Remembering Ann Lurie: From Nurse to Renowned Philanthropist

Remembering Ann Lurie: From Nurse to Renowned Philanthropist
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Ann Lurie, a former pediatric nurse turned prominent Chicago philanthropist, died Monday at her home. She was 79. Northwestern University, where Lurie was a trustee and major donor, announced her death without giving a cause.

Raised in Miami by a single mother, Lurie was an only child and protested the Vietnam War during her college years. She initially planned to join the Peace Corps, but instead married Robert H. Lurie. Robert Lurie built a large real estate and investment business with Sam Zell, which included holdings such as The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Cubs. He also invested in sports teams such as the Chicago Bulls and the White Sox.

Robert Lurie died of colon cancer in 1990, leaving behind an estate valued at $425 million. Ann Lurie, who eventually donated $277 million by 2007, continued their philanthropic efforts. In recognition of the care her husband received at Northwestern University, she supported the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.

As chairman of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Foundation and founder of Lurie Investments, she has funded numerous projects. At Northwestern University, she established professorships and contributed to the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center. Her $100 million gift helped build the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, which opened in 2012.

Lurie’s philanthropy has extended beyond Chicago. He has supported the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Gilda’s Club Chicago, and his alma mater, the University of Michigan. In 2004, Chicago named a street in his honor. Internationally, he founded the Africa Infectious Disease Village Clinics in Kenya, which he supported for 12 years.

Ann Lurie was born on April 20, 1945. After her parents divorced when she was four, she was raised by her mother, grandmother, and aunt. She studied nursing at the University of Florida, married an aspiring lawyer, and graduated in 1966. They moved to Fort Lauderdale, where she worked as a nurse, but the couple divorced in 1971.

Drawn to Chicago’s vibrant culture, Lurie moved there and worked as a pediatric intensive care nurse. She met Robert Lurie in the laundry room elevator of their apartment building and was initially drawn to his unconventional appearance. Despite misgivings about his wealth, they shared similar backgrounds and values. They had six children together before Robert Lurie was diagnosed with cancer in 1988.

Ann Lurie married Mark Muheim, an editor and cinematographer, in 2014. She is survived by him, her six children, 16 grandchildren, and her husband’s two children.

In a 2004 interview, Lurie stressed the importance of keeping his children grounded, despite their wealth. They limited household help, and Robert Lurie even enjoyed doing yard work.

Ann Lurie’s legacy as a philanthropist is characterized by her broad contributions to health care, education, and international development, reflecting her deep passion for helping those in need.

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