The Passing of a Great Man: Alzheimer’s Association Founding President Dies at Age 101

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by Isaura Santos |

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alzheimer's association
Alzheimer's Association

Alzheimer’s Association Founder Jerome Stone (Source: Alzheimer’s Association)

Jerome H. Stone, a philanthropist, prominent businessman, and founding president of the Alzheimer’s Association, passed away January 1, 2015 in Chicago at the age of 101.

Harry Johns, the current CEO and president of the Alzheimer’s Association said in a press release: “We deeply mourn the loss of Jerry Stone. He was a visionary leader who shaped the Alzheimer’s Association and its mission through his character and commitment. His passion to change the course of Alzheimer’s disease was inspiring from the start and galvanized community caregivers, people with the disease, researchers and advocates that the Alzheimer’s Association continues to work on behalf of and with today.”

Throughout the years, Stone built a meaningful legacy. From helping to build the multi-billion dollar Stone Container Corporation, becoming co-founder of the Catholic-Jewish Dialogue Group, chairman of Roosevelt University’s Board of Trustees, playing a role in the creation of the Chicago’s main library, and raising significant money for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, he played crucial roles in several projects. As a symbol of all his involvement in the city’s projects, it erected an honorary street sign with his name in 2001.

His wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1970, which made him aware of the need for a leader in this field, so that caregivers, patients, prevention, and research initiatives for better treatments and a cure could be united. This determination led him to create the Alzheimer’s Association in 1979.

Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, chair of the Alzheimer’s Association National Board of Directors and founder of the Rita Hayworth Galas in memory and honor of her mother who also died of Alzheimer’s said in a press release: “Jerry’s passion for the cause was evident from our first conversation. He called me and said, ‘You don’t know me, but I know who you are and I know of your mother (Rita Hayworth), and we have something in common. He told me that his wife had Alzheimer’s disease and asked me to have lunch. Jerry was an inspiration, an amazing man, a true leader and friend. He was my hero.”

Thanks to Jerome H. Stone and his dedication, the Alzheimer’s Association is now the most influential organization fighting against Alzheimer’s disease. Today, the Association is committed to intensively advancing care, patient support, research, educational programs, and finding better ways to improve the lives of those suffering from this type of dementia.