Friday, July 29, 2016


Recently I received the following email:

First, thank you very much for posting Sam Daniel z"l headstone at Waldheim. You even had his picture - how in the world did you obtain that? I found his tombstone last year, but it did not have the picture.

I do have an interesting question, but allow me to give you some background first: My maternal grandfather, Haskell Daniels z"l, is also buried at Waldheim. He was shot and murdered by burglars at the Liggett Drug Store at the Northwestern Train Depot in Chicago on July 28, 1935. 

Wow!  We know murders happen all the time in Chicago but it very sobering to find someone who has a personal connection to someone who was murdered.

Back in April of 2012 I told the story of waiter/actor Harry Iglowitz who was gunned down in cold blood in front of the Parody Cafe in downtown Chicago on December 5, 1927:

In telling Harry's story I pointed out that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  We can say the same about Haskell Daniels.  Before we look at the circumstances surrounding his murder, let's see what other information we can "dig up" about him.

Y'chezkayal bar Danial was born May 15, 1899 in Urmia, Azarbayjan-e Bakhtari, Iran.  Family legend says he was Assyrian/Armenian and Persian.  Like many immigrants, the man we now call Haskell Daniels changed his "English" name several times during his lifetime. The family has a business card of his that says "Haskel Daneal"; his marriage certificate from 1920 says "Haskel Danial"; when his first child was born in 1921, it was "Haskell Daniel" and by the time his youngest daughter was born in 1928, his name was "Haskell Daniels."  In this story about him, we'll call him "Haskell Daniels."

Haskell Daniels came to the US in 1913 and joined his brother Sam Daniel who was already living in Chicago.  Unfortunately Sam Daniel died on May 15, 1914.

We don't know too much about the parentage of Haskell or Sam.  In one death record, Sam's father is listed as "Ezuler" Daniel, and in another it is listed as "Ez?l?" Daniel.  Nothing is known of their mother.

On a happier note, Haskell Daniel married Sophie, nee Glick (1900-1988) on August 22, 1920 in Chicago.  Sophie Glick was born Bathshewa Shtiglick in Ruzin, in the Zhytomyr region of Ukraine.  In 1891 the population of Zhytomyr province was 69,785 of which 24,062 were Jews.  In later years Sophie related that her family left Ukraine to escape the constant pogroms like the one that occurred May 7-8, 1905 in which 10 Jewish children were murdered.

Sophie's father was Rabbi Joel David Shtiglick (1875-1951).  He was both a rabbi and a cantor.  He, too, Americanized his last name to "Glick."  Sophie's mother was Bronna Rivka "Rebecca" Glick (1872-1917).  Sophie and her family came to the U.S. in 1911.

Haskell Daniels is not listed in the 1920 US Census, but the family has a business card that says:

Haskell Daneal
Dealer in Madeira Cluny Laces, Lace Curtains, Table Linens, Bedspreads and Silk Underwear
Office:  1039 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois
Phone:  Canal-0295

Residence 1403 W. Roosevelt Road

A new apartment building stands at 1403 W. Roosevelt Road today. 1039 W. Roosevelt Road is now a park.

Haskell and Sophie were blessed with three children:  Daniel (1921-2003), Reva (b. 1923), and Sybil (b. 1928).

Haskell Daniels and his family did participate in the 1930 US Census. It showed them living in an apartment at 3123 W. 15th Street in Chicago:

3123 W. 15th Street, Chicago

They paid $43.00 per month rent for their apartment.  35-year-old Haskell reported his occupation as "Elevator (Operator) in a Depot." There was also 27-year-old Sophie, 9-year-old Daniel, 7- year-old Riva, and 2-year-old Ceba.  Haskell reported his mother-tongue as "Hebrew," Sophie said hers was "Jewish."  Also living with them was a "Lodger" - 45-year-old Mike Jacob who was from Persia and was a porter at the depot.  Mike Jacob's mother-tongue was also "Hebrew."  They were not naturalized citizens yet, but had filed papers to start the process.

That brings us up to that fateful day: July 28, 1935.  Haskell Daniels was working as an elevator operator at the Northwestern Depot in Chicago.

What took place made the headlines of the Chicago Daily Tribune from July 29, 1935:

Robbers Raid Station; Routed in Gun Battle

An elevator operator was killed, a robber fatally shot, and a policeman seriously wounded late last night in a pistol battle that followed a holdup of Liggett's drug store in the Chicago and North Western station.  The wounded robber was captured and died early today in the Bridewell hospital.  His two companions escaped with the money, about $125, they had taken from the store.

All the shooting, in which two policemen and the trio of bandits took part, occurred in the broad lobby of the station and was witnessed by dozens of passengers passing through to board late trains.  These witnesses first paused in astonishment and then scurried hastily for cover as the bullets spattered against the walls or crashed through the windows of the stores around the lobby.

Policeman Shot in Head.

