By CCM Staff and Friends
With these brief snapshots of wonderful people who have appeared on our pages, we honor all who we have all lost this year. We will remember them always. If you dreamed about them, you’d wake up smiling. They were just that kind of friend.
The Atlanta Braves’ owner met every baseball commissioner, including the imposing Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis when he was a lad. He greeted Hank Aaron after his home run that broke Babe Ruth’s seemingly unbreakable record. The gentlemanly, engaging Bartholomay lived the stuff of baseball dreams. Away from the diamond, he was one of the top backgammon players in the land.—By David Sweet
James N Bay
Jim’s many attributes speak of a man strong in his faith, rich in integrity, kind to all, generous with time and resources, a scholarly intelligence, a gentleman in every word and action, gifted with a rare gift of patience, a jolly good sense of humor, and respected by all who had the pleasure of knowing, or working with him.
As a trustee and member of several museum committees at the Art Institute of Chicago, Jim made many generous and enduring contributions. He and Laurie shared a love of European arts and culture, and together they provided support for catalogs, exhibitions, events, and objects. Jim funded the Laurie V. and James N. Bay Gallery in the Deering Family Wing of Medieval and Renaissance Art, Arms, and Armor. Another favorite of Jim’s was the spectacular Neapolitan Creche, a nativity scene which he was passionate about and looked forward to visiting every Christmas season.
The Lyric Opera also held a very special place in Jim’s heart and was another passion of his. Jim was proud to be a trustee of an institution that gave so much joy to others and held many happy personal memories. He was one of the sponsors for Madama Butterfly and Carmen; two of his favorites. Opening night at the Lyric, the Wine Auction as well as other special event opportunities were always favorite events Jim loved attending and supporting.
At the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation, Jim served as a trustee. He loved the scientific lectures and talking to the researchers. Jim understood the science due to his lifetime interest and studies in chemistry and math.
December often found Jim practicing his Ho Ho Ho’s as he prepared for his role as Santa Claus at a special event for the children at the Craniofacial Center at the UIC Hospital. Jim was always surprised they didn’t cry when he held them. It was because of his gentle brown eyes.
As a third-generation owner of Bays Foods, Jim baked the best English muffin ever! He grew the company while keeping true to the family recipe. His education at Wharton served him well. When Jim sold the company, our freezer was filled from top to bottom with muffins, and it was worth it!
Jim, you were a knowledgeable and wise presence in every sphere of your life. Your joie de vive, your infectious smile, strong and protective presence, and immeasurable love and devotion are cherished and treasured. You were a loving and the finest father to our son Grant that he could ever have had. Your love was evident in every word and action as you guided him. You were, and remain the wind beneath my wings in all things. You completed me in every way. You are all things to me; my greatest blessing and love. My heart belongs to you Jimmy, forever and ever. —By Laurie Bay
John Bross died March 19, the first day of Spring, and the memories of friends and the desires to immortalize his commitment to service grow stronger and stronger. From an award honoring his volunteer efforts in Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state, to the dedication of the newly renovated bell tower at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago in his name, to a plaque at Groton School, to planned post-pandemic events in Murray Bay, Quebec, where he spent his summers, his life as an author, scholar and committed Christian shines all the more brightly in the memories of so many friends. While acknowledging John’s reputation as an elegant gentleman, one Groton friend, Tim Rivinus, lauded his impish humor and sense of adventure, by calling him our Huck Finn. That image, and one of the tiny altar in San Cristobal, Mexico that displayed his photo as tribute on the Day of The Dead, show us yet again how beloved he was. —By Judy Bross
With a twinkle in her eye and a wonderful sense of humor, Jean Huebner Fetridge is fondly remembered by all who knew her. Jean died in May from complications of a long-term illness, which she fought with incredible bravery and amazing grit, which were typical traits she exuded.
Growing up in Northfield, IL, Jean attended Sunset Ridge School, two boarding schools in Switzerland, New Trier, Ferry Hall, and Briarcliff College. After graduation, Jean worked for several companies in New York and the Loop, but she especially enjoyed her work with a wonderful team at Drexel, Burnham Lambert, before becoming a full-time mother to sons Clark II and Billy.
Beside her family, Jean’s passion was her work as a 40-year member of the Women’s Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The hospital gift shop Pulse was a special interest of hers and she frequently checked out other gift shops for unique items she could acquire for Pulse.
Jean loved to travel and socialize with her many friends, but a favorite place was in Stevensville, MI where the extended family would often gather for cocktails on the porch at Rainbow Cabin overlooking the magnificent sunsets on Lake Michigan. —The Fetridge family
Francie and I were friends for over forty years meeting through our children when they were in kindergarten. She was smart and serious and artistic but she also had a madcap quality. I was nearby and happy to play Ethel to her Lucy in these ventures.
