Tributes to Jack Roeser

For those wishing to provide condolences to Jack’s Family, please leave your statements in the comments below.  Please share a story as well about how you met Jack and another story about Jack.

UPDATE: Well over 2000 people attended the visitation on Monday night.

Here are more articles talking about Jack, along with a few comments:

US Senator Ted Cruz

“I’m so very sorry to hear that. He was a remarkable man, a real patriot. His early support for me meant a great deal. Please extend my condolences to his family and loved ones. He will very much be missed”

Breitbart: Remembering Jack Roeser

Joel Pollak ~ “When I ran for Congress in 2010, I had the opportunity to spend a day with Roeser at his company’s factory in Carpentersville, Illinois. Jack showed me around the entire Otto Engineering facility, and he knew everything about the manufacturing process for the smallest and most specialized components, many of which are used by our nation’s most sophisticated aviation platforms. Already in his late 80s, he showed no sign of slowing down.

The facility itself was symbolic of Roeser’s commitment to renewal. He had invested in transforming the Civil War-era buildings near the Fox River into facilities that housed high-tech laboratories and corporate meeting rooms. In the same way, Roeser saw the potential of the Tea Party movement to transform the moribund agenda of the Republican Party, and backed conservatives who were willing to challenge the status quo.

A brief anecdote: when Roeser, a well-known opponent of homosexuality, appeared on the host committee for one of my fundraisers with a well-known gay Republican, a campaign aide wondered how we might handle the crisis. But in the end, there was no crisis. Jack was willing to work with people who shared the same vision of limited government, regardless of other differences. He remains a model of leadership for a party in turmoil.”

Daily Herald: Conservative icon Roeser remembered for his generosity

Otto Roeser

“He loved, laughed, learned, danced, smiled, snorted, sang and drove like an absolute maniac.”
“Without flinching, he gave everything he had to every cause and every person he believed in.”

Otto Roeser also recalled that when asked why he wouldn’t tire of trusting people — despite getting burned at times — his father replied: “If you lose faith in the world that’s living around you, then you’re in a world that’s not worth living.”

Dave Roeser

“He also showed us love for this country — he showed us this country was worth fighting for,” his nephew Dave Roeser said.

“We need to pick up where Jack left off — that’s our great challenge.”

Tom Roeser

“He believed that no one could live the American dream if you thought of yourself as a victim or if you did not have a proper education — so he fought for that”

Daily Herald: Jack Roeser lauded as committed to conservatives and community

“Jack was a friend, a supporter, a fighter and a patriot,” the Chicago Republican Party said in a statement. “He dedicated his time and effort to making Illinois and the nation a better place. He will be missed.”
“He was always willing to stand up for what he believed in and impacted many lives in a positive way,” Rauner said.
“Otto Engineering, the great company that he built, is in my district,” McSweeney said. “Its role in creating a lot of jobs should be counted toward his legacy.”

McSweeney added that all of Illinois benefitted from Roeser’s activism.

“Politically, he was one of the great Republican leaders in the state,” McSweeney said. “If Jack Roeser hadn’t been involved, taxes would be even higher and Illinois would be in even worse shape.”

“He was a first-class entrepreneur that knew how to take something that wasn’t very good and make it very good,” Carpentersville Village President Ed Ritter said.

“There are too many things that he’s done to try to remember them all, but his impact is indelible on the village.”

Heartland Institute: The Heartland Institute’s Statement Upon the Death of Jack O. Roeser

“A gentle giant just fell. Every person living in Illinois owes him an enormous debt of gratitude. “The contributions made by Jack that touched the most lives were in the realm of politics and public policy. Jack was a conservative who put his money, time, and reputation behind his convictions. If you live outside Illinois and are reading this, you probably cannot imagine how rare, even precious, he was. The number of business leaders in Illinois with courage and conviction can be counted on one hand.

“Jack was everything you would expect a great man to be: stubborn, smart, strategic, principled, and honest. As a younger man he could be imperious, controlling, and quick to anger. He was entitled to all these things. Illinois needed it. Young kids like me needed to see it and learn from it. As he got older, he also got kinder, turning into a warm and talkative friend, a mentor, and a font of wise aphorisms and funny jokes.

“Illinois lost a giant today, a leader, and a conservative. Who will take his place?”


The Chicago Republican Party said:

We are deeply saddened to learn of Jack Roeser’s passing. Jack was a friend, a supporter, a fighter, and a patriot. He dedicated his time and effort to making Illinois and the nation a better place. He will be missed.

From Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider:

“We would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to Jack’s family, and our gratitude for his lifetime of principled leadership, innovation, and support for Republicans throughout our state.”