Daniel Haskell (sic), 30 years old, was the man slain on the spot. The wounded policeman, who was struck in the neck and the right side of the jaw, is James H. Frawley, 39 years old, 3851 North Kedvale avenue, of the homicide squad.  The slain bandit was identified as Samuel Manno, 25 years old, 825 South Marshfield avenue.

He was shot down by Policeman Franklin Smith, 38 years old, 4259 North Hamlin avenue, of the bureau of identification, after he and his companions had wounded Frawley and had separated in their effort to escape.  Possessor of a long police record, Manno remained tough in the hospital.  He declined the rites for the dying and refused to tell who his companions were.

Shot Warns Policeman.

Policemen Frawley and Smith, released only a short time before from their duties at the detective bureau, were in the lobby awaiting a suburban train when they heard a shot in the drug store, which is near the south west corner of the lobby.  This shot, supposedly was intended for Haskell, who had just stepped from an elevator beside the only one of the three store entrances that was open.

Its significance was recognized by the policemen, who were spending their waiting time playing a marble machine near the staircase at the north side of the lobby that leads to the train shed.

"It's a stickup," said Frawley to Smith.  "You take the Clinton street entrance.  I'll keep them from getting out on the Madison street side."

Elevator Operator Slain.

As Smith hurried over to take his place Frawley moved toward the drug store door.  At this moment the robbers pushed through the store door. Haskell, who had stood rooted with astonishment and fear when he was fired on first, was directly in their path still.  Two bullets were poured into his body and he fell.

Frawley promptly began shooting and the three bandits turned their guns against him.  One bullet struck him and the others plunked into a post behind him. As he dropped, the gunmen ran in different directions. Manno, pistol in hand, darted toward the Clinton street entrance. He fired at Smith, but the policeman was the better shot and his bullets struck the bandit twice in the abdomen. Manno plunged forward on his face directly in the entrance.

Two Bandits Escape.

Another of the bandits ran past the stricken Frawley and up the stairs to the train shed. On the way he threatened Otto Bottger, a railroad telegrapher from Crystal Falls, Mich., with his gun. Then he ran out on the platform and disappeared among the cars standing on the tracks.

What became of the third bandit was not learned. It was believed by the police that he concealed his pistol and mingled in the crowd of several hundred that quickly gathered in the lobby, thus escaping detection. One suspect was arrested by Sergt. John Gapinaki of the detective bureau, but there was no certainty he belonged to the gang.

Employees of Liggett's store told the police what had happened during the robbery. Peter J. Zaremba, 3236 Elston avenue, manager, said the trio had entered in the guise of customers shortly before closing time. As the others lounged up to a counter, one man went to Louis Herzer, 65 years old, 2143 Humboldt boulevard, a floor-man, who was putting money in the safe. and, without warning, crashed a pistol butt against his head.

Robber Flees with Bills.

Herzer dropped with a stifled cry.  The robber was about to go through the drawers of the safe, which held about $3,000, when one of his companions saw Haskell outside and cried: "We're trapped." He then fired the shot that attracted the attention of the policemen.

The robber at the safe became alarmed. He was nearer to the door than the others and was first out. He, it was believed, was the one who killed Haskell and wounded Frawley, and was probably the man who threatened Bottger.

Policeman Frawley was taken to the Mother Cabrini hospital. Physicians, after examining his wounds, said he had a chance for recovery, but that a blood transfusion might be necessary. A decision on this point will be made this morning. Twenty-five policemen, among them Frawley's partner, Detective James Sullivan, volunteered to give their blood.

Frawley is married and the father of two small children. His wife and his mother, Mrs. Mary Frawley, 17 West Maple street, were at the bedside early today.

In the editions of July 30th, the Tribune still had Haskell Daniels' name backwards:

Wounded Policeman Is Given Chance to Live.

Police squads combed the west side yesterday and last night for three of a band of four gunmen who late Sunday night killed one man and seriously wounded a policeman in a robbery raid on the Liggett drug store in the Chicago and Northwestern railway station.  The fourth bandit was fatally wounded during the revolver battle in the station lobby after the holdup.

Policeman James H. Frawley, 39 years old, 3851 North Kedvale avenue, of the homicide squad, who was shot in the right side of his jaw, was reported to have an excellent chance to recover at the Mother Cabrini hospital yesterday.  At first his condition was considered critical, but a blood transfusion which physicians earlier considered vital for Frawley, was pronounced unnecessary.

Elevator Operator Slain.

Daniel Haskell, 38 years old, 1257 Washburne avenue, an elevator operator in the depot, was slain by the robbers when he inadvertently stepped into their paths of escape.  Dozens of persons waiting for late suburban trains witnessed the gun battle between the robbers and Policemen Frawley and  Franklyn Smith, 38 years old, 4259 North Hamlin avenue, of the bureau of identification.

