Former Herald editor remembered for devotion, skill

Updated 1/3/2014 5:39 AM
  • Suburban Living editor Pat Adam talks to Dorothy Marsh of Good Housekeeping magazine while covering the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1967.

    Suburban Living editor Pat Adam talks to Dorothy Marsh of Good Housekeeping magazine while covering the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1967. Daily Herald file photo

  • Pat Adam in 1977

    Pat Adam in 1977

Longtime suburban resident and journalist Pat Adam was remembered Thursday by family members and former colleagues for her generosity, skill and passion for the work of newspapers.

Adam, a former editor at the Daily Herald, died Thursday at the age of 91. Her son, Jeff, said she passed away after experiencing several health challenges, including a recent stroke.

Adam had been living in the Sunrise Senior Living facility in Schaumburg, and before that she lived in Arlington Heights and Morton Grove.

"It's a huge loss," Jeff Adam said. "She was a generous person, and she had a great sense of humor. She meant so much to so many people."

A native of Iowa, Adam honed her journalism skills while studying at Drake University in Des Moines, where she was the editor of the university's newspaper, family members said. She held journalism jobs in Minneapolis and Milwaukee before settling in the Chicago area.

Adam joined the staff at the Daily Herald in 1963. She held a variety of jobs during her 25 years as a full-time staffer, including features editor and editor of the opinion page, former colleagues said. Adam was among those who worked at the paper while it changed from a weekly to a daily publication.

Daniel E. Baumann, chairman emeritus of Paddock Publications, the company that owns the Herald, worked with Adam for most of her full-time tenure. He credits her with the successful overhaul of the paper's former features section, which was known at the time as Suburban Living.

"She was a true professional who led the development of our Suburban Living department from the weekly Herald's focus on what had been considered women's news to broader themes of life in the suburbs, including expanded entertainment, food and lifestyles coverage," Baumann said. "It was a key element in our transition from weekly to daily and an approach welcomed by the growing readership of the Daily Herald."

Adam retired in 1987, but she continued working for the paper on a part-time basis for more than 10 years after that, primarily on election coverage. Dave Beery, a former Daily Herald editorial page editor, said Adam was instrumental in organizing and managing the paper's political endorsement process. He added that she would "agonize" over her endorsement decisions, making sure to do as much research as possible on every candidate.

"I know that some people think newspapers should not make endorsements, and reasonable people can debate that," Beery said. "But I think anyone would feel better about the endorsements if they could see how seriously Pat took that responsibility."

Adam was active in her community. She was an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Arlington Heights and served as a Cub Scout den mother, family members said. She loved gardening and was a devoted viewer of WTTW Channel 11.

Adam is survived by her sister, Donna B. Kreisberg, her children, Jeff Adam and Lee Ann Paisley, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Jeff Adam said that a memorial service for her will be held in the spring.

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