John “Jack” Hyland Kragie Jr., a beloved husband, father, papou, and accomplished advertising industry executive, passed away on May 17, 2023, leaving behind a legacy of love, resilience, and unwavering dedication. Born in Chicago to John and Margaret “Marnie” Kragie, Jack’s remarkable journey was marked by numerous achievements and the profound impact he made on the lives of those around him.
Jack’s early years were filled with passion and determination. Graduating from Drake University, he excelled athletically, becoming a renowned champion miler. Following his studies, Jack served in Bangkok, as a Captain in the Air Force from 1965 to 1969, demonstrating his commitment to duty and country. His time in the Air Force cemented his passion for military history. He loved having extensive conversations about military equipment, key figures and would easily recount stories and dates of numerous battles and other milestones.
In 1977, Jack co-founded Kragie Newell Advertising with Liz Newell in Des Moines, a venture that would become the crowning achievement of his professional life. With his remarkable leadership, visionary ideas and knack for making every employee and client feel like they were the most important people in the room, the company thrived and left an indelible mark on the advertising industry. After the company’s sale to Omnicom in 2000, Jack returned to his Chicago roots, where he resided in River Forest, IL during the summer months and eventually in Scottsdale, AZ during the winter months. He always found peace by taking any opportunity to return to a frequent childhood destination, Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
While Jack’s professional accomplishments were notable, his greatest joy came from family. He is survived by his devoted spouse, Elizabeth “Liz” Newell, who stood by his side throughout life’s triumphs and challenges. Their love and mutual support formed the foundation of their enduring personal and professional partnership. Jack will forever be remembered as a loving and caring father to his children, Amy Freshwater (Jay), Christine Newell, Courtney Kragie, and John Kragie. May 21 would have been 46 years since the blending of their families.
In addition to his immediate family, Jack leaves behind a beautiful legacy in the form of his grandchildren: Adalyn “Addie”, Elizabeth “Lulu”, Hailey, Jackson, Parker, Rachel, Ryan, and Sarah. Jack’s love and wisdom will continue to guide them as they navigate life’s journey.
Jack also leaves behind cherished memories in the hearts of his siblings, Scott Kragie (Barbara) and Margaret “Pegi” Kragie, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. His warm smile, infectious laughter, and genuine compassion touched the lives of all who knew him.
A celebration of Jack’s extraordinary life will take place in Chicago at a later date, where family, friends, and colleagues will gather to honor his memory and share stories of his remarkable accomplishments and the indelible impact he made on their lives