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John Carroll./photo courtesy Terry Dunne 6

John Carroll, a force at Modern Luxury, has died

August 25th, 2016

UPDATED Aug. 28, 2016.

John Carroll, the longtime publisher of Modern Luxury’s CS magazine, has died, according to family members and friends. He was 59.

“It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I let you all know that we have lost our beloved brother last night,” wrote his sister, Colleen Carroll Witt, on her Facebook page. “John Davenport Carroll was truly a one of a kind dynamic personality…one that we will forever cherish and love deeply. The pain he suffered with the horrific disease, frontal temporal dementia was too much to endure. My heart is hurting for the many people who will miss him, but we are thankful to God for all the wonderful memories, the many times he touched us in countless ways and the way he made us laugh. May you rest in peace, Johnny.”

Megan Kulick, Carroll’s daughter and an employee of Crain’s Business, told the publication that her father “took his own life in the face of his diagnosis” of the terminal disease.

Carroll’s Facebook page is full of remembrances tonight as friends are learning of his death. They follow videos he had posted just days ago of his grand-daughter.

The Chicago magazine publisher had taken a leave from Modern Luxury last year. He had been with the company since 2004 after serving as publisher of Chicago magazine from 1992 to 2004.

Carroll, a Purdue University grad, was a notable name on Chicago’s civic scene for decades. Under his direction, Modern Luxury promoted and showcased charity balls and galas hosted by nonprofit organizations around town. Those organizations fought hard for his and the magazine’s attention.

Their loyalty was returned with full-page spreads of events in glossy color. It’s a publishing model that newspapers have tried to mimic for years but could never quite match. Carroll recognized the importance of giving grand space to the society scene.

Richard Babcock, former editor of Chicago magazine, wrote a lovely tribute.

“It would be wrong to call John a sybarite—he labored too hard and cared too passionately about the magazine’s success for that—but he enjoyed the finer things, a characteristic that made a perfect confluence with his job. He was ad director and then publisher (at Chicago mag) until 2004, which meant he was in charge of selling advertising. Because many of the main advertisers for a city magazine such as Chicago (mag) are luxury products and services, John came to know that world,” Babcock writes. Here’s the whole story.

Along with his sister and daughter, Carroll is survived by his wife, Victoria Priola, his son, Matt Carroll, three other sisters and two brothers and his parents. And he leaves behind an adorable grand-daughter who brought joy to his life in his final days.

The Tribune reports that a funeral Mass will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Notre Dame Catholic Church, 1001 Moore Road, Michigan City, Ind.


6 Responses to John Carroll, a force at Modern Luxury, has died

  1. Lartha Tribett says:


  2. Peter Abrahams says:

    Thank you Shia.

  3. Whitney Lasky says:

    What a gentle man. A true class act. He brought so much to Chicago. I am so incredibly sad for his family. How difficult his diagnosis must have been to live with. Blessings and love.

  4. Howard Carroll says:

    My brother John was such an amazing person & always made me feel like his little brother. He always looked after me regardless of my current age of 54. His energy, personality, and the way he always took care of himself & others was inspiring to me. We had a special secondary way of communicating with each other that was goofy, fun, and extremely hilarious. We owned that special bond exclusively that was effortless and genuine. Johnny- I miss you sooo much already M’mon:) Love Howie.

  5. Tracy Cohen says:

    I’m incredibly sad to hear of John’s passing. In my many years of working luxury retail, John always went out of his way to smile and say hello to me. He always was warm and caring, he always remembered details of my life, joys or sorrows….whether it was passing through my workplace, a charity event, or just walking down Michigan Ave to say a quick hello, his warmth and genuine demeanor was something I will never forget. I’m so sorry for any suffering he may have endured and wish his entire family peace.

  6. Joe Goldman says:

    John was a class act, above and beyond. He was in an industry (glamour) that all too frequently inculcates a snobiness in employees that is difficult to swallow. I was just a vendor of a very commonplace business service, and Modern Luxury was my customer. Offices have a culture, and it starts at the top. No matter how glamorous were the employees there, there was a complete respect for all vendors. No one copped any attitude just because the business was in the thick of the glamour scene of Chicago – and I know that down to earth vibe in that office was an emulation of John. He invariably had a hello, a smile, and a wave for me, just a minor vendor to his business. Like everyone, I am enormously saddened by this tragic, tragic news. My heart goes out to all you Carrolls. You should be so proud of the gentleman that he truly was, down to his toes.

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