Barrington's Richard Pepper was noted construction executive and philanthropist

  • Richard S. Pepper, 90, executive of The Pepper Companies, died peacefully Thursday, the company said.

    Richard S. Pepper, 90, executive of The Pepper Companies, died peacefully Thursday, the company said.

  • Richard S. Pepper, from left, Sister Catherine M. Ryan, Roxelyn Pepper and Richard Devine are shown in this 2017 photo after the Peppers were honored by Maryville's Center for Children with a Guardian Medallion Award.

    Richard S. Pepper, from left, Sister Catherine M. Ryan, Roxelyn Pepper and Richard Devine are shown in this 2017 photo after the Peppers were honored by Maryville's Center for Children with a Guardian Medallion Award. COURTESY OF Maryville's Center for Children

 
 
Updated 1/29/2021 6:20 PM

Richard S. Pepper, the Barrington construction executive known for his love for the industry and many civic contributions, died Thursday.

Pepper, 90, was executive of The Pepper Companies. He died peacefully surrounded by his family at the Pepper Family Hospice Center in Barrington, the company stated.

 

Family members were not available for comment Friday.

Pepper and his wife Roxelyn, known as Roxy, are a Barrington institution.

They were major financial backers of the Barrington Historical Society and helped launch the Pepper Family Tree House at Citizens Park, among many other things.

They were honored in 2017 for supporting Maryville's Center for Children. They were recognized in 2006 by the Illinois Humanities Council with a Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award. They both graduated from Northwestern University and were the first couple to be awarded the university's Medal of Honor in 2001.

The Pepper Companies owns Pepper Construction Group, headquartered in Chicago and with offices in Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. The company was formed in 1927 by Richard Pepper's father, Stanley Pepper.

The construction company has been owned by the family for three generations.

Richard Pepper took over in 1957 after the unexpected death of his father. One of Richard Pepper's sons, David, died in December 2019 while serving as chairman of Pepper Construction. Another son, Stan, is chairman and CEO of The Pepper Companies.

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Suburban landmarks built by the company include Deer Park Town Center and Nordstrom stores at Woodfield Mall and Old Orchard Shopping Center; corporate headquarters for Kraft in Northfield and Grainger in Lake Forest; hospital projects such as Advocate Condell's West Tower addition in Libertyville, and Central DuPage Hospital's bed tower addition in Winfield; the Woodfield Corporate Center in Schaumburg; IKEA Schaumburg; the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines; and Barrington's White House.

Richard Pepper held several leadership positions in the construction industry, including serving as president of the Associated General Contractors of America in 1983. He received the Jack Kinnaman Leadership Award from the American Institute of Constructors in 2015, according to the company's Facebook page.

"Richard has fostered a corporate culture at Pepper that promotes community and industry involvement," the post said.

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