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posted: 6/12/2010 12:01 AM

Famed Chicago restaurateur dead at 72

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Family members say Chicago cook and restaurant owner Edna Stewart, whose West Side establishment was almost as famous for its political clientele as it was for its soul food, has died less than a week after her 72nd birthday.

Stewart's brother, Sam Mitchell Jr., said she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November and died Friday morning at Rush Oak Park Hospital.

The Chicago native opened Edna's Restaurant in 1966. Her earliest patrons included The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights workers, whom she fed free of charge.

Edna's was soon a magnet for black West Side political leaders, and later drew citywide figures such as Mayor Richard M. Daley.

This year, Gov. Pat Quinn declared Feb. 19 Edna Stewart Day.

Stewart is survived by her brother, a son and daughter, and two sisters.

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