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Combe, Ivan, 1911-2000



  • Existence: 1911 - 2000


Ivan DeBlois Combe was born April 21, 1911, at Fremont, Iowa, the son of Louis Abel Combe, a physician, and Elsie Marie Combe, a schoolteacher, and largely raised at Greenville, Illinois. Combe attended public schools at Greenville and, at Greenville High School was editor of the student newspaper and a member of the basketball and tennis teams. In 1928, as a high school junior, he was co-winner of the Illinois State High School tennis doubles championship. Combe matriculated to Northwestern University in September, 1929, and was an active student, joining the Wranglers, later Alpha Delta Phi, fraternity and working as advertising manager, then business manager, of The Daily Northwestern. He served on Northwestern’s Interfraternity Council and was a member of the Purple Key honorary society. He also played trombone in the Northwestern University Marching Band and in a school orchestra. Combe earned a spot on the school’s varsity tennis team, winning a letter for his participation. He took his bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University in 1933 and attended the Northwestern University School of Law between 1933 and 1935.

Combe began his business career in Chicago in 1935 with the Hydrox Ice Cream Division of National Dairy Products and later held important positions at Wilbert Products Company in Cincinnati, with Young & Rubicam Advertising Agency, and with Pharma-Craft Corporation. He launched a proprietary drug business in 1949 and his company, Combe Incorporated, became a leader in proprietary drug and cosmetic sales. A loyal Northwestern alumnus, Combe served as president of the University’s Alumni Club of New York and was an Alumni Regent. He also was a member of the Benchwarmer’s Club, the N Club, the Marching Band Alumni, the John H. Wigmore Club, the John Evans Club, and of the Northwestern University Board of Trustees. He received Northwestern’s Alumni Service Award (1962), Alumni Merit Award (1971), and Alumni Medal (1998). In recognition of his generous and long-term philanthropy, Northwestern’s Combe Tennis Center, formally dedicated February 1, 2002, is named in his honor.

Combe married Mary Elizabeth Deming in 1938 and the couple had three children: Juliette, Diana, and Christopher. Combe died January 11, 2000.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Ivan D. Combe (1911-2000) letter sweater

Identifier: 31/6/201

The collection consists of a Northwestern University letter sweater, awarded to Ivan D. Combe for his play on the University’s varsity tennis team.

Dates: circa 1933