(Senate - June 11, 2015)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 93 (Thursday, June 11, 2015)]
[Page S4099]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, today I recognize the 90th birthday of one 
of the outstanding business leaders of our time--Chicago businessman, 
Lester Crown.
  Lester Crown was born on June 7, 1925, to Henry Crown, the son of 
Jewish immigrants from Lithuania, and his wife, Rebecca Kranz. Like 
many other Illinoisans, Lester came from a family of Lithuanian 
immigrants with humble beginnings who moved to America to pursue a 
better life for their children.
  Lester's father worked hard with his two brothers to build their 
family construction supplies company, the Material Service Corporation. 
As a young man, Lester worked with his father at the Material Service's 
quarry over the summers to lend a hand. Through the hard work and 
dedication of the entire Crown family, the Material Service Corporation 
became one of the most successful companies in America. Several years 
later, that family business merged with General Dynamics Corporation to 
become America's largest defense contractor.
  From the start, Lester saw his father's work and learned what it took 
to be a successful businessman. He used his experience to excel and 
quickly became the president of Marblehead Lime and Royal Crown (RC) 
Cola. After years of managing companies, Lester took over as chair of 
General Dynamics and as the head of the family investment firm.
  One of Lester's many talents has been his ability to recognize great 
potential. His eye for promising investments has led him to grace the 
Forbes 400 list every year since 1982. With a quick glance at his 
impressive list of investments we can easily see why--he is a major 
shareholder in Maytag, Hilton Hotels, Alltel, Aspen Skiing Company, New 
York's Rockefeller Center, the New York Yankees, and Illinois' very own 
Chicago Bulls.
  But Lester is not just a successful businessman, he is also a 
dedicated philanthropist, husband, and father. He has channeled his 
successes to provide generous contributions to a wide array of local 
and national projects. His charitable footprint can be seen in 
landmarks such as the famous Crown Fountain in Millennium Park, the 
Lyric Opera of Chicago, Stroger Hospital, and in universities across 
the Nation.
  Lester and his wife Renee have been happily married for more than 60 
years and have seven children. Renee serves as a founding member and 
former president of the Women's Board of Northwestern University and a 
life director of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. She also serves on the 
board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, the Field Museum, the 
Joffrey Ballet, and as an honorary chair of the Shoah Visual History 
  Lester and Renee are an inspiration for many in their family who have 
become successful investors and philanthropists. Their son Jim is 
continuing the legacy started by Lester's father nearly a century ago 
by now serving as the lead director of General Dynamics. Together, the 
Crown family works with roughly 600 groups a year and donates millions 
of dollars annually to support organizations that focus on education 
and community development.
  In addition to the energy Lester has poured into his family and 
business life, he has been a pillar in the Jewish-American community in 
his support of Israel. Few can match his dedicated commitment to the 
survival and success of the nation of Israel.
  While few share Lester's long list of business achievements, even 
fewer share his level of leadership and generosity. It is with great 
pride that I ask my colleagues to join me in celebrating the 90th 
birthday of Lester Crown and to congratulate him on his legendary 
career and his many contributions to the city of Chicago, the Nation, 
and the world. I offer my best wishes as he continues to provide 
visionary leadership through his business endeavors and family 
philanthropy for years to come.