2005-03-30 14:53:08 UTC
BYLINE: BY PRATIK JOSHI; Pioneer Press
A private burial will be held today at Lakewood Cemetery in
Minneapolis for John S. Pillsbury Jr., a corporate leader
and an active volunteer on boards of several community and
cultural organizations, who died of natural causes Monday.
Pillsbury was 92.
Pillsbury led Northwestern National Life Insurance Co. (now
INC-ReliaStar) from 1956 until his retirement in 1977. The
company hired him as chief executive officer while he worked
on the company's legal matters as an attorney with the
Minneapolis-based law firm of Faegre & Benson, said his son,
John S. Pillsbury III of Telluride, Colo.
Pillsbury also served as chair of two life insurance
industry organizations, the Institute of Life Insurance and
the Life Insurance Institute of America, now combined as the
American Council of Life Insurers.
Pillsbury was not an autocratic executive, but a good
listener, said his nephew Thomas Crosby, a partner, like his
uncle, in Faegre & Benson.
Born in Minneapolis in 1912, Pillsbury attended Blake School
and graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H. Later,
he got his undergraduate degree in history at Yale in 1935.
After working briefly for Pillsbury Co. in Minneapolis, he
enrolled at the University of Minnesota's law school and
practiced law after a stint in the U.S. Navy during World
Pillsbury felt a great sense of civic responsibility, his
son said. "That's why he ran for governor in 1966," he said.
Though he lost the Republican endorsement, he remained
active in community affairs.
A member of the famed milling family, he continued the
family tradition of helping others, Crosby said.
As chair of the board of the Minnesota Orchestra, he was
influential in the planning and construction of Orchestra
Hall in downtown Minneapolis.
He was a founding director of Twin Cities Public Television,
chair of the Community Chest Drive (the predecessor of the
United Way) and a trustee of the University of Minnesota
Foundation and the Dunwoody Institute (now Dunwoody College
A longtime Wayzata resident, Pillsbury was an avid sportsman
and a five-time winner of the Class A Scow championship of
the Inland Lake Yachting Association.
In addition to John S. Pillsbury III, he is survived by his
wife of 68 years, Katharine; sons Donaldson C. Pillsbury of
New York City and L. Harrison Pillsbury of Washington D.C.;
daughter Katharine P. Jose of Chestnut Hill, Mass.; 14
grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. April 19 at
Wayzata Community Church, 125 E Wayzata Blvd.
Pratik Joshi can be reached at ***@pioneerpress.com