Both policemen were in the station, awaiting the departure of trains, when they heard the robbers' first shot.  They separated immediately to halt the gunmen's flight - at the Clinton street and Madison avenue entrances to the station.  Frawley had started toward the Madison street entrance when he encountered the gunmen as they left the store and shot down Haskell.

Slain Bandit Has Record.

Sam Manno, 22 years old, 825 South Marshfield avenue, the slain bandit, had been arrested several times previously as a robber suspect, police department records showed. Three known companions of Manno who were arrested several months ago as robber suspects were being sought for questioning yesterday.  They are Louis Filecetti, Joseph Gallichio, and James Micelli.

Vincent Farrindino, 29 years old, 1009 Cypress street, was taken into custody when the police received information that he had been a close friend of the slain bandit.  He denied that he had been with Manno Sunday night, asserting that he had been at a lake beach with a young woman until 3 o'clock yesterday morning.

Manager Slugged at Safe.

Louis Herzer, 65 years old, 2143 Humboldt boulevard, manager of the drug store, was preparing to close the store for the night and was placing money in the safe when the four bandits sauntered in. One of the quartet had walked back of the counter and struck Herzer over the head with a pistol when one of the store employees sounded an alarm in the lobby of the station.  This alarm, followed quickly by a shot as the frightened bandits fled, firing at Haskell, attracted the attention of the two policemen.

Policeman Frawley fired several shots at the scattering group before he fell wounded, and Policeman Smith, who had hurried to guard the Clinton street entrances of the building, shot down the fleeing Manno as the bandit fired twice at him.

It was first reported that the bandits had gotten $125 from the safe, but it later was found that in their fright and rush to escape they had obtained nothing.

An inquest into the deaths of Manno and Haskell will be held at the county morgue this morning.    

By Wednesday, July 31st, the story hardly gets a mention but the Tribune finally got Haskell Daniels' name right:


Tony Spranze, 23 years old, 311 South Leavitt street, who was arrested at the scene of the robbery and shooting in Liggett's drug store in the North Western railroad depot Sunday night, confessed to the police yesterday that he acted as lookout for the robbers. One of his companions, Sam Manno, and an elevator operator, Haskell Daniels, were killed, and Policeman James H. Frawley was wounded in a pistol battle that followed the robbery. In previous reports of the case Daniels' name has been given  as Daniel Haskell.

In his confession yesterday Spranze named Joe Mirrabella, alias Belmonti, and Joseph Gallichio as two of the robbers. The police are also seeking James Micelli, a companion of Manno, as a suspect.

Squads under Sergt. John Hanrahan raided an apartment at 1344 Elburn avenue in a hunt for the robbers and seized James Mirro, 24 years old; Paul Pelletier, 32 years old, and his two brothers, Rocco, 17, and John, 24. Two pistols were found in the apartment.

Vincent Ferrindino, who was being held by the police as a suspect, was pointed out by a witness at a showup yesterday at the detective bureau as resembling one of the robbers.

Here is Haskell's death certificate, filled out after the inquest: 

Haskell Daniels was buried on June 30, 1935, at Jewish Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, at Gate #37 - Progressive Order of the West - Section 44N, Row 77, Lot 314, Grave 3:

I have written before in this blog about the "other victims" when someone is murdered - the deceased person's family and friends. The widow, Sophie Daniels could not be immediately located by the authorities - this was before the days when one's every move could be tracked.  Young Daniel Daniels was the one who found out first about his father's murder.  He was at camp somewhere in Chicago and it was broadcast on the radio.  Someone brought Danny into the camp office and he heard the radio broadcast about his father.  What a way to hear about your own father's death! Someone from the camp gave him a ride to Sophie's parents' house and that's where he told Reva.  Because of the crimes of Sam Manno and company, Sophie Daniels was left to raise her three children alone - but the shock was too much and shortly after her husband's murder, Sophie Daniels suffered a nervous breakdown.  

Sophie died in 1988, and Daniel Daniels died in 2003, but Haskell's two daughters, Reva and Sybil are still very much alive as I write this story 81 years to the day after Haskell was killed.  I'm sure that there is not a day that goes by when they don't think about their father taken from them when they were just eleven and six.  

Here's what Haskell's granddaughter had to say about this:

What makes the story of my grandfather's murder even more sad (if that were possible) is that he was murdered the day before my mother's birthday.  He was murdered Sunday, July 28, 1935.  My mother's birthday is July 29; it was her 7th birthday.  Family lore has it that he was carrying my mother's birthday present under his arm at the time of the hold-up and subsequent murder.  I also have a copy of the coroner's report; the date on that is July 30, 1935.

For many years my mother thought her father was murdered on her birthday.  About 25 or 30 years ago, I took her to Waldheim and showed her the true date of death.  You could see mixture of relief and sadness on her face.  I told her that between the date on the tombstone and the date on the coroner's report, there was absolutely no way her father was killed (or for that matter, buried) on her birthday.

