Stephen “Fran” Considine

Stephen “Fran” Considine, age 88,formerly of 4047 West End Avenue, Chicago, Villa Park and Sandpiper Key FL, currently of Elk Grove Village; retired sales manager with Lipton and Good Humor Companies; beloved husband of the late Mary Colette “Lolly”, nee Healy; loving father of James (Marie), Michael (Linda), Kevin (Denise), Timothy (Kathleen), Katie (David) Berry, Karen (the late Tom) Kolodziej, Paul (Yolanda) and the late Franny; proud grandfather of Shannon (Tim) Dunn, Kelly Colette (Kyle) Girup, Erin (Nick) Scarpetta, Caitlin, Cali Colette, and Brendan Considine, Stephen, Sean, Patrick and Meghan Berry, Adrienne and Haley Kolodziej, Serena and Megan Considine and great-grandfather of 5; dear brother of the late Rita Holt and James Considine;  fond uncle of many nieces and nephews. Visitation Thursday, 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Gibbons Funeral Home, 134 South York Road, (½ mile North of Saint Charles Road), Elmhurst. Visitation Friday, 9:30 a.m. until time of Mass of Christian Burial 10:00 a.m. at Saint Alexander’s Catholic Church, 300 S. Cornell, Villa Park. Interment Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, Hillside. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Misericordia Heart of Mercy, 6300 North Ridge, Chicago, IL 60660 or Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 6931 Arlington Road, 2nd floor, Bethesda, Maryland 20814. For funeral information please call 1-630-832-0018 or www.gibbonsfuneralhome.com


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One comment on “Stephen “Fran” Considine
  1. Kevin Considine says:

    Remembering Steve Considine
    To the Considine Family

    I learned almost everything I know about people skills from Steve. He wasn’t the high-powered, high pressure type, rather his was a thoughtful, almost understated approach to managing & selling. While Steve could be as guilty of hyperbole as any great salesman from time to time, he always presented his product in an honest light. For Steve it was never just about making the sale. He enjoyed the whole process, especially kibitzing with the customers.

    I remember that he once placed one of our Good Humor freezers into a tiny shop on the Near North side of Chicago. The President of Good Humor had come in to town for a market visit and I was taking him around to see different accounts. Steve had given me a list of his accounts and this shop was on it. I’d never seen the shop but as we were working the area, we swung by to have a look. When we walked in, we immediately scratched our heads. We normally placed our freezers in locations that were likely to sell ice cream such as convenience stores, zoos, beaches, and other such places. Yet, this was basically a cigar shop. Why was there a Good Humor ice cream freezer here? As we looked at the freezer the owner quickly came out from behind the counter. We told him we were from Good Humor, at which point he ran back behind the counter grabbed two cigars and asked us to please make sure we gave them to Steve. Apparently, Steve allowed the store to have an ice cream freezer in return for a regular supply of cigars.

    Steve was a great businessman with natural people skills and instincts. He could have risen to top levels of management except for the fact he didn’t want that. Steve had very clear priorities. First priority was always his family. He never wanted to move his family or to leave Chicago. Of course in companies like Lipton and Good Humor you had to be willing to relocate if you wanted to rise. That was not for Steve. His family was first.

    Steve wanted to find a way to get invited to this “boondoggle” sort of trip to a Notre Dame football game. The local South Bend newspaper would offer a very special trip to a Notre Dame game to its top advertisers each year as a sort of perk. The game was either against USC or another top team. It was legendary among the local Chicago sales people, but was so special that high-level managers would usually take the trip for themselves and knock out the lower level advertising and sales people. Steve had always wanted to go on this trip when he was at Lipton, but had no chance as the Regional Manager knew about it, looked forward to it, and would take the trip himself. So, when Steve came to Good Humor he began to plot how he would get us invited on this trip. He somehow convinced the South Bend Tribune sales guy that Good Humor had the potential to be a huge customer for them and just to prove it ran one Ad for $1,500. Somehow it worked and he got us invited on the trip. Here we were having spent $1,500 alongside advertisers who were spending tens of thousands of dollars with the South Bend Tribune year after year. By today’s standards I’m sure the trip wasn’t much of perk, but in 1980 this was primo. We left downtown Chicago via train drinking Bloody Mary’s with our breakfast served by waiters in white coats. In South Bend we were whisked to a posh country club for more drinks and lunch. Then the game with a tailgate in the parking lot, and of course, more drinks. Finally, a train back to Chicago with still more drinks. Not sure how we survived, but we did. Best of all, when we got on the train that morning here was the Lipton Regional Manager and his sidekick, aghast that two lowly peddlers from Good Humor would be on this trip with all the CEOs and other corporate big shots. It was classic Steve Considine.

