Edward Brennan, Fenwick graduate and Sears chairman, dies at 73

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Correction: The photograph that appeared earlier in our breaking news e-mail and briefly on our Web site was not Edward Brennan. Wednesday Journal regrets the error.

Edward Brennan, former chairman and CEO of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Fenwick High School graduate, died Thursday night at his home in Burr Ridge, the Chicago Tribune reported Saturday.

Brennan started at Sears in 1956 as a retail men's fashions clerk and rose to its chief executive in 1986. He retired from Sears in 1995, at a time when the store was losing its dominance of the retail landscape to Wal-Mart, according to the New York Times.

Brennan subsequently served on the board of directors of Exelon and McDonald's corps., sharing an office with Donald Rumsfeld. He also served as executive chairman for American Airlines in 2003, as well as chairman of the board at Rush University Medical Center and Marquette and DePaul universities. Brennan graduated from Marquette in the 1950s.

In 2006, Dominican University renamed its business school after Brennan and his wife, who attended the school (as Rosary College) during the early stage of the couple's relationship. He also received an honorary degree from the university in 1995. Brennan's wife, Lois, was born in Oak Park and attended Trinity High School.

Brennan is survived by his younger brother, Bernard Brennan, who worked at Sears before leaving to eventually head Montgomery Ward & Co.

Edward Brennan is also survived by his brother David, three sisters, his wife, six children and 19 grandchildren, the Times reported. Visitation was held Sunday at Adolf Funeral Home on Madison Avenue in Willowbrook. A funeral Mass was celebrated Monday at Old St. Patrick's Church on Adams Street in Chicago. His burial was private.

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