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Jean Cleland
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October 25, 2013
Dear Carter,
My thoughts are with you and your family on the loss of a very special lady -- one whom I regarded greatly and whose kindness to my mother when she just moved here in the early 80's from Cleveland to Glenview to be near me will always be appreciated.

Among the first things Mom did was go to Glenview villege to discover what services might be helpful to her. After her first meeting, she told me about this lovely young woman social worker who represented the North Shore Senior Center, and how grateful she was to meet such a kind, knowledgeable and helpful lady.

When I first met Jean after I'd joined NSSC in 2000, I told here how much my mother thought of her, and gave Jean my heartfelt thanks for her kindness in those early 80's to this new arrival from Cleveland who came to be near her "kid" in Glenview.

Jean thanked me and said with a big grin "please be sure to tell my boss" Marilyn -- which I did in Jean's presence. We all had a good chuckle and I came to know over the thirteen years at NSSC what a very special lady Jean Cleland is. I use the word "is" because Mother always told me that the good which people do lives on after them, so I know know that the spirit of Jean will always enrich NSSC as it will continue to enrich my life.

Ginny Van Cleve
October 20, 2013
When I think of lovely and very industrious Jean, too many wonderful traits to list come to mind and heart. As neighbors for close to 50 years, we witnessed her tremendous patience and enthusiasm with and for her sizable and delightful, family; we shared in block events; we witnessed her great endorsement of social work, and in general felt her to be one lovely, talented person whom we shall always miss. A sweet poem occurred to me to comfort her family and all of us who will miss her. It is:

Those we love don't go away;
They walk beside us every day.
Unseen, unheard, but always near,
Still loved,still missed. and always near."
October 14, 2013
This little poem came to me after I attended the memorial gathering at her home:


filled the rooms
of the home she loved
on the day so many
gathered to share memories.

The laden table
symbolized her life
which was nourished by
family, faith, and
a search for social justice.
October 08, 2013
I had the honor of working with Jean at North Shore Senior Center for many years. She has been such an inspiration to me on many levels -- her determination to continue helping others, vast knowledge of issues, continued quest for learning new things, calm demeanor, sense of humor, and, above all, she was such a nice, sweet person. I will always remember the Community Education projects we worked on together and her ability to gauge the current topics and senior issues of the day that people would be interested in. My condolences to the Cleland family - she is missed.
September 30, 2013
I am extremely grateful for the witness of Jean. She took seriously her commitment to justice for all. So did Bob! What a great couple. You have my sympathy.
September 28, 2013
It has been my great honor to know Jean for 12 (short) years.
I will always be grateful for the kindness and generosity which she showed me.
That sentiment is extended to all of the Cleland family et al. as well.
Farewell Jean, and thank you .
September 27, 2013
I took my favorite cousin, Jean Rolfing (Cleland) to the Northwestern Midshipmen's Ball in 1943. What a great dancer she was! ("I could have danced all night") A woman of many talents!
Bill Muenster
September 27, 2013
My condolences to you and your family. Your mother was an exceptional woman who stood for everything that was good and righteous. She really made a difference!
September 27, 2013
Jean was an amazing role model for all of us. I feel blessed to have known her and to have learned so much from her in the 20+ years that I worked with her. My condolences to your family.
September 27, 2013
Dear Carter,
So sorry about the loss of your mother. I have fond memories of playing in your backyard in grade school. I will always remember your mom with great fondness.
love, Katie Miller
September 27, 2013
Jean was an amazing person and an inspiration to so many of us. She will be missed but continue to live in our hearts and minds as we work to improve the community we live in. Thank you Jean!
September 26, 2013
Our thoughts and love go out to everyone in the family. - Elena, Reuben, and Tania
September 25, 2013
Trena and Family - my condolences, thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
September 25, 2013
I was so saddened to read of your mother's death. All the Bradens knew what a committed activist she was, and she must have been a terrific mother to have such lovely children. I wish you peace.
Pat Braden Albu
September 25, 2013
It was a privilege to be involved in the home care of your mom & dad...wonderful people & so sincere. My condolences to all the family,
Jenny Vollen
September 25, 2013
Trena and Cleland Family - sending my condolences, thoughts and prayers to you and your family.
September 25, 2013
To all of my Cleland buddies... Your mom Was a great lady! Had much fun in the back yard. She will live on in our memories and in the wonderful offspring she raised!
September 25, 2013
Dear Clelands,
Your parents inspired us so much! My husband, Harry (who died last year) and I knew them through Central School in Wilmette, and then through the various political causes that they were passionate about. I, who had five children, (many of them friends of yours, Sally, Lele, Katie, Tish, Blair,) was inspired and reassured that it was "OK" to be so involved in unpopular causes such as Open Housing and nuclear disarmament because your mom was doing it.