    Steve had no time for ass-kissers and didn’t hesitate to call someone out if they were playing politics. And in a corporation as big as Lipton was, there were plenty of politicians and ass-kissers. Steve’s philosophy was to let your work do the talking. He never tooted his own horn, even when making some of the biggest sales in the history of the company while at Lipton. I think he was uncomfortable with excessive praise for the work he did, just wanted to be paid fairly and supported when needed. In today’s parlance we would say he was Low Maintenance, No Drama. In many ways Steve was the perfect employee; loyal, honest, a good team player, and results oriented.

    It was my first business trip and Steve’s first with Good Humor. We were in Baltimore for our annual Good Humor management meeting. At that time they bunked us two to a room. Steve was bunked with Herman “The German” (Steve’s nickname for him) from Pittsburgh. Herman was a nice man, but very fastidious and a little eccentric. I was bunked up a guy named Bubba. Well, as the night wore on Bubba met himself a girl and I was asked to disappear. Being a dumb kid, I agreed to find other accommodations for the evening. So, I went to Steve’s room and knocked on the door. He and Herman were already in the twin beds, but they agreed to let me stay. I put two chairs together and slept across them. Sometime in the middle of the night the room got very cold and I went into the bathroom, grabbed all the towels and covered myself from head to foot. As I awoke the next morning it was to the sound of Steve yelling at Herman. Herman stood there dressed in a light pink leisure suit with his bags packed by the door. Steve stood there naked, dripping wet. “I know you stole those towels you SOB, now open your suitcase.” Apparently they hadn’t noticed me yet with all the towels draped over me. As I started to say something, Herman bent over opened his suitcase and produced one of the towels he had stolen and handed it sheepishly to Steve.

    Steve was also a great manager. At Lipton he had been a Sales Rep, on his own, with key customers like Jewel. At Good Humor however he had to manage key accounts like Jewel but additionally to supervise many Teamster Union Drivers who were more loyal to the union than to Good Humor. It was a new challenge for Steve but one he took to like he had been doing it his whole life. Steve quickly shaped up a rag-tag bunch of surly drivers into a top sales unit constantly out-performing my division and driving the branch to new sales records every week. One week his drivers placed 1-8 and mine 9-16 and he never let me forget it. What was most amazing to me was how he managed his group. He didn’t talk tough or try to out-macho these guys. He simply found a way to manage each as an individual. In remembering this about Steve it strikes me now again how he loved interacting with all kinds of people. That was his joy.

    One of our most important Good Humor accounts was the Chicago Lakefront. This covered all the beach outlets and the Lincoln Park Zoo and was a highly prized piece of business. In the early 80s the management was changed abruptly and we were suddenly on the outside looking in. This was a disaster for the company as we were going to lose a lot of revenue that would be virtually impossible to replace. The Black Muslims were awarded the Lakefront management contract to replace the former vendor. So, undaunted, Steve began tracking down the new management and somehow landed us a meeting with Elijah Muhammad’s son at a South Side motel. We were picked up and driven to the motel and then had a very pleasant meeting with Herbert Muhammad and his team in their suite. It was clear at that meeting that Herbert took an instant liking to Steve. Talk about strange bedfellows. Here was this Irish Catholic White guy from the suburbs chatting pleasantly with this Black Muslim from the South Side. I sat there totally amazed. About a month later we got word that we had been selected as the ice cream vendor for the entire lakefront. The man they put in charge of the Lakefront was a Syrian, Tony Rezko. Tony and Steve also hit it off immediately and got on so well that Tony even invited Steve to his wedding. We did great business at the Lakefront for many years thereafter. You may recognize Tony Rezko’s name from the 2008 scandal that was national news and led to his imprisonment for kickbacks. Throughout the Lakefront saga, Steve’s people skills came to the forefront.

    There are lots more stories, but I think this provides a good overview of the man I knew and loved. He was a devoted husband to a wonderful woman, a great father and grandfather, and luckily, a good friend to me. I’ll end by saying that I’ve known a lot of business people in my day, but never one as honest and humble, or with as much integrity as Steve. At the time of his passing I am reminded that his greatest lessons to me are to value family and integrity over riches and fame, and to find enjoyment in the simple things.

    Rich Collins August 19, 2014

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