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Mother of former U.S. senator dies in Evanston

Judith Brady Kirk, the mother of former U.S. Sen Mark Kirk, R-Ill., died peacefully in the McGaw Rehabilitation Center in Evanston, on Aug. 10. She was 84.

Mark Kirk and Judith Brady Kirk.

Judith Brady Kirk, the mother of former U.S. Sen Mark Kirk, R-Ill., died peacefully in the McGaw Rehabilitation Center in Evanston, on Aug. 10. She was 84. The cause of death was acute myeloid leukemia.

Judy, as her friends and family knew her, was a life-long Chicagoan, born on the North Side and residing there, in Park Ridge, Downers Grove, Kenilworth, and Evanston. Judy graduated from Maine Township High School and later studied at Blackburn College in Carlinville before later completing her undergraduate degree at Loyola in Chicago.

She met her first husband, Francis (Frank) Kirk at Blackburn, and helped support him as he served in Korea for the US Army. Their first child, Mark, was born while Frank was studying for a business degree at the University of Illinois at Champaign. Their daughter, Robin, came next followed by Maya.

Judy was active as a volunteer while the family lived in Kenilworth, helping lead a local Girl Scout troop. She loved animals, shepherding a succession of dogs, cats, gerbils, and guinea pigs through the household. She worked for the Human Resources Department at the American Hospital Association, enjoyed a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan.

Her second husband, Robert (Bob) Reeve, brought to the family his three children, Laurie, Barbro, and Tap. Judy loved to travel and visited the American West, Ireland, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Judy supported Mark during his campaigns to represent Illinois’ 10th District in the U.S. House and later during his successful campaign for the U.S. Senate. After her son’s stroke, Judy was constantly at his side with the woman she called her “co-mother,” Frank’s second wife, Beverly Kirk.

Judy loved to read and take her dog, Bear, for walks at the lake. She had devoted friends who she often called “kiddo.” At Westminster Place, she was an enthusiastic ambassador, representative for her floor and book club member. She was a loving grandmother to Frances and Ray. In addition to her children and grandchildren, she is survived by her best friend and sister-in-law, Mary Lou Brady, cousins, and her beloved nephews, Jeff and Kevin Brady and their spouses and children.

A memorial service will be held at Westminster Place when that is possible. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that Judy be remembered with donations to the American Cancer Society.

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