Haskell Daniels, who came to this country hoping for a better life, instead had his life ended by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  May he rest in peace.

Haskell Daniels

Friday, July 15, 2016

THE BEST POLITICAL REPORTER EVER - John Madigan, WBBM Newsradio Sssssseventy-eight!

I am, and always have been, a political junkie.  When I was growing up politics was always a topic for lively discussion in our home  - especially around the dinner table.  My family had a lot of material for these discussions:  we bought all four Chicago newspapers every day. The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times that were morning papers, and the Chicago American and Chicago Daily News that were afternoon papers.  Even though my parents were both staunch straight-ticket Democrats, there was always a lot of politics to discuss.  In the 1960 election for example, John F. Kennedy who my parents idolized, was on the national ticket, so any news about Kennedy would be part of our dinnertime conversation.  And in addition to the national political scene, there were always state, county and local elections to be examined. 

Along with reading all four newspapers, we watched the news on television (Fahey Flynn) and listened to the news on the radio.  And that brings me to the subject of this week's blog article.  It's about a little Irishman with a twinkle in his eye (not Fahey Flynn), and more political stories, statistics and information in his head than all the other political reporters put together: John Madigan.  He had Washington experience, to be sure, but it was here in Chicago where his star really shone.   

Let's see what we can "dig up" about this outstanding Chicagoan and see if they fulfilled his last request:  "All I hope they put on my tombstone is: ‘He was fair.’ That’s all I want.”

John Joseph Madigan, Jr., was born January 11, 1918 in Chicago to John Joseph Madigan (1886-1973) and Annie, nee Cotton (1888-1925).  John and Annie were both native Chicagoans and were married in Chicago in 1908.  They were blessed with five children: Margaret Mary (1909-2002), Mary Rita (1911-1985), Eleanor T. (1913-1998), John J. (1918-2012), and James F. (1920-1944).  John J. Madigan, Sr. had several jobs through the years.  In the 1910 Census he was a "Office Clerk for a Packing Company."  In the 1930 Census he was the "Secretary/Treasurer of a Lumber Company."   In the 1940 Census he was a "Salesman for a Service Products Company."  On his death certificate they put his occupation as "Business," which probably sums it up pretty well.

Other than on his birth certificate, John Jr. makes his first appearance in the 1920 US Census.  The Madigans were living at 6212 S. Rockwell in Chicago.  

6212 S. Rockwell, Chicago

In addition to 2 year old John Jr., there were of course his parents John and Annie, and siblings Margaret, Mary and Eleanor.  In addition, Annie's sister Margaret Cotton was living with the Madigans.  

John's mother Annie died on April 28, 1925, when he was only 8 years old.  The cause of death was complications from cancer. Annie Madigan was 36 years old when she died.  Here is a copy of her death certificate:

The 1930 US Census finds the Madigan family still at 6212 S. Rockwell.  They told the census taker that they owned the building and that it was worth $8,000.00.  The census reflected one addition and one loss:  in December of 1920 James F. Madigan joined the family, and Annie had, of course, died in 1925.  The family now consisted of John Madigan, Sr., the three girls and the two boys. Margaret Cotton, Annie's sister, was still living with them as well. John Jr. was twelve years old and in school.

Along the way, young John picked up the nickname "Red" for his crimson hair, which eventually turned white. After leaving college because his family couldn't afford tuition, he started in journalism in 1937 as a copy boy for Hearst's Chicago Herald-American newspaper.

Times were tough for people during the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Madigan family was no exception.  

In 1930 they were living in a two-flat they owned at 6212 S. Rockwell. By the 1940 US Census they were living in an apartment they rented for $65.00 per month at 6200 S. Maplewood in Chicago.

6200 S. Maplewood, Chicago

I could not verify whether they lost the building on Rockwell or sold it, but they were property owners at the beginning of the Great Depression and by the end of it they were renters.

Left at home with John Madigan, Sr., were Mary, John Jr., and James, along with Margaret Cotton.  22 year old John Jr. told the census taker that he was a Reporter for the American Publishing Company. 

On June 8, 1942 John Madigan, Jr., married Dolores Helen Hanlon (1921-1992) in Chicago.  

Dolores Helen Hanlon was born October 21, 1921 in Chicago to Edward J. Hanlon (1894-1939) and Mary F., nee Coleman (1895-1969). Edward Hanlon was the Safety Director for a Public Utility Company. Dolores was an only-child. 

Dolores and John Madigan were blessed with three children: actress Amy Madigan (b. 1950), Jack and Jim. 

Both John Madigan and his younger brother James Madigan served their country in World War II.  John was in the US Navy - a press officer on a ship stationed in the Pacific.  James F. Madigan was a PFC in the Army.  

James F. Madigan made the Supreme Sacrifice on September 27, 1944.  He was a member of the 81st Infantry Division, and lost his life in the battle for the Palau Islands.  He is buried in the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Philippines.

