Today, we have a very special edition of People of Pearl. We are focusing on the one man who started it all—our founder, Jack Pearl. Without his big dreams and determination, the People of Pearl wouldn’t even exist. Today would have been his 94th birthday. Though he is no longer with us, his legacy absolutely lives on in his family and the company he created.
This ambitious man was far more than a CEO and businessman… he was a husband to his college Chi Omega sweetheart, a father to six children, a grandfather and great grandfather, a philanthropic role model in the community, a war veteran, a jokester, and so much more.
There’s no doubt that Jack lived his life in the best way possible, but he was especially active in the insurance profession. He founded Pearl Insurance in 1954. In those early days, the company only consisted of Jack and one part-time office assistant. They worked out of a small room in a First National Bank building in Peoria. But over time, thanks to some good old-fashioned grit and ingenuity, Jack transformed the company from its humble beginnings into what Pearl is today: the largest business in Peoria Heights with offices throughout the United States.
For Jack, insurance was far more than a means to an end for his family. He saw it as an incredible opportunity to help others and give them security in protecting what’s most important in their lives. Jack’s genuine heart for helping others is what made Pearl Insurance so successful. Over time, Pearl Insurance has become Pearl Companies, a collection of firms and businesses employing over 800 individuals. Today, Jack’s son, Gary, and his grandson, Jake, carry on the legacy of the company that bears their name. We are proud to have three generations of Pearls who have been dedicated to keeping Jack’s memory alive through the family business he created over 65 years ago.
Jack’s love for people never stopped at the doors of his company. He had a strong calling to help the community. Jack consistently donated to local charities, including the Catholic Diocese, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, United Way, Easter Seals, Salvation Army, and one of Jack’s personal favorites, the OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois. He set an example and developed a culture of giving within Pearl that continues today.
We could write a book on Jack and all his accomplishments, but here are just a few more highlights:
- Served as a charter member and past president of the American Institute of Professional Association Group Insurance Administrators (AIPAGIA)
- Served as a charter member of the Professional Insurance Marketing Association (PIMA)
- Received the prestigious Master of Mass Marketing award presented by the Mass Marketing Insurance Institute (MI2)
- Received the Sigma Chi Significant Sig award
- Became the second-ever recipient of PIMA’s Legend award, recognizing his leadership and longevity in the industry
Though we’re sad Jack isn’t here to celebrate this birthday, we’re honoring him in the best way we know how: continuing his legacy of protecting what’s truly important for thousands of families.