John Ilhan, the entrepreneur who founded the Crazy John’s mobile phone group, was remembered as a father, husband and friend, at yesterday’s public memorial service.
Family and friends were joined by business and political leaders and 1000 members of the public at the Melbourne Convention Centre to farewell the respected entrepreneur. The father of four died of a heart attack – believed to be triggered by a hereditary heart condition – at the age of 42, while walking near his Brighton home on October 23.
Ilhan’s 10-year-old daughter Yasmin and wife Patricia spoke of a loving father and husband, heavily involved in family life. “As you can see, everyone loved my Dad and even if they didn’t know him they’re also sad,” Yasmin said. Patricia reflected on her husband’s generosity and thanked the two strangers who tried to revive Ilhan when he collapsed.
Other tributes were offered by friend Ash Rady, Victorian Premier John Brumby and Crazy John’s managing director Brendan Fleiter. Eddie McGuire read a statement from the Prime Minister of Turkey, expressing condolences to the Ilhan family, and Ahmed Fahour, head of operations at NAB Australia, spoke of his friend’s good deeds.
Ilhan, a Turkish Muslim boy who grew up in Broadmeadows, a suburb in Melbourne’s north-west, built the Crazy John mobile phone dealership he started up 16 years ago into a $310 million empire.