James L. Czech

James L. Czech, 72, a resident of Lake Forest, Ill., since 1988 and Scottsdale, Ariz., died Nov. 7, 2012, in Scottsdale.


A native Chicagoan and the first in his family to attend college, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting in 1961 from DePaul University, Chicago, and later received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater on June 12, 2011, during the DePaul University Commencement.


While at DePaul, Czech met his wife-to-be, Diane, with whom he shared credit for much of his personal and professional success. The couple married in 1962 and had five children, one of whom died in infancy, and five grandchildren, one of whom passed away at age 11 of a brain tumor. Prompted by his grandson Mikey's death, Czech and his family established The Mikey Czech Foundation, dedicated to promoting pediatric brain tumor research.


Czech was a lifelong supporter of DePaul and a member of the university's board of trustees, where he served on a number of committees. He played a key role in the university's ongoing Many Dreams, One Mission Campaign, which was the largest fundraising project in the school's 113-year history.


Since 2002, Czech has been president of The James L. Czech Co. LLC, a shopping center investment and advisory firm. Before starting his company, he enjoyed a long and successful career in the commercial real estate industry while also serving on several corporate and civic boards. He was a certified public accountant and a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.


In 1997, Czech and his family established the James L. Czech Scholarship at DePaul to assist first generation college students. In 2006, he doubled the endowment to help more students. In addition, Diane and Jim also recently endowed a full tuition, room and board scholarship so that each recipient can focus on the Vincentian mission and do volunteer work while attending college and throughout life.



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