Franz Pintz, owner of Franz Jewelers, remembered as 'remarkable man'

A Northbrook community staple for 56 years, Franz Pintz of Franz Jewelers died Jan. 12 of pneumonia. He was 95.

Two days before going into the hospital, Pintz still stopped in at Franz Jewelers, said his daughter, Doris Pintz of Lake Zurich.

"He really was a remarkable man," she said.

Visitation and a funeral Mass was held Jan. 18 at St. Norbert Church. Interment will be held privately at a later date.

A watchmaker by trade, Pintz opened Franz Jewelers in 1966. It was a time when "Northbrook was a tiny town with no jewelry store and three police officers," Doris Pintz said.

In the decades since, Franz and his company became an institution.

"He can't go into Sunset Foods or the church without people knowing who he is. He's been a staple in the village since 1966," Doris said. She and her brother, Frank, of Northbrook, both work at Franz Jewelers.

A junior, Pintz was born Sept. 30, 1927, to Franz and Marianna Pintz, and grew up in a German community in the former Kernei, Yugoslavia, now Klajicevo, Serbia.

With his father and brother, Hans, engaged as soldiers in World War II, and an advancing Russian army bearing down on Kernei, 17-year-old Pintz fled with his mother and sister, Regina, to Regensburg in Bavaria, Germany.

Noting that the trip to Germany included a stay in a refugee camp, Doris Pintz said adventures such as this led the family to claim Pintz led the equivalent of nine lives.

In Regensburg, however, Pintz met his first wife, Barbara, and began his career as an apprentice watchmaker while playing the accordion at night to earn money. That would serve the young couple well after they moved overseas in 1956 to a German neighborhood in Chicago - with $100 in his pocket, according to Pintz's obituary by N.H. Scott & Hanekamp Funeral Home.

He worked days as a watchmaker, and nights playing accordion with a band of German musicians, Doris Pintz said.

"He made more playing on a Saturday night than he did working on the bench all week," Doris Pintz said.

After a decade repairing watches in another shop, Pintz opened Franz Jewelers in 1966. After a couple years in Des Plaines, the Pintzes relocated to Northbrook in 1968 where Frank, Doris and sister, Eileen, all attended Glenbrook North High School. Barbara and Franz had a "great 20 years together in Northbrook," Doris said.

In 1979, Pintz purchased the property next door and moved Franz Jewelers to its present location.

Doris said customers held Franz Jewelers with the same regard they did their doctors.

"That was so important to him, that he was honest and trustworthy - and he was," she said. "One of his favorite expressions was, 'Nobody ever got rich working 40 hours a week.'"

A great storyteller and historian who contributed to Northbrook community events and sponsored local youth sports teams, Pintz was devoted to the Rotary Club of Northbrook and earned the Paul Harris Fellow award.

He was so committed to the humanitarian organization, founded in Chicago in 1905, that on trips out of state Pintz would attend meetings of the local Rotary chapter.

"No ifs, ands, or buts," Doris Pintz confirmed.

Pintz later met his second wife, Judy, and the couple moved to Lake Bluff where they spent time with their grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They had been married 33 years when Pintz died.

"Two peas in a pod," Doris Pintz said. "They had a wonderful life together. She's going to miss him, but things will be OK."

The family asked because Pintz contributed to a variety of community organizations, people may make memorial contributions in his honor to their favorite charity.

"His glass was always half-full," Doris Pintz said.

Franz Pintz
Franz Pintz serenades his grandchildren on accordion during his 90th birthday celebration, dubbed "Franztober Fest." Courtesy of Doris Pintz
Franz Pintz, seated in his Lake Bluff home, celebrates his 91st birthday surrounded by, from left, son Frank, daughter Eileen Pesce, wife Judy, and daughter Doris. Courtesy of Chris Pesce
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.