John Gideon Searle

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John Gideon Searle

Also Known As: "Jack Searle"
Death: 1978 (76-77)
Immediate Family:

Son of Claude Howard Searle and Marion Hall Searle
Husband of Frances Louise Searle
Father of Daniel C. Searle and William L. Searle

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Gideon Searle

John Gideon "Jack" Searle (1901–1978) was an American heir, businessman and philanthropist.

Early life

John Gideon Searle was born March 18, 1901 in Iowa. His paternal grandfather was Gideon Daniel Searle, founder of G. D. Searle & Company in 1888. His father, Claude Howard Searle, served as President of the family business after his grandfather's death in 1917. He began working for the family business at the age of fourteen, working every summer through high school and college. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy.


At Searle, he worked as a buyer in 1923, and then was appointed office manager and treasurer. In 1931, he became Vice President and general manager of Searle, up until 1966. To remain competitive during the Great Depression, he reduced its product lines and focused on successful products such as Aminophyllin, Metamucil and Dramamine. He also launched the first oral contraceptive drug Enovid in 1957. He moved its headquarters to Skokie, Illinois in 1942.

In 1966, his son Daniel C. Searle became President of Searle. His other son, William L. Searle, as well as his son-in-law, Wes Dixon, also worked for the company.


In 1964, he set up the Searle Fund at The Chicago Community Trust. The Searle Family Trust later created the Searle Scholars Program.

He was inducted in the American National Business Hall of Fame. Northwestern University and Yale University have endowed professorships named for him. The John G. Searle Chair at the American Enterprise Institute, named in his honor, is currently held by Kevin Hassett. Assistant professorships named after Searle exist in all departments at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.


He died in 1978.

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