Longtime Lebanese American activist Jackie Haddad passes

Longtime Lebanese American activist Jackie Haddad passes
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Longtime Lebanese American activist Jackie Haddad passes

Jackie Haddad worked behind-the-scenes on behalf of the influential Lebanese and Arab American communities to raise funds for the needy, helped to lead and organize the annual conferences of the Midwest Federation of American Syrian & Lebanese Clubs, and was active in her local community in Elmhurst where she and her husband Emil raised their family.

By Ray Hanania

Longtime Lebanese Arab American activist Jacquelyn L. “Jackie” Haddad (nee Rashid) of Elmhurst died on Wednesday Oct. 17, 2018. She was 76 years old.

Haddad was active both in local community service organizations and in the Lebanese and Arab American communities. She served as a past president of the Elmhurst Women’s Club and was a founder and past president of the Elmhurst Children’s Assistance Foundation (ECAF). Haddad was also a member of the Elmhurst Senior Commission, past president of the York Township Republican Women’s Organization, and a member First Ladies of Elmhurst. Haddad was also the recipient of Junior Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award.

Haddad was also active with the Midwest Federation of American Syrian & Lebanese Clubs, America’s largest association addressing the social needs of the vast Syrian and Lebanese communities in the United States. The Federation was founded in 1936 and its membership includes more than 2,000 families in 10 American. For many years, the Federation was the most influential and active group in the Chicagoland area.

Jackie Haddad, courtesy of the Haddad family

Jackie Haddad, courtesy of the Haddad family

Haddad was an active member of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church, 950 North Grace, in Lombard.

On Sept. 5, 2001, while serving as the chairman of the Midwest Federation of American Syrian & Lebanese Clubs, Haddad signed a contract with the Marriott hotel in downtown Des Moines, Iowa to host the group’s annual convention which often attracts several thousand attendees from across the country. Less than a week later, after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, hotel officials called Jackie to announce they had canceled the convention.

The Federation filed a lawsuit against the Marriott that was supported by the U.S. Justice Department and Marriot apologized, paying the group $115,000 and earmarking $100,000 for a scholarship fund and $15,000 for the convention.

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Haddad was a frequent voice in local affairs in her community, and in 2015, didn’t hesitate to tell the local Elmhurst City Council how she and others in groups she worked with felt about bringing video gambling to the community, including in this Oct. 14, 2015, Chicago Tribune story:

Jackie Haddad, who has been involved with a number of Elmhurst organizations and who is a member of the city’s Senior Citizen Commission, also spoke against lifting the ban. “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.”

The Midwest Federation of American Syrian & Lebanese Clubs issued the following statement on their Facebook Page:

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of Jackie Haddad’s passing. As a past president and active member, she is an immense loss for our Federation, the community, and to all who have had the pleasure of knowing her. On behalf of the entire MFASLC we extend our deepest sympathies to the Haddad family who remain in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. May she rest in peace and her memory be eternal.

Jackie Haddad was the beloved wife of Emil; loving mother of Michael (Michele) and Douglas (Kira) Haddad and Jacquelyn Haddad-Tamer; proud grandmother of Elise, Matthew and Andrew, Georgette and Joseph Haddad and Elias and Gabriella Tamer; dear sister of William (Kathleen) Rashid; fond aunt, cousin and friend of many.

Jacqueline L. "Jackie" Haddad. Photo courtesy of the Haddad family

Jacqueline L. “Jackie” Haddad. Photo courtesy of the Haddad family

Jack’s daughter Jackie Haddad-Tamer said, “My mom loved the Arab community, no matter what religion. She had friends from all backgrounds and nationalities. Mom was so proud to be of Lebanese heritage and specifically volunteered many hours through the years for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which, as you know, was founded by Danny Thomas who was also Lebanese. She always reminded my brothers and I to remember where we came from and where are roots are from. And, she said, always be proud of our heritage.”

Visitation was on Sunday, October 21, at Gibbons Funeral Home in Elmhurst. Services were held Monday, October 22 at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Lombard. Interment was at Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, Hillside.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 S. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, Middle East Monitor in London, the TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

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