the Cleveland area for his brother, Robert Jursich, Sr.
In 1968, his 8-year-old son John was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Being the ultimate problem solver, John and his wife Gloria became heavily involved with fundraising, to which Ray Kroc handed a check over to the charity in the amount of $150,000 and said, “This is for John”. Kroc’s donation remains the largest single donation to the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. During this time, Jursich worked with a partner to develop a machine that would help cystic fibrosis patients and
their families with the delivery of chest treatments.
His other inventions include the Saber Plow and Ups-Daisy step ladder. An avid wood
worker, Jursich kept at it creating small items for the home for his family.
In 1980, Jursich returned to his first passion: the law. He established his own civil
litigation practice and serviced an array of clients, including the disadvantaged and
Jursich is preceded in death by his wife, Gloria (2007, lymphoma) and son, John Mark (1984, Cystic Fibrosis), and is survived by daughters Jane (Bill) Marshall, Susan Paillassou and Steve Miller, and Amy Jo (Ted) Malone; three grandsons, Cameron (Elizabeth) Marshall, Matthew Marshall and Ryan (Angela) Marshall; and a brother, Robert , Sr.
Services are private.