Prominent Minnesota businessman, Irwin Jacobs, and his dementia-stricken wife Alexandra dead in tragic ‘murder-suicide’. The couple were both 77
The wealthy couple were reportedly found dead, lying in a bed a next to a handgun at their $22million Tanager Hill mansion on Orono, Minnesota on Wednesday morning
Irwin, 77, who once owned part of the Minnesota Vikings reportedly, shot dead his ailing, wheelchair-bound Alexandra, and then himself
Jacobs while distraught over the failing health of Alexandra, his wife of 57 years, had sounded upbeat last time he spoke to a friend, three days earlier
Irwin and Alexandra Jacobs couple are survived by five grown children, including a daughter with cerebral palsy
Irwin made his fortune in the 1970s and 80s buying and selling failing companies for profit, earning him the nickname ‘Irv the Liquidator’
He sold his minority share of Minnesota Vikings in 1991
Prominent Twin Cities businessman Irwin Jacobs and his wife were found dead Wednesday in their Lake Minnetonka home in an apparent murder-suicide, according to a close friend and business associate.
Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok said officers who responded to the Shoreline Drive home shortly after 8:30 a.m. found the bodies of the businessman and his ailing, wheelchair-bound wife dead in bed inside their sprawling mansion in what a friend of the couple described as a murder-suicide.
According to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, officers responded to Irwin and Alexandra Jacobs’s Tanager Hill estate at 1700 Shoreline Drive in Orono shortly after 8.30am and discovered the bodies of a man and a woman in a bedroom. The couple were reportedly found lying in a bed, next to a handgun.
Dennis Mathisen, a close friend of the family, confirmed to the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the deceased were the Jacobs.
According to Mathisen, Irwin fatally shot his wife before turning the gun on himself. He was 77 years old.
The friend said he learned of the deaths and Irwin Jacobs’ role in the murder-suicide from the man’s grown son, Mark.
Police have not officially identified the deceased, but said there is no risk to the public and that no suspect is being sought in their deaths.
Mathisen revealed to the paper that Alexandra Jacobs had been confined to a wheelchair for the past year and was showing signs of dementia, and that her husband was distraught over the state of her health.
When Mathisen last spoke to his friend three days before the tragedy, he said Irwin Jacobs sounded upbeat.
Jacobs built his considerable wealth by buying, breaking up and selling failing companies for profit, earning him the moniker ‘Irv the Liquidator’ during the 1970s and 80s.
Over the years, he served as CEO of several large corporations, including the now-bankrupt US boat-building giant Genmar Holdings.
Jacobs, whose prominence faded in recent years, made a fortune as a corporate raider who bought and liquidated failing companies at a profit. He said he had a fortune of more than $200 million at one point in the 1980s.
Jacobs for much of his career was a nationally known investor who looked for unrecognized value in companies and sometimes made huge profits with short-term stock trades. Alexandra Jacobs was an accomplished painter and a devoted mother and grandmother who avoided the limelight that her husband often relished.
In the 1980s, Jacobs owned a minority share of the Minnesota Vikings, which he sold in 1991.
At the time of his death, Jacobs’ portfolio included the household goods company JR Watkins Co, Jacobs Trading Co, and a host of other companies, among them multiple boat manufacturers.
His son Mark, a graduate of Brown University, has served as CEO of Watkins Co since 1998.
Irwin’s son Mark Jacobs, [photo], reportedly told the family friend of his parents’ murder-suicide
Alexandra and Irwin Jacobs, [right], with their children at the PACER Center’s annual benefit in 2005
He and Alexandra, who was an artist, had been married for 57 years and raised five children together.
While Alexandra shunned the spotlight, acquaintances described her as a talented artist and giving person who, along with her husband, was active in PACER Center and Courage Center, which serves people with disabilities. Their daughter Sheila has cerebral palsy and the Jacobs family were said to have been major donors to the Special Olympics.
In 2014, the family put their rambling hilltop estate on the market with a listing price of $22million, making it the second most expensive listing in the Twin Cities area at the time.
The 32-acre property features a 13,000-square-foot main house, a guesthouse, a pool house and other structures.
Speaking to the Star Tribune about his desire to downsize, Jacobs said of his six-bedroom, 10-bath abode that he had owned for more than 4 decades: ‘I really thought I’d die here, but I didn’t want to burden my wife if something happened to me.’
Jacobs ultimately took the house off the market.