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Friends remember Stroger -- a political 'giant'

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times

Hundreds of friends came together today to remember a political “giant” and count the ways to continue his legacy.

John H. Stroger Jr. was laid to rest nearly two years after he suffered a devastating stroke.

A who’s who of political elite gathered at St. Felicitas Catholic Church to honor the longtime Cook County Board President — including Mayor Daley, U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and a host of aldermen and county commissioners.

The service began with a surprise announcement that former President Bill Clinton would be the first speaker — sending a hush through the church. But then the priest indicated he was mistaken and introduced Daley.

His voice occasionally breaking with emotion, Daley called Stroger “a groundbreaking leader who worked hardest on behalf of those who could not help themselves.”

The mayor’s brother, Cook County Commissioner John Daley, said Stroger gave people “so many reasons to smile, and it’s up to us to pass that smile on to someone else in need.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson called Stroger “a gentle giant,” and an “odds buster who made all of us better.”

Stroger, 78, died Friday from complications related to his stroke.

His family asked that donations be made in his name to either Xavier University in New Orleans, La., or Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is dedicated to ending breast cancer.

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