Sue Brady, former manager of scattered-site CHA housing, two-term Evanston alderman, and staffer for U.S. Cong. Abner Mikva, died at her Evanston home early Monday morning, following a battle with cancer. She was 77.
Ms. Brady grew up on Chicago’s North Side and graduated from Mundelein College.
In the 1970s, she was a volunteer for Abner Mikva, when he ran for the House of Representatives from the 10th District, then served on his congressional staff until 1978.
Judge Mikva said this week that Sue Brady was “one of the most wonderful people I have known. She lived her religion in every human way – not in saving people’s souls but in saving their lives.”
After leaving Mikva’s office, she became director of the Housing Resource Center out of Hull House in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, where she originated and led a community based program to manage more than 1,200 low-income scattered-site CHA apartments on the North Side, a position she maintained until she retired in 2000.
Alexander Polikoff, who worked closely with Ms. Brady in housing, described her role in his book, “Waiting for Gautreaux: A Story of Segregation, Housing, and the Black Ghetto.”
“She plunged into her task with the same zeal she had devoted to Mikva’s campaigns. She organized a ‘management aide program’ that paid stipends to residents… hired residents to do painting … rigorously screened new tenants … became acquainted with almost all residents by name…”
It might be said that Sue Brady had started a quiet revolution” by getting the CHA to turn over scattered sites to private managers, he wrote.
At the same time she managed public housing, she served two terms as Evanston’s Third Ward alderman, from 1985 to 1993.
Always ready to contribute her leadership skills to causes she cared about, Ms. Brady was involved over the years included Public Service Challenge, Leadership Evanston, Evanston Housing Commission, three PTAs and Youth Organizations Umbrella. Most recently, she was active in the Evanston League of Women Voters and Executive Service Corps. Always involved in politics, she was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s Senate campaign and predicted he was someone to watch for president in 2008.
Her oldest son, Chip, said, “She was a huge believer in getting things done by working and investing time and energy over the long term.
“She was known as a community activist and leader, and rightly so,” he said. But she was adamant about family first, and she never let us feel she was too busy. She changed public housing in Chicago but she was always our mother first.”
Ms. Brady was pre-deceased by her husband Charles Anthony “Tony” Brady in 2000. She is survived by her five children, Eileen Brady (Brian Rohter) of Portland, Oregon; Beth Brady Keating (Anthony), of Weehawken, New Jersey; Chip Brady (Kate); Neal Brady(Tracy Quattrocki); and Brian Brady (Anna Fillmore), all of Evanston, a brother, John Durburg (Sue) of Evanston, and a sister, Jan St. John, of Maui, Hawaii. She is also survived by 17 grandchildren, Caitlin Alcott (Emily), Colin O’Brady (Jenna Besaw), Nathanie l Keating, William Keating, Cara Keating, Marianna Brady, Julia Brady, Angelina Brady, Katherine Brady, Benedict Brady, Ella Brady, Oliver Brady, Caroline Brady, Russell Fillmore-Brady, Hazel Fillmore-Brady, Sadie Morrison, Casey Rohter and a brand new great-grandson Griffin Alcott.
The wake is planned for 4-8 p.m. on Dec. 16 at Donellan Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie. Services will be held at Sheil Center, 2110 Sheridan Road, at 2 p.m. on Dec. 17.
Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations are requested for Mikva Challenge, 332 S. Michigan Ave, Ste. 400, Chicago, IL 60604 or Youth Organizations Umbrella, 1027 Sherman Ave, #2SW, Evanston, IL 60202, both nonprofits that serve youth and were close to her heart.