From Joe Wiegand, former Director of Family Taxpayer Network, now Teddy Roosevelt impersonator:

Saddened today by the news that Jack Roeser, founder of Otto Engineering, and President of the Family Taxpayers Network has slipped the surly bonds of life on earth. Jack has been my friend and mentor since I first met him on my post-Sewanee return to Illinois. Jack was a leader of the movement that worked to bring the Reagan Revolution to the Gipper’s home state of Illinois. It was an honor and a privilege to serve Jack and FTN as executive director circa 2000-2005. I saw first hand the kindness and generosity, as well as the integrity and righteous indignation which fueled his tireless efforts on behalf of Illinoisans, especially the families, the taxpayers, and the children stuck in failing schools. The world is a better place, and I’m a better man for the life and legacy of Jack Roeser. RIP

Nancy Thorner

I was shocked to hear of Jack Roeser’s death. I shouldn’t have been because of Jack’s age, but Roeser just seemed like an individual who would live on forever. He will in the minds and hearts of those who respected what Jack Roeser stood for and so ardently believed in.

Jack’s good deeds and concern for this nation displayed through the generosity of his giving, will make a difference now and will continue to make a difference for years to come. Jack’s life was a life well lived. May he be an example to others to take up the torch to keep freedom alive in this nation.

John Dyslin said…

Rest in peace, Mr. Roeser. You were a great patriot, conservative and Republican. We have lost a legend, Heaven has gained a treasure.

Chicago Tribune: Conservative Republican activist Jack Roeser dies

Chicago Sun-Times: Jack Roeser, GOP figure, major fundraiser, has died

McHenry County Blog: Jack Roeser, R.I.P.

Bruce Rauner’s comment:

“I was saddened to learn of Jack’s passing early this morning. Jack was a veteran and patriot, built a respected company and used his business success to give back to the community. He was always willing to stand up for what he believed in and impacted many lives in a positive way. He will be missed.”

David McSweeney’s comment:

“Jack Roeser was a great businessman, family man and conservative leader. He constantly fought for lower taxes and real reform. He will be missed!”

Congressman Randy Hultgren said the following:

Jack was an unsurpassed giant in the conservative movement. He was an expert at translating the principles of conservatism into everyday actions and set the bar high for all of us.

His entrepreneurial spirit and business success is a model for those in pursuit of the American Dream. His passion for education reform and ensuring that every child has an equal chance at succeeding was well known.

He fought hard for accountability in the school system to ensure that all students received the education they deserved.

He never wavered in the cause to ensure that the vision for limited government by our Founding Fathers was observed and respected.

Jack will be greatly missed.

Capitol Fax: Jack Roeser

The man made his mark on this state more than any single non-politician in memory. You may not have agreed with it, maybe even hated what he did, but I gotta tell you I always found him to be a real gentleman in person.

Jack and I had more than our share of go-arounds, but none of our conversations ever ended with anger. There was never any personal animosity between us. And I know he felt the same about many others.

* Jack was very proud of the wildly successful Otto Engineering business he built from scratch and the good things he was able to get done for Carpentersville and the surrounding areas. He deserved to be proud of those accomplishments. He did plenty of good.

Prairie State Report: In Memorial: Illinois’ Conservative Giant Jack Roeser

This is a great loss to conservatism in Illinois, but Jack was in his 90s and in delicate health, so it isn’t a surprise, sadly.

Mr. Roeser was very generous with the fortune he built from the ground up as owner of Otto Engineering, a high tech firm located in Carpentersville, Illinois.

Roser was a hard charging conservative and often made folks both left and right mad at him for his choices of causes and candidates, but he was also unapologetic and fearless. In this day and age when people are always mewling and apologizing for their actions, you have to admire a real adult like Roeser making his choices and sticking with them regardless of the “consequences.”

David From, AFP IL

A giant in the conservative movement not only here in Illinois but nationally, he epitomized free market and conservative ideals as a successful businessman and philanthropist.  It was a pleasure to present Jack with our first-ever ‘Lifetime Activist Award’ at our Restore Illinois Summit last fall recognizing him as an inspiring force, who spoke honestly, loudly and courageously about what he believed.

His legacy will live on for generations

JRoeser Award JW Roeser RIL13

llinois Tea Party: ‘Original Tea Partier’ Jack Roeser Passes Away

Jack’s Obituary

Jack Roeser, age 90 of Barrington, passed away on Friday. Jack was the youngest son of Irene and Otto Roeser. He was born in Chicago in 1923. He lived the “American Dream”.

As a young boy he designed free flight airplanes winning national championships. These experiences inspired him to become an engineer.

He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and served as a Combat Engineer in the Philippines and was among the first soldiers to enter Japan after their surrender. Returning from the war he received a Mechanical Engineering Degree from the University of Illinois.