One day to surprise a friend, she had us put on gigantic rollers, smear cold cream on our faces and appear at our pal’s very elegant apartment building for a visit. The staff tried to bar the door. Our friend was mortified.
Francie was spontaneous and good humored and determined to visit every corner of the earth. She largely succeeded. I was lucky to join her on many of those trips.
Sadly, she left us too soon. —By Adrian Foster
Artist, ardent conservationist, leader, former assistant fashion editor at Town and Country, skilled horsewoman and above all fabulous mother, Jamee Field was a force for good in the community. She was the first female Board Chair at Lake Forest Country Day School and served as a Life Director and Governor of Lake Forest Open Lands, where she helped to create the childhood education department. Over the years Jamee helped to restore countless acres of natural habitat in both Illinois and Florida, and loved taking long walks with her husband Marshall and their dogs across the prairie. Always beautiful and always humorous, Jamee inspired countless friends. —By Judy Carmack Bross
Skip Grisham – Photo Credit: John Reilly
In 1979, my dear friend Skip Grisham took one of Chicago’s most beloved annual benefits, the 52-year-old Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Fashion Show, and did the impossible. He made it better. For nearly 30 years as producer, director and set designer, he created a stage show worthy of Broadway. With hammer, saw and a can of paint, he often actually built the sets. He selected the music, choreographed the action and brought in stars to appear along with our lovely Chicago mannequins. Then, inexplicably, the thoroughly unique production was reduced to an ordinary runway show — losing Skip and soon, of course, the show itself.
But what an achievement! —By Megan McKinney
I remember my last visits with my friend O.J. Heestand at Northwestern Memorial Hospital so vividly as they were my final times with this remarkable man and also marked the end of normal life as the pandemic closed in. March 8 was the last time I was allowed to visit. Despite his heart troubles he was so full of energy, so characteristically brilliant in conversation though intermittently tired. A man with vast interests, knowledge, and informed, well-thought-out opinions, an ability to probe deeply but tactfully into any opinion I might express. O.J. and I became friends because of a shared interest in French wine and food, particularly Burgundy and Bordeaux. As late as early February we were still planning a trip with friends to Beaune that he knew he couldn’t go on but would vicariously enjoy. Of course it was ultimately cancelled — the dates originally scheduled were actually the days just before he died on May 12. O.J.’s many years of important postings for Chemical Bank, McKinsey and O’Connor & Associates, his living in London for many years–all these made him a true internationalist with great cross-cultural understanding–or was it the other way around? He proudly and effectively served as Grand Senéchal of the Chicago chapter of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin (a Medieval title for a Burgundy wine association: this prince of a man was a king and I was proud to be one of his prime ministers). I miss especially talking to him about experiences we had both had but separately, both of us sharing our experiences with a wife we were absolutely devoted to. I’ll never forget his tale about Michel Guérard and the trip to Laberdolive. But I loved also talking about politics and his fascinating insights about, well, everything. He was truly devoted to the arts, especially music and the gastronomic arts, his friends in Chicago, La Jolla and the world, and especially to his wife Pati and their daughters, son-in-law and grandson. I miss O.J. —By Richard Warren Shepro
Philip Wayne Hummer, 89, passed away peacefully on Friday, December 18, surrounded by his wife and three daughters. Philip had been ill for a month, and after an operation exposed that he had cancer, he declared that he wanted to go home and move onto the next world. No argument, no second-guessing — Philip, ever decisive and matter-of-fact did just that, with a wink and a twinkle in his eye. To honor him: grow old; don’t be old. Be present with the young and ask questions — never bloviate. Keep your fingernails clipped and your hair combed. Wear bowties. Don a stylish hat. Drink an occasional martini. Read good books and write your thank-you notes. Be honest and forthright. Most important, know when to leave the party. He did.–By Grove Mower
Rowena Kelley was a wonderful friend and superb interior designer, who spent the past half-century or more funding art education for city children — initially through the historic Chicago Public School Art Society, with its Hull House roots and Art Institute base. As others’ philanthropic priorities shifted, Rowena remained passionate about art education in city schools and almost single-handedly reshaped the organization to become Art Resources in Teaching (A.R.T.), which experienced a vigorous life span of several decades before its 2017 merger with Urban Gateways, in which it carries on.
Rowena’s great legacy to Chicago is the richness her sustained and energetic efforts bought to the lives of generations of its children. —By Megan McKinney
A Radcliffe girl marries a Harvard boy — and what seemed like an Ozzie and Harriet episode soon blossomed into a prequel to Indiana Jones!
