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|Born||April 27, 1947|
|Origin||South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|Years active||1966 to date|
Croce Music Group
Ingrid Croce (born April 27, 1947) is an American author, singer-songwriter and restaurateur. She is the widow of singer-songwriter Jim Croce and the mother of singer-songwriter A.J. Croce. Between 1964 and 1971, Ingrid and Jim Croce performed as a duo and wrote together. In 1969, Capitol Records released their album, Jim & Ingrid Croce, which has been re-released on CD. Their song, "Age", won a country music award in the late 1970s. Both "Age" and "Hey Tomorrow" are included in Jim Croce’s Platinum Albums on ABC Dunhill Records. Several of Jim and Ingrid Croce's co-written songs are now available on Home Recording, Americana and have been released on Down the Highway (1975), Have You Heard Jim Croce Live (DVD; 2002) The 50th Anniversary Collection (1992), The Definitive Collection: "Time in a Bottle" (1999; 2 CDs).
Ingrid Jacobson was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a Jewish family. Just as Ingrid was turning sixteen, her mother died at the age of 36 from breast cancer and a weak heart. Ingrid had to leave high school and gymnastics and moved to her father's home in the suburbs. She and her twin sister, Phyllis, attended various high schools after the death of their mother. They graduated from Nether Providence High School in 1965. Ingrid attended Rhode Island School of Design and Moore College of Art and travelled to Mexico in her senior year when she won a Fellowship to study painting and pottery in San Miguel de Allende.
At 8, she worked at her grandmother's dress store in South Philadelphia. Her mother, Shirley, played piano on her own local television show. Ingrid learned to cook with her and also started singing in local clubs and on television by the time she was 10.
Ingrid's father, Sidney Jacobson, was a general practitioner with his medical office in their home in West Philadelphia. By the age of 15, Ingrid was employed as the “junior art therapist” assisting her father at the University of Pennsylvania where he did his residency for his psychiatric practice. She met future husband Jim Croce in 1963.
When Jim Croce and Ingrid discovered they were going to have a child, Jim became even more determined to make music his profession. He sent a cassette of his new songs to his friend and producer in New York City, in the hope that he could get a record deal for his first professional solo album. When their son Adrian James Croce (A.J. Croce) was born in September 1971 Ingrid became a “stay-at-home” mom, while Jim went on the road to promote his music. Just two years later, as Jim Croce's songs were topping the music charts, his plane crashed in Natchitoches, Louisiana. When Jim died on September 20, 1973, A.J. was a week away from celebrating his second birthday.
Aftermath of Jim Croce's fatal plane crash
After her husband died, Ingrid followed many circuitous routes to re-define her personal vision for family, career and a home. After a move to San Diego, California as a family, she then spent some time with Adrian James in San Jose and Quepos, Costa Rica. When she returned to San Diego in 1974, she developed a Head Start program for Costa Rica, opened a children’s school in Point Loma and wrote a children’s book, “Mirandome.” Then, when their son Adrian James was almost four, he was blinded by "serious physical abuse" at the hands of Ingrid's boyfriend.
From 1977 to 1981, Ingrid served as Vice-Consul of Costa Rica in San Diego and wrote and sang her own songs, completing two solo albums, and establishing her first publishing company, “Time in a Bottle.” She sat on the board of the Woman’s Bank and traveled to Israel where A.J. took his rites of passage. In 1983, Ingrid became a serious runner, and won third place in her age category at the Stockholm Marathon.
Once litigation was over in 1981, Ingrid had set a precedent for other recording artists. She was on the road promoting her two albums when in 1984 she became unable to sing, due to tumors on her vocal cords. After two failed operations, Ingrid was unable to sing again, and had to find a new profession and a way to earn a living.