Being an engineer’s engineer he successfully founded three companies, the most recent OTTO Engineering, which he founded in his basement and has grown it to 500 employees.
He has always been active in American causes espousing the principles of freedom of the individual and small, moral government. He was an advocate for education reform believing that our public school system was destroying core values and not providing the skills children need to be moral and educated members of our American society. In 1994 he ran for the Republican nomination for Governor of Illinois and continued to further his political ideals through his political action committees, El Sueno Ameircano, The Family Taxpayer’s Network and Champion News.
He was the most consistent adherent to the conservative principles of American self government. Asked once how he wanted to be remembered he said … “citizen, soldier and father.”

Jim Leahy: A Toast to Jack Roeser

Today we remember the life of a man without whom the conservative movement in Illinois would have withered away on the vine, Jack Roeser. I met Jack in the late 90’s just after his run for Governor and was lucky to work with and for Jack over the next decade and a half. Luminaries from both sides of the aisle entered Liberty Hall asking Jack to help or sponsor their campaign or projects. No matter who it was Jack listened and participated in their presentations. Sitting in the office you never knew who was coming for lunch, (I will never see an Olive Garden and not think of Jack) it could be a Presidential candidate of someone running for their local library board; it didn’t matter both were treated with the same respect and stories.

John Powers: Jack Roeser in Remembrance

McCain said a few boilerplate phrases and was as awkward up close as he was during the Presidential campaign. Jack politely interrupted Sen. McCain, to inform him that he already knew his campaign slogans, he wanted to put a plan into action to win this primary. McCain asked how he could help. Jack said “Fire Bob Kjellander”, the ethically challenged RNC Committeman from Illinois.

McCain was uncomfortable with this, and tried to exit, explaining that this was supposed to be a come together type of meeting. Jack said “Fine then”, pulled out his checkbook and wrote a check, “Here’s $100,000. We’re all on the same side. Now tell me you will fire that B*st*rd”.


Jack went on to describe how he started Otto Engineering. with a $5,000 investment, but went back into how his family became engineers to begin with, and I’ll paraphrase ‘My grandfather worked as a machinist in Germany and was pretty good at his job. He was told if he joined a guild and stayed with it for 7 years he could become a full machinist. He noticed that none of the machinists were Roman Catholics, so he asked around and was told he would need to join the Lutheran Church to get certified. Needless to say he got on the next boat and moved to the USA’

I think that was one of the reasons that Jack had such a profound appreciation of Religious and Economic Liberty. If anyone knew the stifling effect of nonsensical regulation on business and prosperity, it was Jack Roeser. But it was also Jack Roeser who knew how to overcome this adversity by putting the customer and the individual first, be it in his championing the School Choice movement in Illinois, or in teaching citizenship classes to new immigrants seeking a better life in the United States, to forming what amounted to the the last-stand of the Conservative Caucus in Illinois.

Kyle Maichle, Editor, Wisconsin Election Watch

There is no doubt that Illinois lost a very strong and influential conservative voice in Jack Roeser. Roeser will be remembered not for just his business success but for fighting for the values of limited government in the Land of Lincoln. Also, he will be remembered for his commitment to the alternative media industry and launching a quality source for Illinois politics with Champion News.

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About Lennie Jarratt

Small Business Owner, Education Watchdog, FOIA expert, Founder of For Our Children's Future


  1. Karenena says:

    I met Jack at a Glenn Beck event in 2011. He brought the house down! He really was about Liberty, Justice and Freedom for all! We lost a GIANT in our community. God Bless Jack and his family. Karen Tirio, Monarch Senior Care

  2. Lee Roski says:

    I met Jack in 1990 on the sailing vessel Jeannine, after a few years we became chums.

    My favorite Jack story:

    One year while commissioning Jeannine (the sailboat) we heard a strange noise: ZZzzzrrrrrrr – ker-plunk! “What was that?” The cap shroud had slipped out the transom and sank to the bottom of the river.

    Now this cap shroud is precision machined, 60 foot long piece of eighth inch stainless steel manufactured specifically for our boat. It is not the kind of thing you run out to the hardware store and pick up.

    OUR SEASON WAS DOOMED! We tied up and went home.

    The next morning at 5-am my phone rang, it was Jack.
    “Meet me at the boat in an hour.”

    Are you kidding, it’s 5-am?! It’s raining cats and dogs, no way!

    “JUST MEET ME!” he bellowed. – OK, I’ll be there.

    Jack showed up with three claw hammers lashed together attached to a long heaving line “We’re going fishing my friend.”

    Three casts and he hooked it! That S.O.B. hooked the damn thing.
    Slowly and carefully he drew it up to the point where I could grab it.
    Together we pulled it ashore.

    We promptly began to dance in the rain like two old bears that just found a honey pot!

    Jack was my best friend.

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