An intrepid archeologist, chemist, gemologist, and heart and soul of the OI, Jill Carlotta Maher sought out a world of intellectual pursuits, adventure, and social interaction. It wasn’t until I met Carlotta in the 1970’s that I found someone who shared my interest in Egyptology and hieroglyphs, and who would inspire me to take three trips to Egypt and spend hours pouring over Gardner’s Egyptian Grammar. That was her great talent, to seek you out and share her love of learning and life with you.
Carlotta’s joie de vivre would light up a room and anyone sitting next to her at dinner would leave feeling that they had just made a new best friend. For those of us who knew her outside of her roles as docent, fundraiser and philanthropist, she was also our disco diva, skilled hunter, careful listener, and intrepid adventurer. Her positive attitude and welcoming smile will be sorely missed. Yet, I know that the indomitable spirit and enthusiasm of Carlotta will continue to live as the watchful eye of Horus guides her onward. —By Daniel Bender
Nancy and I were friends for over 35 years. She was the most kind, creative, loving and generous spirit. In fact, she was the most creative person I ever knew. She was known for her fabulous parties and her knowledge of art, antiques and sculpture. I will always cherish the memories I have of the many times we shared and feel deeply the sorrow of her passing. —By Alexandra Nichols
Mutual love of dachshunds, and her delightful Digby, lit our friendship and her kindness at my wedding reception on a chilly June day in Lincoln Park when she took off her beautiful shawl and insisted I wrap it around me made me realize there was no one kinder or more fun than Betsy. Watching her incredible elegance as she led the Antiquarian Society and the Colonial Dames, we all knew Betsy as the decorative arts scholar and historian that she was. Serving as a trustee at the Brooks School and as a regent of the 18th-century Gunnison Hall in Virginia gave her great pleasure and everyone always wanted her as their leader. Witty and wonderful, she adored her children and husband Buzz to whom she was married for 52 years. —By Judy Carmack Bross
My friend Joan was a friend to so many. She left us so unexpectedly this year. I had met Joan many years ago at the Focus Group and reconnected in Paris at Rene Johnson’s apartment where Joan was representing Chicago Sister Cities. I was there with my architect husband who was teaching a seminar for IIT. There she also met my daughter Michelle. Even though she had no children herself, they formed a lasting friendship. She was so interested in all her friends’ children and especially her family here and in California We had so much fun staging her apartment on the south shore before she left for La Quinta where she created a beautiful home. We all miss calling Joan to talk about current events and share her love for the city of Chicago where she was Cultural Commissioner for many years. She made life so much better for all Chicagoans for years to come. Joan we miss you. With love, Biba. —By Biba Roesch
Bonnie Swearingen was a vibrant, glamorous personality whose colorful antics enlivened the Chicago scene and fascinated onlookers throughout the 20th century’s final decades. Although often controversial, Bonnie’s flamboyant, film star-like presence brought to our Big Shoulders town an energy and world city ambiance that lifted it from any chance of the humdrum. —By Megan McKinney
Born a year after Prohibition, Terlato transformed the American wine industry. He introduced the country to Pinot Grigio, and his elegant lunches and dinners graced with fine wines at Terlato headquarters — a former Armour estate designed by Harrie T. Lindeberg — were legendary. He loved his work and his family, and his determination to succeed helped him win the Horatio Alger Award. —By David Sweet
Lady B, she was to me
Friends for caring
She was to me, LADY B —By Bunny Douglas
Governor Jim Thompson with daughter Samantha at an antiques show.
Governor James R. Thompson, the longest-serving Governor in Illinois history, left us at age 84 this year.
“Big Jim” will not only be remembered for his political achievements, almost always accomplished with bipartisan support, like “Build Illinois” (and boy did we, remember when we were the second-most important economy in the country?), but for his heart-felt love of the people, culture and history of the State of Illinois. From top to bottom, no region of Illinois was second class: he celebrated and promoted “Little Egypt” as much as “The Windy City” — this is perhaps his most important legacy, and should be a model for all leaders today.
From hosting an annual antiques show on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield (here depicted with his beloved daughter, Samantha, tending his own stand) to founding the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) he lead the charge to preserve countless historical sites, including Giant City Lodge in the magnificent Shawnee Forest where he enjoyed many of their deservedly famous fried chicken dinners over the decades. Put it on your list!
For me, he was a member of the sadly now all-deceased raccoon coat-wearing brigade of antiquarians of that era that included John Fornengo and Julius Lewis — all three oft-spotted at local sales eagerly bidding (and winning) prized objects to add to their collections. Remember when Governor Thompson set a record price for an Illinois duck decoy by Robert Elliston paying more than $100,000 for it in 2010!
Gentleman Jim, thank you for your service! And it may be just the time to reach into my closet for a raccoon coat to help honor your legacy! —Todd Schwebel
Compiled by Judy Carmack Bross and edited by Omar Vilchez