Irwin Jacobs reportedly dies in murder-suicide

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Irwin Jacobs

Irwin Jacobs

Editor’s note: Irwin Jacobs was a larger-than-life personality in the marine industry. When the founder of Genmar Holdings died in a murder-suicide in April, our first story garnered 18,675 page views. A follow-up story got 10,799 page views.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported that Irwin Jacobs and his wife, Alexandra, died today in a murder suicide. The paper said that two people were found dead at Jacobs’ home outside Minneapolis.

Dennis Mathisen, a longtime business associate of Irwin Jacobs, told the Star Tribune Wednesday afternoon that Irwin killed his wife and himself. Mathisen described himself as a “very dear friend” of Irwin Jacobs. He said he learned of the deaths and that Irwin was responsible, after speaking with son Mark Jacobs and a secretary for Irwin Jacobs.

Local police did not describe the case as a murder-suicide but did say no suspects were being sought and there is no risk to the public's safety.

Mathisen told the paper that Alexandra Jacobs, who had been Irwin's wife for 57 years and mother to their five children, "had been in a wheelchair for the last year or so and had signs of dementia. Irwin was just distraught over her condition."

The Hennepin County Crime Lab was called to the scene, as was a hearse, while the ambulance service from North Memorial Health was told it was not needed. Police also informed dispatch that an attorney for Jacobs arrived at the home.

Jacobs, 77, owned a minority share of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1980s, before selling that share. He also bought the Grain Belt beer company in the mid-1970s, along with its distinctive brewery in northeast Minneapolis, and later sold the beer brand to G. Heileman Brewing Company and the brewery to the city of Minneapolis.

Jacobs is best known for owning Genmar Holdings Co., which went through a bankruptcy restructuring earlier this decade. Following Genmar, he purchased the Marquis, Carver, Seaswirl and Larson brands. 

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