Jim Irsay's mother, Harriet, died peacefully on Friday evening, July 11 at her Chicago-area home. She was 87 and the matriarch of the Indianapolis Colts. She played an instrumental part in the development of the franchise since the family's acquisition of the team in 1972. "She was just such a big, big figure for our family," Jim Irsay said this afternoon. "She's going to be missed."
He described his mother as a "feisty little redhead" who was one of the Colts' biggest fans. She attended games at the RCA Dome as late as last season before her diminishing health made that impossible.
She was preceded in death by her other two children, daughter Roberta and son Thomas. In addition to Jim, his wife Meg and daughters Carlie, Casey and Kalen, she is survived by several nieces and nephews.
Throughout her life, she was a generous benefactor of many charitable organizations in Chicago and Bal Harbor, Florida where she maintained residences, as well as Indianapolis. Organizations such as Noble of Indiana, DAMAR Services, Marion County Mental Health Association, The Children's Museum and the Indiana Children's Wish Fund were recipients of her generosity.
Services will be private. Memorials in her honor can be directed to the Harriet Irsay Fund of the Indianapolis Colts Foundation, P.O. Box 535000, Indianapolis, IN 46253.