A force to be reckoned with right up to the very end--Hazel Barr passed away peacefully in her sleep on June 28, surrounded by those she loved.
She was a long and loyal champion of the Service Club of Chicago, one of the oldest charitable organizations in the city. Her creativity and passion surrounding her Day on the Terrace Fashion Show is legendary. Co-founded 19 years ago as the "Day in the Country," Hazel grew this popular event to be one of the biggest and best in the city. It's a yearly sellout every July at the Peninsula and this year will be no different.
Last year, the SC honored Hazel at the Day on the Terrace. I will never forget the sight of her--always elegant--but, on this particular day, she was absolutely radiant. Her finale strut down the runway brought tears from everyone in the room as she was escorted by her two beloved grandsons, Justin and Alexander Smith, blowing kisses and taking her final bow as chair of this event.
She was instrumental in bringing me, along with a gazillion other wide-eyed women, into the Service Club fold. There, she molded us and taught us what philanthropy is all about. In large part due to her past efforts, the SC awarded a record-breaking number of grants this year to deserving nonprofits.
I was proud and humbled to be under her glamorous wings, as were all her friends. She wasn't an easy woman by a long shot, but she knew what was best and never wanted to settle for anything less than what her unerring vision dictated. I admired her for that, along with many of her other fine traits.
She was tenacious, kind, giving, forceful, determined, loving to her friends, sentimental and always, always, always positive. I don't think I ever saw her without a smile on that beautiful face. Beyond the Service Club, her reach stretched far into the nonprofit world and made Chicago a much better place to live.
In the end, she preferred to be alone with those nearest and dearest. She was truly one of a kind, the best kind in my book, and the world will be a less joyful place without her in it.