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.