I must say, your mother was the most beautiful woman I ever met. Your dad was no slouch either...what a pair. I know you miss them. I cherish their memory. With love, Lucia
September 25, 2013
Jean was a shining light of warmth, compassion and singleness of purpose in the cause of justice. I will always "see" her quietly beautiful presence.
September 25, 2013
Love and prayers to all of you!I have the greatest memories of playing in your backyard on the "zip-line" and your mom's little face smiling through the window. Trena- you have so many of her best qualities. She impacted so many lives and will be well-remembered.
September 24, 2013
Oh, dear Cleland family, thank you for posting all these wonderful pictures, which let me see you over many years.... It was such a treat. There is such peace and beauty in both your mom and dad.

What inspiring people they were. What a privilege to know them a bit.
September 23, 2013
Jean's face told who she was. A woman with a gentle, spirited smile. A woman who never believed her work would be done.But never tired of work that would make the lives others changed for the better.
Ellen and Ed McManus
September 23, 2013
Our sincere sympathy and prayers for the Cleland family on the loss of your mother. She was a very gracious and generous lady and we are proud to have met and known her and the family through our association with "Pine Rose"
September 23, 2013
Jean Cleland was an important part of my life during the nearly tens years that I lived in Chicago. She was like a second mother to me. I am so blessed to have known her and to have experienced her love and wisdom. The world will miss her presence, but her spirit shines on. Thank you Jean for all that you have done for humanity.
September 23, 2013
It was my good fortune to have met Jean several years ago when I was doing advocacy work on Medicare and Social Security. She was a special person and a delight to work with. She invited me to be a speaker at a special program at the North Shore Senior Center involving Medicare changes. I received a note from her earlier this year which I will always cherish. She has left a wonderful legacy due to the many contributions she made through her advocacy work. She will be missed greatly. My sincere condolences to her family.
September 23, 2013
I add my own tribute to Jean as a civil rights leader.

Jean R. Cleland never shied away from controversy, from doing what was right, what was "open-minded and enlightened" -- "what Jesus would want me to be doing," she recently said to me -- ever since her childhood in Cincinnati where she befriended African Americans at an interracial high school.

Jean was my moral compass at Open Communities for the last twenty years. It was my greatest privilege to work with her when she was on the Board of Directors, especially when she brokered a community meeting between motel residents threatened with displacement and the Village Board of Morton Grove, ending in handshakes and humility. Jean was about justice and fairness first and foremost.

Jean was a founder of Open Communities in 1972, then called the North Shore Interfaith Housing Council. Before this, she was an integral part of the grassroots North Shore Summer Project which aimed to integrate the housing market against rampant discrimination against "Negroes, Jews, and Orientals." She and her husband were early fair housing testers and actively assisted African Americans to move to Wilmette and neighboring suburbs.

Jean chaired the Wilmette Housing Commission when the Village created it in 1980 and was instrumental in getting Gates Manor, the suburb's first low-income rental building, built in Wilmette, on land owned by her church at the time, First Congregational U.C.C. Her husband, who died a few years ago, was the equally wonderful Bob Cleland, a founder of the North Suburban Peace Initiative and active in so many causes including fair housing.

Jean and Bob were about, and embodied, welcome. Whether it was as a large family with six children, as next-door neighbors, as community, interfaith and church leaders, or as people who would shelter families during the Sanctuary Movement, they were clear, grounded, and warm. Both of them lived the credo, "To those whom much is given, much is expected."

Open Communities and I will miss Jean Cleland, the finest human being I have known, and an example to all who seek inspiration from people of faith or high moral principle in the difficult but most deeply essential cause of racial and economic justice.

Gail Schechter
Executive Director, Open Communities
September 23, 2013
Dear Cleland family,

Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Jean was a very special lady I had the honor of working with her at the NSSC. We participated on many committees together, I learned a lot from such a caring and loving individual.


Bill Lustig
Northfield Police Chief
September 22, 2013
Jean was a very special person. I had the pleasure of working with her on many occasions at the North Shore Senior Center an liked her immensely. She was particularly compassionate and knowledgeable about social programs and made invaluable contributions to the well being of seniors on the North Shore. We all will cherish her memory.
September 22, 2013
May the "God of all comfort" be with you in the days ahead.
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