For heroism during the war, John Madigan was awarded the Bronze Star. 

John Madigan returned from the war and resumed his career at the Chicago American newspaper, but now as a reporter.   In January of 1946, less than a month after his return from the service, he was put on what turned out to be one of the largest local stories of his career, the case of "Lipstick Killer" William Heirens. 

The story of serial killer William Heirens can be found here:

Madigan served as political editor at the Chicago American from 1951-1953. In 1952, he covered the first presidential campaign that used airplanes to move around the country.  In 1953 he was promoted to assistant managing editor and transferred to Hearst's Washington Bureau, and on December 6, 1953 was a panelist on "Meet the Press," at that time hosted by Lawrence Spivak.  

He joined Newsweek Magazine's capital bureau in Washington in 1954. During this period he was chosen to be the moderator for CBS' answer to "Meet the Press" called "Face the Nation" which premiered on November 7, 1954.   

In 1961 Madigan returned to Chicago and joined WBBM TV, the CBS affiliate.  In 1962 he was promoted to editorial assistant to the general manager, and in 1963, Madigan became news director of WBBM Ch. 2, where he was moderator of the show "At Random." 

He was also responsible for the legislative report "Capitol Hill to Chicago," and moderator of the program "Target:News."

During his tenure as news director he famously hired two of the station’s most high-profile journalists, Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson. In addition to Kurtis and Jacobson, Madigan was also responsible for hiring, among others, Harry Porterfield and Johnny Morris.

After working as news director at WBBM-TV Channel 2, he was part of the team that converted WBBM-AM radio to an all-news station in 1968.

On radio, he handled a number of on-air duties and became known for his signature sign off "WBBM, Newsradio Ssssseventy-Eight." He said he took that from the drawn out "S" he employed when shooting dice in the Navy and banking on a number starting with that letter.

During this period the Madigans were living at 1440 N Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.  

1440 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

John Madigan was not universally loved by his colleagues.  One of the terms used most frequently to describe him was "curmudgeon," but he was universally respected. 

"John had a way of being a tough questioner, but not always antagonistic," said Craig Dellimore, who now hosts Mr. Madigan's Sunday program "At Issue" on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM.  "I think John saw himself as someone who was helping people understand politics in Chicago, which is sometimes inexplicable.

Madigan interviewed many historical figures through his career. Looking back in a 1971 article, he reflected that "President Nixon didn't know how to smile ... Adlai Stevenson got angry at the questions ... (poet) Allen Ginsberg had the foulest tongue ... Dr. Martin Luther King was the calmest."

John's wife Dolores Madigan died after a long battle with cancer on September 13, 1992.  Here is her obituary from the Chicago Tribune of September 15, 1992:


Dolores H. Madigan, 70, who served on the administrative staff of Teamster Local 705, had been a featured performer with an amateur theatrical group in South Shore for many years. She was the wife of longtime radio news commentator John J. Madigan and the mother of actress Amy Madigan.

A resident of North Lake Shore Drive, she died Sunday in Northwestern Memorial Hospital after a long fight with cancer.

``She could sing and dance and had quite a good voice,`` her daughter said.  ``My mother was one of the bright spots of a theatrical group that called itself the SPN Players.  She could probably have been professional, but chose instead to take care of us kids, and I`m glad for that.  From when I was in grade school growing up, I have fond memories of her doing roles or skits such as Hildegarde and Auntie Mame.  When I got into school plays and elocution contests, I felt like I was following in her footsteps.``

Mrs. Madigan, for the last 10 years, has been a section supervisor for the Teamster local, handling sick leave provisions and other benefits for union members. She formerly was assistant credit manager for the Drake Hotel. Survivors, besides her husband and daughter, include: two sons, Jack and Jim; and two grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2 to 10 p.m. Tuesday in Blake-Lamb Funeral Home, 1035 N. Dearborn St.

Mass for Mrs. Madigan will be said at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Holy Name Cathedral, Superior and State Streets.

She is buried in Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery in Worth, Illinois:

In addition to his other duties as news director at Newsradio 78, Madigan delivered a daily media critique entitled "John Madigan Views the Press," that aired for two and half minutes five times a week from September, 1972 to February, 1988.

In 1993, John Madigan married for the second time to Elizabeth Kearns (b. 1926).

Madigan always viewed the freedom of the press as the cornerstone of a free society.   Reporting the news was always serious business to him.  When the city saluted movie critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert by naming the street adjacent to their old CBS studio on McClurg Court “Honorary Siskel & Ebert Way,” Madigan wrote an op-ed piece in the Sun-Times objecting to the designation, calling it “an insult to Fahey Flynn, P.J. Hoff, John Harrington, Les Atlass and so many more who led CBS to greatness in Chicago, in both radio and television.”

