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Ruth Edelman, deputy chairman of DJE Holdings, parent company of her late husband’s eponymous global public relations firm, Edelman, and recognized mental health advocate, died peacefully at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Mrs. Edelman was 84 years old. She was married to Daniel J. Edelman for 59 years prior to his death this past January. Mrs. Edelman is survived by her three children Richard and Renee of New York City and John of Chicago; as well as three granddaughters Margot, Victoria and Amanda Edelman, all of New York City.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Edelman was a great supporter of numerous health organizations and nonprofits. She helped to significantly further the goals of the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association through her visibility as a patient advocate and philanthropist. In 1994, Mrs. Edelman became the first individual outside of the medical community to receive the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association’s Jan Fawcett Humanitarian Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the understanding of depressive illness, commitment to research and sincere devotion to those suffering from depression.
She was also an advocate for the Save the Children Foundation, Chicago Project for Violence Prevention and Committee for Economic Growth of Israel. In addition, Mrs. Edelman was active in Chicago’s fine arts community, having raised funds for the Lyric Opera Company and the Chicago Art Institute. She worked for former U.S. Senator Charles Percy, helping him organize community events for more than a decade. She would later become the special events chair for the state of Illinois under Governor Jim Thompson.
However, Mrs. Edelman is best known as a driving force behind her late husband’s success. “Ruth was a part of Edelman from day one,” said Richard Edelman. “My parents created our business and established our culture. My mother had the poise and grace of a sought-after hostess, with the wit and wisdom of a savvy businesswoman. She charmed many a guest into becoming a client.”
Ruth Edelman was born Ruth Rozumoff in Racine, Wisconsin in 1929. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an economics major, she moved to Chicago where she met her future husband on a blind date. “I liked him,” said Mrs. Edelman, as quoted in Edelman and the Rise of Public Relations by Franz Wisner. “I liked him because he was smart, refined, a gentleman and hardworking. I wanted him (for my husband) from the first day.”
From her marriage to Dan in 1953 until his death earlier this year, Mrs. Edelman nurtured her family as tirelessly as she helped support his company. With Dan often on the road, she oversaw the children’s education with exacting standards of excellence. “It’s something that we looked forward to, that our children would live a better life if they got better grades. And they did,” she said.
In addition to her children and granddaughters, Mrs. Edelman is survived by her sister Rosalie Aronin, 86 years old and her daughters-in-law Roz Edelman and Susie Krohn.
Shiva will be held at the at Casino Club in Chicago and the memorial service will be held at the Temple Sinai in Chicago. The funeral service will be private.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to either Leukemia Research at the University of Chicago Medical Center: University of Chicago Gift and Record Services, Ruth Edelman Memorial, 1427 East 60th Street, Suite 120, Chicago, IL 60637 or online at https://www.kintera.org/site/c.phLWJ6PFKmG/b.6079897/k.8CE3/Make_A_Gift/apps/ka/sd/donorcustom.asp (specify “Ruth Edelman Leukemia Memorial”), or the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association: 730 N. Franklin Street, Suite 501Chicago, IL 60610-7204 or via phone 312-642-0049.