The Birth of Croce's Restaurant & Jazz Bar in San Diego
Needing a job, Ingrid invited a friend to her home to help write her résumé. Her friend suggested Ingrid should open a restaurant. The next day Ingrid got a business license, signed a lease and opened her first restaurant, Blinchiki. She learned on the job about the hospitality industry, and in 1985 sought space for rent in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, which was gentrifying and undergoing redevelopment. She hadn't been in downtown San Diego since 1973, when retailers and urbanites were fleeing the city for the sprawling suburbs. Upon learning of a space available at the corner of Fifth and F where she and Jim had stopped in front of the Keating Building and Jim had joked about opening 'Croce's Restaurant & Jazz Bar', Ingrid decided to build a restaurant and bar there as a tribute to Jim and call it Croce's.
The Growth of Croce's
During her first three years in business downtown, from 1985 to 1988, Croce's expanded five times, adding Croce’s Jazz Bar, a second restaurant, a rhythm and blues bar, Croce’s Top Hat Bar and Grill, Upstairs at Croce’s, and Croce’s Catering and Event Planners. In the late 80s, Ingrid became a board member of the California Restaurant Association, San Diego County Chapter and The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau. She learned a lot from the civic work she did with her community… ”But little did I know back then that my hard work in building a restaurant and bar would lead me to my wonderful husband, Jimmy Rock, who has been my love and partner since we married in 1988.”
In January 2014, the Gaslamp venue closed, and Ingrid opened Croce's Park West 18 blocks uptown, in a district called Banker's Hill which already had a reputation for good eating. Live music was played in the "Expatriate Room." In spite of drawing good crowds, the business abruptly closed in January 2016. Ingrid wrote:
|“||Unfortunately, we have found that live music isn’t the draw that we hoped and needed it to be. The piracy and devaluation of music has been such a major blow to us that we can no longer afford to support live music on our own. And it wouldn’t be Croce’s without live music.||”|
In 1996, Ingrid Croce wrote Thyme in a Bottle, her autobiographical cookbook with memories and recipes from Croce’s Restaurant, published by Harper Collins. When the book sold out, guests to her restaurant and website were encouraging and Ingrid re-issued the book through her own publishing company, Avalanche Records and Books in 1998.
In 2003, the thirtieth anniversary of Jim’s passing, both Ingrid and son A.J. Croce, a talented singer-songwriter and accomplished pianist, worked together to produce the first-ever DVD of Jim Croce, Have You Heard Jim Croce Live, later, a CD, Have You Heard Jim Croce Live, the CD Jim Croce, Home Recordings, Americana, and Facets, Jim Croce’s first recorded album from 1966. These products were distributed originally, worldwide, through Shout Factory and Sony and are all currently available through CMG (Croce Music Group). In 2004, Ingrid published Time in a Bottle, a photographic memoir of Jim’s songs, with the lyrics and her favorite photos in collaboration with her husband Jim Rock and Deborah Ogburn.
San Diego Restaurant Week
In 2004, Ingrid’s determination to build San Diego as a top tier dining destination led her to launch the most successful dining event in the city’s history – San Diego Restaurant Week. Now in its sixth year, the event draws 200,000 guests to close to 200 restaurants twice a year.
PBS is currently airing The Legacy of Jim Croce with commentary by Ingrid and A.J. Croce and with segments from their DVD, Have you Heard Jim Croce Live. Ingrid Croce is currently developing a PBS special project that has been spawned from her new songbook, Jim Croce Anthology: 'The Stories behind the Songs'. This TV project was distributed on PBS in 2010.
Ingrid Croce was nominated and inducted into the San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame in 2012 by Women's Museum of California, Commission on the Status of Women, University of California, San Diego, San Diego Women's Center, and San Diego State University Women's Studies.
- A legend in her own right – Ingrid Croce – Company Profile | Nation's Business | Find Articles at BNET. Findarticles.com. Retrieved on July 11, 2011.
- . Interview with A.J. Croce. Retrieved on May 8, 2015.
- Jim Croce Artistfacts. Artistfacts.com. Retrieved on July 11, 2011.
- Interview With Ingrid Croce. Classicbands.com. Retrieved on July 11, 2011.
- Thyme In A Bottle Cookbook: Pumpkin Soup and Macaroni and Cheese. Globalgourmet.com. Retrieved on July 11, 2011.