Karen Chavers, who’d served on the staff of County Commissioner Larry Suffredin since he first took office in 2003, died today.

Suffredin said she was a great friend and an inspiration to many.

“Karen lost her fight with illness this morning surrounded by her family,” Suffredin said. As district director, she was “the leader of our team and the moral compass for many social justice initiatives.”

During her career, Chavers, who was born in 1949, also served as treasurer of the Housing Authority of Cook County and from the early 1980s to 2000 led the Evanston Neighborhood Conference and its teen empowerment program.

She also served as an advisory board member of the Evanston-based Shorefront Legacy Center, which collects, preserves and educates people about Black history on Chicago’s North Shore, and was a board member of Turnstone Development, a not-for-profit that creates and preserves affordable housing opportunities for low-income families and seniors.

Services are pending. Suffredin says messages of condolence can be sent to Family of Karen Chavers, c/o 13th District Office, 820 Davis St., Suite 104, Evanston, IL 60201.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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