Prominent business leader opened doors for entrepreneurs, capital access in underserved areas
The City of Chicago has lost Jacoby Dickens, the chairman of Seaway Bank and Trust Company and one of its foremost business and community leaders. Visitation will be Saturday, April 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., followed by funeral services from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Chicago State University’s Jones Convocation Center, 9501 S. King Drive.
Mr. Dickens was listed among Chicago Magazine’s “20 Most Influential People in Chicago” and had been inducted into the Chicago Business Hall of Fame.
“He was part of a ‘cadre’ of extraordinary philanthropic and successful business entrepreneurs and was a role model for all of us,” said John Rogers, President of Ariel Capital Investments. “He was a great business genius with a commitment to helping others.”
A longtime resident of Chicago, Mr. Dickens was elected to the Board of Seaway Bank in 1979 and served as Vice Chairman before becoming Chairman in 1983. A champion for the African-American and civic communities, Mr. Dickens served as chairman of the Committee to Elect Harold Washington; as a Commissioner of Economic Development for the City of Chicago; and as a member board of the Chicago Urban League, Chicago State University Foundation, and the School of Business at Florida A&M University. He also served as a trustee at the Museum of Science and Industry; at DePaul University, where a scholarship-and- loan program was named in his honor, and at Chicago State University, to which he donated more than $1 million. In 1995, the Physical Education and Athletics Building was named for him.
Mr. Dickens began his career at the city at the Chicago Board of Education and demonstrated an entrepreneurial flair that earned him the distinction as one of the nation’s most admired business thought leaders.
After moving to Chicago in 1946, he attended Wendell Phillips High School on the South Side and credited his father, Jacoby Dickens Sr., with cultivating his love for business and of community. The younger Dickens soon became a landlord, real-estate investor, and connoisseur of entertainment in such venues as the Savoy Ballroom and the Regal Theater. His deep involvement with the community shaped his work at Seaway, where he helped implement the opening of bank branches in otherwise underserved areas of the city, including his own South Side of Chicago.
Believing that Seaway shared responsibility for the financial health of the surrounding community, Mr. Dickens focused on growing new businesses through loans, outreach and community development programs. He also supported local churches and mentoring programs, sponsoring African American teenagers through high school and college.
“I learned a lot from Jacoby, I will miss him not only as a mentor and a counselor but as a close personal friend,” said James Compton, former President and CEO, Chicago Urban League.
Jacoby passed away on April 14th at his home on Fisher Island, Florida, after a brief diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and is survived by his loving wife of fifteen years, Veranda Dickens.
Condolences should be sent to the attention of the Executive Office, Seaway Bank and Trust Company, 645 E. 87th Street, Chicago, IL 60619. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the attention of Harvey Redfern, The Jacoby Dickens Foundation, 626 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 550, Chicago, Illinois 60601.