Stal­wart of civic life in west subur­ban Elmhurst

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - OBITUARIES - By Gray­don Me­gan Gray­don Me­gan is a free­lance re­porter.

Decades be­fore Face­book, the New­com­ers Club in Elmhurst pro­vided a so­cial net­work for peo­ple like Jacquelyn “Jackie” Had­dad and her hus­band, who moved to the western sub­urb in 1965 and quickly joined a group now known as the Elmhurst Neigh­bors & New­com­ers Club.

Over the years, she ex­panded her in­volve­ment in the sub­urb with a long list of lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions that even­tu­ally in­cluded the Elmhurst Women’s Club, Elmhurst Se­nior Ci­ti­zens Com­mis­sion, York Town­ship Repub­li­can Women’s Or­ga­ni­za­tion, First Ladies of Elmhurst and Elmhurst Children’s As­sis­tance Foun­da­tion, where she was one of the founders and a past pres­i­dent.

She also con­tin­ued her sup­port for what is now St. Jude Children’s Re­search Hospi­tal in Mem­phis, Tenn., hav­ing first be­come in­volved in in the 1950s when the late en­ter­tainer Danny Thomas asked oth­ers of Le­banese her­itage for help in build­ing the hospi­tal.

Emil Had­dad re­mem­bered his wife or­ga­niz­ing teenagers to march to raise funds for the hospi­tal, which opened in 1962.

“Her first step (in Elmhurst) in fundrais­ing and com­mu­nity in­volve­ment was the teenage march for St. Jude,” her hus­band said. That in­volved go­ing to the lo­cal high schools and re­cruit­ing teens to go door to door to raise money in the 1960s.

Had­dad, 76, died of nat­u­ral causes Oct. 16 in Elmhurst Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal, ac­cord­ing to her daugh­ter, Jackie Had­dad-Tamer.

Born Jacquelyn Rashid, she grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. She at­tended the since-closed Marycrest Col­lege in Daven­port for two years.

She met her hus­band at a Le­banese Amer­i­can con­ven­tion in Chicago. They mar­ried in 1963 and moved to Elmhurst two years later

Had­dad chaired the Elmhurst sesqui­cen­ten­nial ball in 1986 and man­aged to get enough spon­sor­ship to turn a profit on the event, her hus­band said.

Had­dad’s many con­tri­bu­tions to the com­mu­nity were rec­og­nized in 1987, when the Elmhurst Jaycees awarded her their Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Award.

She had a spe­cial con­cern for children and helped start the Elmhurst Children’s As­sis­tance Foun­da­tion, which helps fam­i­lies with med­i­cal ex­penses not cov­ered by in­sur­ance. Those ex­penses can in­clude adap­tive equip­ment, mo­bil­ity de­vices, ve­hi­cle mod­i­fi­ca­tions and cer­tain ther­a­pies.

Su­san Rose, a former city alderman and cur­rent chair of the Elmhurst Zon­ing and Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, spoke of Had­dad’s con­cern for mis­treated children.

“Jackie al­ways showed up to city coun­cil meet­ings dur­ing Child Abuse Pre­ven­tion month,” said Rose, whose pro­fes­sional life has fo­cused on mal­treated children. “She al­ways spoke with true in­ter­est in the plight of children who were mal­treated. I was re­ally glad to see some­one in the com­mu­nity who wanted to pull pub­lic at­ten­tion to the plight of kids who had ex­pe­ri­enced that kind of abuse and ne­glect.”

Had­dad was a cur­rent mem­ber of the Elmhurst Her­itage Foun­da­tion, which pro­vides sup­port for the Elmhurst His­tory Mu­seum.

She also rep­re­sented se­niors in the com­mu­nity as a mem­ber of the Elmhurst Se­nior Ci­ti­zens Com­mis­sion.

“Jackie was the chair for the Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mit­tee (of the com­mis­sion),” said com­mis­sion chair Cathy Jor­dan, who called Had­dad “small but mighty.”

Had­dad took her role on the com­mis­sion se­ri­ously, Jor­dan said. “She had a lot of opin­ions about how se­niors need to live in­de­pen­dently and bet­ter in Elmhurst. She al­ways felt she had to be their voice.”

In ad­di­tion to her work for var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions in and around Elmhurst, Had­dad spoke out on is­sues she con­sid­ered im­por­tant to the com­mu­nity.

In Oc­to­ber 2015, as al­der­men on an Elmhurst com­mit­tee con­sid­ered lift­ing a city ban on video gam­bling, Had­dad spoke against the idea.

“This is not some­thing pos­i­tive,” Had­dad told com­mit­tee mem­bers. “If we want to have these ma­chines, then have a ref­er­en­dum so the peo­ple of Elmhurst can vote.”

Had­dad is also sur­vived by her sons Michael and Dou­glas; her brother, Wil­liam Rashid; and seven grand­chil­dren.

Ser­vices were held.

FAM­ILY PHOTO

Jacquelyn Had­dad re­ceived the Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Award from the Elmhurst Jaycees in 1987.

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