Ald. Ed Vrdolyak, John Madigan, Amy Madigan, Ed Harris

John Madigan retired from WBBM in 1988, but continued to host the weekly "At Issue" public affairs interview program on Newsradio 780 for the next nine years.  During this period he became chief spokesman for the Illinois Supreme Court.   He fully retired in 1998 at the age of 80.

Despite an often cantankerous demeanor, underscored by his predilection for formal suits and black-rimmed glasses, colleagues and family said Mr. Madigan had a soft side.

His wife Elizabeth recalled that just before the two were set to be married in 1993 she woke up paralyzed from the waist down from an inflammatory neurological disorder.

"I said, 'Listen, Red, you better bail out because I might end up in a wheelchair for the rest of my life,'" she said.  "And he said to me, 'What kind of man do you think I am?  We're going down the aisle in September even if you're in a wheelchair.'"  Ultimately Elizabeth Madigan was able to regain her ability to walk.

In later years, the couple split their time between homes in Grand Beach, Mich., and Florida.  Mr. Madigan enjoyed golf, bridge and opera, his wife said, but no matter where they were he always stayed fully informed about Illinois politics and Illinois politicians.

Even after suffering a stroke in 2009, Madigan was still a voracious consumer of news and politics.

John Madigan died in Lauderhill, Florida on March 5, 2012 of complications from a stroke.  He was 94 years old.  

His body was returned to Illinois and he was buried next to his first wife Dolores at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Worth, Illinois. Was his last request:  "All I hope they put on my tombstone is: ‘He was fair.’ That’s all I want.” carried out?  Unfortunately, it was not. When I visited Holy Sepulchre cemetery recently I was surprised to find that John Madigan's grave is not marked.

Throughout the course of our lives we hear hundreds of people read the news.  For a political junkie like me, it's probably thousands of  people.  What was it about John Madigan that was different than all the rest?  What was it about him that had me glued to the radio every election night?  John Madigan not only knew all the players in the political game, it was more than that.  Madigan had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Illinois matters political.  In an age before the internet was even thought of, he could reach back into his great store of knowledge and compare current election results to results of previous elections.

For example - in the 1983 mayoral election he would say something like "Harold Washington beat Bernard Epton by 51.7% to 48.0%. Contrast that with Mayor Daley's first mayoral victory in 1955 where he beat Robert Merriam by 54.9% to 45.1%."  For a political junkie this was paradise.  He had all these facts and figures at his fingertips and could use them to reflect on the current political scene.  

Or he would come up with something like "Benjamin Adamowski's father, Max Adamowski, was an alderman and tavern owner in Chicago. Young Adamowski served in the Illinois State Legislature, representing the 25th District from 1931-1941.  He later served from 1957 to 1960 as State's Attorney of Cook County. He was a Democrat until 1955, when he was defeated by Richard J. Daley in the Democratic primary for mayor. In later campaigns for State's Attorney and a second bid for mayor against Daley in 1963 he ran as a Republican."  John Madigan was Wikipedia for politicians in a time where Wikipedia did not exist.  

It was truly a delight to listen to John Madigan's election night political commentaries.  Other people read the news, but Madigan lived it.  

John Hultman was one of Madigan’s colleagues at WBBM Newsradio, and remembers how he could tap a vast network of sources from his days in Washington.

“He had, as a former White House correspondent with Newsweek magazine, he had a little black book with lots of names in it, and telephone numbers, for people who could talk to us about politics,” Hultman said, “and he would find them in a poker game or some club.”

In these days of 24 hour news cycles and cable news "readers" newsmen like Madigan do not exist anymore.  So much the worse for us.

Another of Madigan's foibles was his insistence on accuracy. "Reporting the correct facts was always uppermost for him," said Jim Benes, an editor for WBBM radio who worked with Mr. Madigan.

"John would find some arcane detail and would put it in front of your face and say, 'Do we know that for sure?'" Benes said.

Unfortunately accuracy is another casualty in today's world of news.

In 2016 we are witnessing a struggle for the White House unlike any we have seen so far.  We political junkies will enjoy every minute of all of the 2016 races.  But how much more enjoyable would they be if we had John Madigan to put them in perspective for us?

John Madigan, WBBM Newsradio Sssssseventy-eight - greatly appreciated and sorely missed - may he rest in peace.          

Friday, July 1, 2016


Every generation has its after-school hangouts - places where young people can sit and talk, gossip, or even sometimes do homework (ha ha).  In the 1940s and 1950s the hangout for the young people of Evanston, Illinois was a place called Cooley's Cupboard.  At the height of its popularity there were actually three separate Cooley's Cupboard locations but the one on Orrington was a popular hangout for students from Northwestern University just a few blocks away.

So place your order for two Cooley's specialities, curly fries and a cherry Coke, and let's see what we can "dig up" about Cooley's Cupboard and it's founder, Roy W. Cooley. 

