'She shined a spotlight on suburban moms and dads': Daily Herald's first women's editor dies at 92.
Lois Seiler was hired as the Daily Herald's first women's editor in the late 1940s and went on to create the "Cook of the Week" column, showcasing suburban cooks and their recipes. Her career with the Daily Herald spanned nearly four decades, until her retirement in 1986.
Seiler died Oct. 10 at the age of 92.
"Lois was ahead of her time in creating a column that celebrated home cooks," said Eileen Brown, vice president and director of strategic marketing and innovation for the Daily Herald.
"She shined a spotlight on suburban moms and dads, creating lovely meals for their family and friends," Brown said. "Remember, this was before Food Network and most people thought that fine dining was only to be found in fancy restaurants."
In creating the column, Seiler merged two of her passions: writing and entertaining.
She was a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, where she met her future husband, Ted Seiler. The couple married in 1948, and within a year Ted Seiler would begin teaching at Arlington High School, while Lois Seiler began a career with the Daily Herald.
Seiler began as the women's editor for her first two years, before going part time and creating such columns as Cook of the Week and Favorites for Flavor, all while raising four children.
While her husband went on to become active in the community, serving with the Arlington Heights Jaycees, and on the boards of Northwest Community Hospital and Arlington Heights Elementary District 25, Lois Seiler made her impact with local readers.
"This was before computers," said Seiler's former neighbor and good friend, Janet Jensen of Arlington Heights. "She would go to people's homes to meet the cooks, and then type up their recipes."
Jensen recalled that Seiler's columns went beyond sharing recipes. She said they were warm and charming, reflecting the writer herself, and her editors agreed.
"Her columns addressed an enduring aspect of life in our communities," said Robert Y. Paddock Jr., executive vice president and vice chairman of Paddock Publications. "It's interesting to me that then and now, writing about cooking, recognizing local talent, and celebrating it have been and are a benefit to our readers as well as the paper."
Brown, who oversees strategic marketing and innovation for the Daily Herald, said the Cook of the Week that Seiler started in the mid-1950s, has endured and evolved.
"Eight years ago, we turned Cook of the Week into a live event that showcases the talent and creativity that takes place in homes across the area," Brown says. "We are grateful to Lois for getting us started on this path."
Seiler was preceded in death by her husband, Ted, who died in 1999. She is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held at a future date.