ORONO — Irwin Jacobs and his wife Alexandra Jacobs died of multiple gunshot wounds in their Lake Minnetonka home, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. They were both 77.
While each had multiple gunshot wounds, Irwin's death was a suicide and Alexandra's death was found to be a homicide, the medical examiner said in an April 12 news release.
At a news conference on April 10, Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok said police received a call from someone who routinely visits the home at 1700 Shoreline Drive in Orono. The caller said they found the bodies in a bed and there was a handgun on the bed.
Irwin and Alexandra were married for 57 years and had five children. In a statement, the children said: "Our family is shocked and devastated by the death of our parents, Irwin and Alexandra Jacobs. We are heartbroken by this loss."
The couple’s obituary, sent via email to Lakeshore Weekly News on April 12, said Irwin and Alexandra “were devoted parents and grandparents who prioritized and valued their family above all else.”
“... Their love for one another was inspiring. They enjoyed being near the lake and in nature,” the obituary says. “Their favorite times were sitting around a table with their loved ones. They adored their eight grandchildren and took great pleasure in watching them grow.”
Irwin Jacobs, known by some as “Irv the Liquidator,” made a name for himself by buying companies and liquidating them for profit, including several ventures with longtime business partner and friend, Carl Pohlad, the obituary says. One of their ventures was buying Grain Belt Brewing in 1975.
He worked to acquire several brands, including W.T. Grant, Arctic Enterprises, Disney Productions and Kaiser Steel, the obituary says.
In addition to being “Irv the Liquidator,” Irwin Jacobs was also a minority owner of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1980s; the CEO of now-bankrupt Genmar Holdings, which was at one time the world’s largest boat builder; he was the founder of Cable Value Network, which later became QVC; and was heavily involved in tournament fishing — he was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2010, his obituary says.
Alexandra Jacobs “dedicated her life to raising her five children including a daughter with special needs. She supported her husband and maintained her beautiful home,” the obituary says. She also loved to entertain and will be “remembered for her warmth, beauty, smile … and sense of humor” and she “loved to laugh above all things.”
Her passion was painting, her obituary says. She painted in oil and watercolor, with her inspiration coming from her travels and everyday life.
“She was a very accomplished painter but approached it out of her love, not to impress or receive recognition,” the obituary said.
ARTS AND SPECIAL OLYMPICS
Alexandra Jacobs was a student and supporter of the Minnetonka Center for the Arts in Wayzata.
"We are struggling to get our heads around this terrible news. Alex was a longtime student here and great friend," Roxanne Heaton, executive director of the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, told Lakeshore Weekly News on Thursday, April 11. "While we haven’t seen as much of her lately due to her health, she will be sorely missed, most especially by her classmates."
"The Jacobs were generous supporters and played a key role in the creation of our current facility. We named the sculpture courtyard in front of our building in honor of Alex and celebrated their contribution at our building dedication," Heaton added.
The Jacobs family was also “very supportive of causes close to their hearts,” the obituary said, including PACER, Courage Center and Special Olympics.
Special Olympics Minnesota released a statement to Lakeshore Weekly News on Thursday.
“Our organization is deeply saddened by the tragic news of Irwin & Alexandra Jacobs and our hearts and prayers go out to the Jacobs' family and friends. Irwin Jacobs was a historic figure in the Special Olympics movement as he served as the chairman of the Special Olympics World Summer Games when it was hosted in Minnesota in 1991. Jacobs rallied the support of business leaders in the Twin Cities to make this event a huge success and the largest sporting event in the world in 1991. This event turned the world spotlight onto the Special Olympics movement and created a new trajectory for the quality of our competitions,” the statement said.
A celebration of life for Irwin and Alexandra Jacobs will be led from 2-5 p.m. on Monday, April 15, at the Lafayette Club in Minnetonka Beach. The obituary says friends and family are welcome to attend.
The obituary asks that instead of flowers, memorials should be sent to the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation, PACER Center, Minnetonka Center for the Arts and Special Olympics.