Roy William Cooley was born February 2, 1895 in Niagara Falls, New York, to Fred Horace Cooley (1859-1943) and his wife Anna (1863-????).  Fred and Anna were native New Yorkers, and they had married in New York in 1882.  Fred had started his career as an Express Messinger, but ended his working years as the Superintendent of the Niagara Falls park system.

Fred and Anna Cooley had three sons:  Carl Merritt Cooley (1883-1973), Claude Robert Cooley (1886-1963), and Roy William Cooley (1895-1974).

The 1900 US Census has the Fred Cooley family living at 917 Fairfield Avenue in Niagara Falls, New York.  Unfortunately that site is now a vacant lot.  Young Roy is five years old, and according to the census "at school."

The 1910 Census shows the Cooleys at 2115 Tenth Street in Niagara Falls:

2115 Tenth Street, Niagara Falls, New York

The house had just been built in 1910 and it was a great place to raise a family:  3,900 square feet with 5 bedrooms and a big yard.  I'm sure fifteen year old Roy loved his new home.  Fred was working as a messenger for the express company; Anna kept house, Claude was a bookkeeper for a bank, and Roy was in school.  Carl had already moved out on his own, but the Cooleys had a boarder:  twenty-five year old Frank D. Hibbard, who worked for the Railway Express.

Roy Cooley registered for the draft on May 31, 1917.  We learn some interesting things about Roy from his registration card.  He was attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where he was a medical student.  Under the section "Do you claim exemption from the Draft?" He wrote "Yes - physical disability - Conscientious Objections." I can imagine how that was received by the Draft Board.

On March 9, 1918 Roy W. Cooley married Henrietta D. Catlow (1897-1968)  in Evanston, Illinois.  The groom was 23 - the bride was 20.  Henrietta came from an old Evanston family.  Her father, Thomas Catlow (1857-1919) was a railway engineer.  Her mother was Sarah E., nee Schierding (1857-1946).  Henrietta had a half brother - Joseph Raymond Catlow (1879-1961).

Roy and Henrietta were blessed with two daughters:  Jane Gray Cooley (1919-1990) and Lois Ann Cooley (b. 1928).

Sometime between 1918 and 1920 Roy Cooley made the decision to quit medical school and remain in Chicagoland. 

The 1920 US Census shows the Roy Cooley family renting an apartment at 617 Michigan Avenue in Evanston,  Roy was twenty-four and chief clerk for a wholesaler.  Henrietta was twenty-two and baby Jane was four months old.

617 Michigan Avenue, Evanston, Illinois

By 1925 the young Cooley family was living at 2304 Grey Avenue in Evanston:

2304 Grey Avenue, Evanston, Illinois

But Roy Cooley was itching to go out on his own.  First as a Northwestern student and then living and working in Evanston he saw a need that he thought he could fill.  Not for another formal dining room - Evanston was full of those - and not another hamburger/hot dog stand - Evanston had those too - but something in between.  In 1925 Roy Cooley opened the first of his "Cooley's Cupboards" at 1630-32 Orrington in Evanston which advertised that they were open for "Luncheons, Dinners, Afternoon Teas and Fountain  Specialities."

Shortly after that Roy Cooley opened his second Cooley's Cupboard - this one at 505 Main Street that he called the "Rendezvous Moderne." Finally, in 1927 he opened the third Cooley's Cupboard, this one at 1511 Chicago Avenue that he called the "Picardy Room."  This was during the boom times of the 1920s and all three Cooley's Cupboards were successful almost from the moment they first opened.

The 1930 US Census shows the Cooley family living at 2230 Lincolnwood Drive in Evanston:

2230 Lincolnwood Drive, Evanston

They told the census taker that they owned this house, and it was worth $20,000.00. Living here were 35 year old Roy - a "proprietor of a restaurant", 33 year old Henrietta, 11 year old Jane, 2 1/2 year old Lois, and live in maid Gertrude Flanagan.

Life was good for the Cooley family, evidenced by the fact that in the mid-1930's they bought another house - this one at 3045 Normandy Place in Evanston:

3045 Normandy Place, Evanston, Illinois

And what a house it was:  5 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, a finished basement, and a slate roof.  3,045 square feet of living space on a lot that is almost 1/3 of an acre.  In the 1940 US Census, Roy Cooley estimated that his house was worth $27,000.00, today its estimated worth is $1,519,000.00.

Roy Cooley always believed that local advertising was a great way to let his customers know what he was offering them.  Here's an ad from October 6, 1935:

and an ad from July 14, 1940:

Here's a Cooley's Cupboard menu from the 1940s:

The 1940 US Census showed the Cooley family living at 3045 Normandy Place in Evanston.  There was forty-four year old Roy, "Owner of Restaurants", forty-two year old Henrietta, twenty year old Jane, and eleven year old Lois.  No live-servants this time around, but Henrietta's eighty-two year old mother Sarah Catlow was living with the Cooleys.

When Roy Cooley registered for the draft in 1942 he no longer claimed Conscientious Objector status.

