Prominent Twin Cities businessman Irwin Jacobs and his wife were found dead Wednesday April 10 2019 in their Lake Minnetonka home in an apparent murder-suicide.
Jacobs for much of his career was a nationally known investor who looked for unrecognized value in companies and sometimes made huge profits with short-term stock trades. Jacobs, whose prominence faded in recent years, made a fortune as a corporate raider who bought and liquidated failing companies at a profit. He said he had a fortune of more than $200 million at one point in the 1980s.
For more than 40 years, he has owned J.R. Watkins Co., the Winona-based maker of soaps and other household products that are sold around the country. He owns Jacobs Trading Co. in Hopkins, a retailer specializing in liquidation of merchandise.
He owned boat maker Genmar Holdings Co., which went through a lengthy bankruptcy restructuring earlier this decade. Besides owning a piece of the Vikings for a time, he also bought the Grain Belt beer company in the mid-1970s, along with its distinctive brewery in northeast Minneapolis. He later sold the beer brand to G. Heileman Brewing Company and the brewery to the city of Minneapolis.
The couple met when she was 19. Irwin Jacobs, a graduate of North High, courted then-Alexandra Light, a year younger and a graduate of Washburn High who grew up near Lake Harriet. They married in 1962.