Jerome Robert Vainisi, 80, general manager of the Super Bowl XX Champion Chicago Bears, died on Oct. 4, 2022. Born on Oct. 7, 1941 to Anthony and Marie Vainisi (nee Delisi), his parents were Italian immigrants who emphasized education, hard work and accountability. He is best known for his time with the Chicago Bears, where he served various roles, including general manager, beginning in 1983. During his four years, the Bears compiled a record of 47-17 and became the Super Bowl XX champions.
Subsequently, he was head of player personnel for the Detroit Lions, and spent five years as co-founder and head of football operations for the World League of American Football/NFL Europe.
Beginning in 1999 he became owner and chairman/CEO of Forest Park Bank in Forest Park. A graduate of Georgetown University and Chicago Kent College of Law, he was a member of the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame and the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. He enjoyed entertaining family and friends at the lake house in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for weekends, holidays and special celebrations.
Jerry Vainisi is survived by Doris (nee Lane), his wife of 33 years; their children, Mary (Tom) Rogers, Jerry (Tracey), Jack, Mark (Jen) and Melissa Love; 14 grandchildren, Tony, Dori (Matt) Boyce, Ben Rogers, Maria, Kate (Scott) Eggleston, Jack, Jerome, Joe, Grace, Nick, Will, Sam, Lane Love, and Michael Love; and his brother, Sam; many cousins, nieces and nephews; and many friends, including Kathy McKay, Jack and Joann Schultz, and Nick and Mary Guttilla.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother Jack and sister Pat; his grandson Sam; and his in-laws, Arthur Lane, Pearl Lane, John Nash, Jim Oakes and Jacqueline Vainisi.
Visitations will be held on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 3 to 8 p.m., at Woodlawn Funeral Home, 7750 W. Cermak Road, in Forest Park and Friday, Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. until Mass begins at 10:30 a.m. at Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 700 W. Adams St, Chicago. Interment is private.
In lieu of flowers, please treat someone you love to dinner. For more information, contact Woodlawn Funeral Home, 708-442-8500 or visit www.WoodlawnChicago.com.