The Daily Progress

John James Jachym


John James Jachym, 87, of Charlottesville, Va., noted philanthropist, retired business leader and a lifetime honorary member of the Professional Golfers Association of America, died Tuesday, May 10, 2005 in Charlottesville, Va.

Born May 9, 1918, in Youngstown, Ohio, he was the son of George and Amelia Jachym.

Also residing in the Village of Golf, Fla. And Chautauqua, N.Y., Jachym’s active life spanned the world of business, sports and politics. Throughout his life, particularly in his later years, Jachym was an avid philanthropist assisting many in their pursuit of business careers.

He and his wife, Audrey, created the Amelia G. Jachym Scholarship for Pine Valley High School in South Dayton, N.Y.

His personal philosophy was borrowed from an unknown Canadian ice hockey announcer: “Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident and money takes wings. The only thing that endures is character.”

After moving to South Dayton in 1930 and graduating from South Dayton High School in 1935, Jachym earned a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri in 1940. He worked as a reporter for the Jefferson City (Mo.) Observer and the Dunkirk (NY) Observer, and concurrently scouted for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball organization.

His love of journalism and sport created friendships with some of the great sportswriters of our time, including Grantland Rice, Shirley Povich and Red Smith and introduced to life-long relationships with former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, Major League Baseball’s greatest innovator, Branch Rickey, and pro football coaches Vince Lombardi and Paul Brown.

In 1941, Jachym joined the U.S. Marines Corps as a member of the First Marine Division during World War II. He earned a field rank of captain and fought in New Guinea, New Britain, and Guadalcanal where in1942 he led the first successful offensive against Japan, a major turning point in the Pacific theater. He was presented the Silver Star medal for his efforts.

Upon returning to Western New York after the conflict, he became president of Jamestown Safety Guard and Chautauqua Enterprises in Jamestown, N.Y., eventually becoming owner of the Jamestown Falcons professional baseball team of the PONY League. He sold the franchise to the Detroit Tiger and became assistant farm director for the Tigers organization.

In 1949, at age 30, Jachym purchased 40 percent of the Washington Senators baseball team before selling it back to the club in 1950.

At the suggestion of a friend, Jachym entered the business world, taking up investment banking in 1953 and became a pioneer in mergers and acquisitions. He became a “living legend” in the Midwest world of industry by directing the largest business transaction at that time in the history of Chicago. The deal became a case study at both the Harvard Business School and the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.

He was celebrated for being a man of his word. Throughout his business career, he was proud of the fact that he never required use of written documents. His business was always done with a handshake.

He was head of corporate finance for Blunt, Ellis, and Company of Chicago and later became vice president of A.G. Becker and Company and senior partner at John J. Jachym and Company. In 1974, he moved to San Diego to become chairman of the board and CEO for Kratos, Inc. an international high-technology and instrumentation company, until his retirement in 1980.
But the captain of industry wasn’t through. Jachym’s ability to grasp knowledge quickly impressed the Regan-Bush presidential campaign in 1980 as he was named the campaign’s chairman of business and industry. He later declined an appointment to the White House staff as assistant Secretary of Commerce, choosing to retire from the political field.

Jachym’s strong background in baseball opened many doors for him in the business world as he often crossed over between finance and sport. He was involved as an advisor or principal in the sale of the Washington Redskins, Washington Senators, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees, Milwaukee Braves, Chicago (football) Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Baltimore Colts, Montreal Canadians and the Chicago Bulls.

He became a golf enthusiast, at age 43, and used his business acumen to assist PGA of America for more than 37 years. Over that time he became PGA advisory committee chairman and committee member, and served as an independent director of the PGA from 1990 to 1992

Jachym was founder and trustee of the National PGA of Junior Golf and the former chairman of the board of the National Golf Foundation. During his association with the game, he served as an official American observer at many of the 18 Ryder Cup events he attended and played rounds with many of the sport’s greats including his favorite golfer, Arnold Palmer.

In appreciation for his service, the PGA of America bestowed its highest honor upon Jachym in 1994 as he was elected to an honorary lifetime membership, only the sixth person ever awarded the honor. Others include former President Gerald Ford, golfing legend Gary Player, entertainer Bob Hope, golf trick-shot artist Dennis Walters and former PGA counsel Lloyd Lambert.

A special adviser to the PGA at the time of his death, Jachym was an honorary member of three PGA sections: Southern California, Illinois and Western New York.

He served on numerous national corporation boards during his career as well. He maintained ties to Western New York business and spent summers at the Chautauqua Institution beginning in 1982.

Jachym also was a familiar face to many celebrities from the world of entertainment, his favorites being comedian Bob Hope and renowned band leader Les Brown.

He will always be remembered for never forgetting anyone who helped him in life.

He is survived by his wife, Audrey Gleichman Jachym, whom he married September 30, 1944; a son, James G. Jachym of Naples, FL; two daughters, Jacqueline Fitzpatrick of Rancho Santa Fe, CA, and Janet Calhoun of Dunwoody, GA. Also, four grandsons: Jeremy Jachym of Sebastopol, CA; Bradley Fitzpatrick of San Francisco; and Jason and Joshua Seabolt, both of Atlanta; and one granddaughter Aimee Fitzpatrick of New York City.

Internment services will be in Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to The Amelia G. Jachym Scholarship Fund, c/o Charles Hall, P.O. Box 3236, Jamestown, NY 14701 or Hospice of the Piedmont, 501 Park Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903 or the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad.

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.