In the mid 1940's, Roy Cooley expanded his restaurant empire by opening the Tally-Ho Restaurant at 1513 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, and its sister, the Tally-Ho Restaurant at 19 S. Northwest Highway in Park Ridge.

Here's the Tally-Ho in Evanston:

and the one in Park Ridge:

These restaurants were more upscale than the Cooley's Cupboards and offered more formal dining in an English countryside atmosphere.

Here's a menu from the Tally-Ho in Evanston:

But for most Evanstonians, Cooley's Cupboard was still the place to be. Roy Cooley continued to advertise in all the local newspapers, but he found a way to get his share of free advertising as well.  Here's an article from the Chicago Tribune in 1949 that mentioned that a local group was ending their outing "with a late snack at Cooley's Cupboard":

Roy Cooley was also one of the first restaurateurs to recognize the importance of nutrition in the food he sold.  Here's an ad where he advertised the services of a dietician he kept on staff:

Cooley's food was so tasty and so nutricious they were often asked for their recipies.  Here's one included in a cookbook published in 1950:

Roy Cooley continued to advertise the holiday dinners he offered to people without a place to go, or those who just didn't want to bother cooking:

Roy Cooley worked long and hard to put his restaurant empire together but by 1950 it was starting to take its toll on him.  The 5 restaurants (3 Cooley's Cupboards and 2 Tally-Ho) were open seven days a week, plus all holidays.  Cooley was smart enough to put good people in charge but the bottom line was that it was his name on the door.  By 1951 he decided that he had had enough and quietly put out some feelers to people he felt might be interested in buying his restaurants. He was 55 years old and had been in the restaurant business non-stop since 1925.

The Chicago Daily Tribune from December 11, 1951 carried the news:


George D. Hanby, former Walgreen Company executive, yesterday announced the purchase of Cooley's Cupboards, Inc., Evanston restaurant chain for an undisclosed sum.  The sellers were Roy W. Cooley, president of the company, and Raymond H. Keeler, vice president.

The sale covers all five restaurants in the Cooley chain - three Cupboards and one Tally-Ho restaurant in Evanston and another Tally-Ho restaurant in Park Ridge.  The five restaurants have a total seating capacity of 900.

Hanby started his career as a counterman in a Walgreen company store in downtown Chicago in 1925.  By 1945 he had worked his way up to the post of director of food operations for the company.  In 1948 he became president of Nedick's, Inc., an eastern chain of snack shops.  He recently disposed of his interests in that company.

Hanby said the Cooley's name would be retained.  Keeler will remain temporarily with the organization.  Cooley said his plans for the future are uncertain, but that he will retire from the restaurant chain.     

With that, Roy Cooley began to enjoy his well-deserved retirement. 

Roy and Henrietta Cooley spent the 1950s and 1960s traveling and enjoying life.  Jane and Lois were both married, and grandchildren began to join the extended Cooley clan.  Roy toyed with the idea of getting into politics, but that never seemed to go anywhere.  He was often approached by potential partners, both in the restaurant business and out of it, but Roy had worked too hard for too long and was not interested in joining the rat race again.

Henrietta Catlow Cooley died January 21, 1968 from complications from cancer.  She was 70 years old.  Several years before, Roy and Henrietta had purchased two crypts in the mausoleum at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, Illinois, and that is where Henrietta is interred:

Having been happily married for so many years, Roy didn't like life alone.  In 1969 Roy married Helen Matthews Ashenden, the widow of Cook County Commissioner James F. Ashenden.    

Helen and Roy Cooley

Roy Cooley had long ago given up the big house in Evanston - the newlyweds rented an apartment at 2061 Farwell Avenue in Chicago.

2061 W. Farwell, Chicago

At the beginning of 1973, Roy Cooley suffered a debilitating stroke. After spending some time in the hospital, Roy was transferred to the Normandy House Nursing Home in Wilmette, Illinois, at that time said to be the finest nursing home facility in Chicagoland.  Roy Cooley remained in the Normandy House for almost eighteen months.

Roy W. Cooley died July 1, 1974 at the Normandy House.  He was 79 years old and never recovered from the stroke he suffered eighteen months prior.  

Here is his Obituary and Death Notice both from the Chicago Tribune of July 3, 1974:


Roy Cooley was interred next to his first wife Henrietta in the mausoleum at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, Illinois:

The Cooley's Cupboard restaurants survived to the 1960s, the Tally-Ho restaurants were around until the 1970s but all are gone today.

Roy Cooley was a successful restaurateur because he learned early that people love to go out to eat.  They always have and they always will.  Even if it's just for a snack, people love to get out and let someone else to the cooking - and the dishes!

Like Fanny Lazaar, Roy Cooley knew that if you consistently offered people good food at a fair price they would beat a path to your door - and for years Chicagoland beat a path to Roy Cooley's doors - all five of them!

Roy Cooley - restaurateur par excellence - may he rest in peace.