We were pleased to honor the late Joseph X. Grassi ’43 with our highest honor for Morgan Park Academy alumni, the Richard L. Duchossois ’40 Integrity and Values Alumni Award, at our 149th graduation exercises on June 11, 2022.
The Duchossois Award is given annually in recognition of its namesake’s lifetime achievements, outstanding professional success, and service to the Academy, his community, and society.
Previous recipients are Mr. Duchossois, Dr. Frank Burd ’52, Denny Cresap ’52, Bill Hickey ’71, Al Hoffman Jr. ’52, D. Stephen Menzies ’73, Jim Mitchell ’61, Kenneth Mortenson ’63, Rajeev Rathi ’84, Spencer Stuart ’40, and Jerome A. Thrall ’44.
“Mr. Grassi was a tremendous supporter of the Academy and its students and faculty,” Head of School Mercedes Z. Sheppard said. “His contributions to both our school and his communities make him truly a fitting recipient of the Duchossois Award.”
Grassi embodied the Academy traditions of service, leadership, and lifelong learning and was a dedicated supporter of our students, teachers, and school mission for decades.
Drafted into the U.S. Army during his freshman year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Grassi earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Medal for his service in World War II, spending his 21st birthday in active combat in Okinawa, Japan.
Grassi earned a law degree and built a successful career in retail management and real estate, overseeing operations for small Chicagoland grocery store chains. An avid reader, boater, and editor of mystery novels, he enjoyed retirement alongside his wife of 51 years, Linda.
We were glad to welcome his niece, Lizeth Turk, to accept the award on his behalf.