Ron Chew, 77, 'Peaceful Warrior'

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Ronald Stuart Wilson Chew, 77, died suddenly on June 7, 2011 in Oak Park. Born on July 15, 1933, in Philadelphia, Penn., to Marjorie Oberhaltzer and Russell Chew, he was married to Karla Hoover Chew, his partner in peace for 49 years.

An insurance statistician, teacher and Korean War veteran, Mr. Chew graduated from Michigan State University (B.A.) and Roosevelt University (M.A.) in economics. He enjoyed canoeing, skiing, camping, biking, jogging and hiking (especially in the mountains). A social activist for peace, labor, economic and environmental justice, and poverty, he volunteered at the Columbus Park Food Pantry and West Suburban PADS and was a member of Veterans for Peace and the Oak Park Committee for Truth and Justice. He was also a generous contributor to over 65 organizations, including earthquake relief in Haiti, UUSC-UUA, Partners for Peace, Habitat for Humanity, Oxfam, Lambi Fund, Pakistan flood relief, several American Indian educational organizations and Iraq Veterans Against the War. He also spent several weeks volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans over several years following the hurricane. A member and past president of Third Unitarian Church of Chicago, he was past president of Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community.

He could frequently be seen with the group holding anti-war signs at the Austin Boulevard ramp above the Eisenhower Expressway during the early years of the Iraq war.

His minister at Third Unitarian, Rev. Brian Covell, described Mr. Chew as the "peaceful warrior."

"Ron, for me, was a hero," said his friend, Jim Dickert. Because of his life-threatening diabetic condition, he was constantly facing death, but he acted so fiercely for the betterment of the living."

He and his wife worked with Dick Simpson to found the IVI-IPO (Independent Voters of Illinois – Independent Precinct Organization). A longtime member of the Democratic Party of Oak Park, he worked for progressive candidates in Oak Park, Chicago and surrounding communities.

Ron Chew is survived by his wife, Karla; his son, Ryan Chew (Lindsay Beller); daughter, Tracey Kugelard (Glenn); his grandsons, Jackson and Carter Kugelard; his sisters, Barbara Roy (David) and Nancy Kitch (Gerald); a niece, two nephews and 10 grandnephews and nieces, plus his Irish Doodle puppy Mollie.

A memorial service will be held at Third Unitarian Church at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29. His body was donated to the Anatomical Gift Association.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Third Unitarian Scholarship Fund, 301 N. Mayfield, Chicago, IL 60644.

Reader Comments

6 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Jan Lightfoot from Colorado Springs  

Posted: January 13th, 2014 11:13 AM

Dear Ron, I wish I knew you. I am the semi-wise woman of the All inclusive church to End All Poverty. Our mission top get out the untold story Christ said to give the poor their full need. And that there are at lease 85% of Americas in REAL- POVERTY. Anyone wanting to aid us in our path, send to sister Jan Hoag @ PO Box, 63461, Colorado Springs, CO. Send in her name, as I have yet to get the ordain papers. This will be my 1st aim, then a computer with 6 GB Memory for graphic,&software.

Ron Baiman Co-chair Chicago DSA  

Posted: June 19th, 2011 12:28 PM

Ron will be greatly missed by the many branches of Oak Park's progressive community that he touched. He was one of the founders in 1994 of the Greater Oak Park Democratic Socialists of American (GOPDSA). His quiet dignity and outspoken heart left an indelible mark on this community. He exemplified the very best of Oak Park. Good bye Ron. When you meet Joe Hill in that pie in the sky as I'm sure you will let him know that we're doing our best to live up to your example by going on to organize!

Ron Baiman  

Posted: June 19th, 2011 11:32 AM

I met Ron in 1994 when my family and I moved to Oak Park. He was one of the founders of Greater Oak Park Democratic Socialists of America (GOPDSA, a branch the Chicago Local of the national Democratic S

Andy Berman  

Posted: June 18th, 2011 9:29 PM

Ron was a friend and comrade to me and my family for many years. His dedicated assistance in the fight for justice for minorities and disabled students at OPRF-HS touched us all deeply.

Zae Munn from South Bend, IN  

Posted: June 16th, 2011 8:31 PM

Ron was just at my mom's memorial gathering at 3rd Church on May 28. It was so kind of him to be there and so sad that he has died.

richard henzel from oak park  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 10:39 PM

Three Thursdays ago, and our usual (since 11/2002) thursday morning vigil over the Ike, Ron said to me, "How much longer do you think we'll have to keep doing this?" Well, Ronnie, your duty is done here. Thanks for your companionship, conversation, and deep and passionate commitment to Peace. I will never forget our years together over the Ike. Richard Henzel

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