Louis J. Jenn founded Jenn-Air Corp., designed indoor grills, grill-ranges
Services for Indianapolis industrialist Louis J. Jenn, best known as the founder of the grill-range design and manufacturing giant Jenn-Air Corp., will be at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Plus X Catholic Church, of which he was a member.
Calling will be from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday in Leppert & Hurt Mortuary.
At the time of his death Thursday, Mr. Jenn, 77, Indianapolis, was chairman of the board and owner of Atrium Structures Inc., a Northside developer of patented housing concepts.
Mr. Jenn used his insight as an inventor to build a formidable career in business.
He formerly was chairman of the board and found of Jenn Industries Inc., an industry leader in the design and manufacture of ventilating equipment and grill ranges. The company produces commercial fans and specialized ventilating equipment for restaurants, schools and other buildings.
Holding a restaurant ventilation system patent, he founded Jenn-Air Corp, in 1961, manufacturing and selling barbecue grills and grill-ranges. He later led the appliance industry with his invention of an indoor grill for residential use in 1970, as well as the glass-ceramic cooktop modules.
His career in Indianapolis began in 1946, after he moved from Cleveland and helped develop the Kitchenair product line. He soon began developing his own kitchen ventilator for commercial use. After he launched the Jenn-Air Corp., the company developed various successful products before it was sold in 1978.
In 1965, Mr. Jenn was given the Best Design of a Consumer Product Award by the American Iron and Steel Institute.
Under his son, Gerald R. Jenn, the president of Jenn Industries, the firms gained widespread recognition as the nation’s top-producing range manufacturer.
Mr. Jenn also had owned the Loft Inn and Chateau Normandy restaurants.
As an active community leader, he was chairman of the Jenn Foundation, a private charity. He had served on the boards of directors of Indiana National Corp., St. Vincent Hospital, Indiana Vocational Technical College Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Indiana and Starlight Musicals.
He was named in Who’s Who in America and held honorary degrees from Marion College (1973) and Butler University (1980). He won the Horatio Alger Award from Indianapolis Boys Club Association in 1974.
Through the Jenn Foundation, Mr. Jenn provided a baby elephant for the Indianapolis Zoo, constructed the Jenn Surgery Pavillion at St. Vincent Hospital, and the facility and graduate student housing at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis.
He provided funds for a new Monastery at St. Meinrad (Ind.) Archabbey. He also made possible the construction of the Jenn Discovery Theatre at The Children’s Museum.
Mr. Jenn also worked with Junior Achievement and received the group’s highest honor, the Laureate Award.
He was the widower of Martha F. Yriola Jenn.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Jenn Foundation, 16800 Spring Mill Road, Westfield, Ind. 46074
Other survivors: Wife, Catherine Simon McDonough Jenn; daughters, Valerie A. Feltman, Cheryl L. Pollard and Beverly S. Auda; Sisters, Sister Yvonne Jenn, Helen Saxton and Catherine Schnoebelen; brother, Harold Jenn; 10 grandchildren.
Martha Francis Yriola Jenn
1919–1983 (m. 1939)
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