Highland Park shooting victims’ funeral begins: ‘We are incompatible’

Mourners for the Highland Park shooting victims began the massive task of burying their loved ones on Friday.

The first funeral for the victims is taking place on Friday, with Jacqueline “Jackie” Sundim, 63, and Steve Strauss, 88, both serving for Highland Park. A visitation is also planned for Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, who was visiting family from Morelos, Mexico.

He is among seven people who were shot and killed by a gunman from a rooftop on Monday at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade. Katherine Goldstein, 64, of Highland Park was also killed; Irina McCarthy, 35, and her husband, Kevin McCarthy, 37, who also lived in Highland Park and left behind a 2-year-old son; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, of Waukegan.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at the North Shore Congregation of Israel in Glencoe on Friday morning to honor Sundheim, who not only worked there for decades but was a life member. Among those honored are Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and US Representative Brad Schneider. The Congressmen were preparing to march in the parade on Monday when shots were fired.

Speaking through tears, Rabbi Wendy Geffen began Sundim’s service by saying: “We invite you to stay with us. We shouldn’t be here today. There is nothing, not a single thing. It brings us together to grieve acceptable to Jackie. We are horrified. We are angry, sick, suffering, grieved for the terror that has attacked us and robbed us of Jackie. “

“Jackie died because she was murdered, and there is no comfort for us in this as we mourn Jackie’s death. There is no silver lining, no light over darkness,” Geffen said. .

Sundheim taught preschool at the North Shore Congregation of Israel and, as the coordinator of events such as bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and funerals, touched many in the community.

“There wasn’t an inch of this place that Jackie hadn’t touched,” Geffen.

She talked about the amount of pain and despair that Sundheim’s loved ones are feeling, and “the risk of seeing Jackie’s life come to an end only to see her come to an end. … We can’t let that happen.”

Cantor David Goldstein sings the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew before synagogues, taking off his glasses to wipe his eyes as his voice fills the large, modern, sunlit sanctuary. He returned to his white seat and cried.

Later, Rabbi Lisa Green described Sundheim’s journey as a congregation, from childhood to its teens, until joining the staff to lead youth groups.

Survivors of Sundheim include her husband Bruce and their daughter Leah.

Sundheim’s daughter Leah later said, she “can’t process” that her mother won’t be present “when I have a baby or find the love of my life, and it fills me with a rage and emptiness that scares me. “

Addressing the mourners gathered, she said: “I want each of you to take that fear, that sadness and that anger and I need it to fuel you. …. It’s about finding joy in the little things and cherishing the big things. I want you to use this terrible, heavy hurt and turn it into a campaign to help heal our world and our community.”

She continued: “Don’t let this sadness, this fear, anger make you indifferent or bitter towards our world, because the world is dark without my mother – and now it is up to us to overcome it with a little extra laughter and help.” Fill. Change his light and love. ”

As that service was ending, another work was underway for Strauss in a different synagogue a few miles south of Evanston. It follows a private burial, where the opening theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey” was played as his coffin was lowered into the ground.

“We are broken here this morning. We are in shock and disbelief and despair and grief this morning,” Rabbi Rachel Weiss said at the start of the service at the Jewish Reconstructionist congregation. “We are here in a painful unreliability that this is the world we are living in.”

Strauss’s family had previously described him as a lover of culture – from the Art Institute of Chicago to comedy sketches “The 2000 Year Old Man” – with an inquisitive mind who still visits his stockbroker office downtown five days a week. Were.

“It was not the way we thought Steve would or should be on the cover of the New York Times. It would be more like Steve in the book review section because he read them all,” Weiss said during the funeral. “But now he has joined a very difficult group, as we all do, that has been touched by trauma and death by terror and disgust.

“We tell his story. Steve was a good guy. We’ll never be the same, but we’ll take him with us,” she continued.

A native of Chicago’s South Side, Strauss was “very much a Highland Parker” and went to the parade every year, one of his sons told the Tribune.

Strauss, his son Peter Strauss said, “was curious about the world.”

Strauss’s survivors include wife Linda and another son, Jonathan. Strauss’s brother, Larry Strauss, speaking at the service, said that among his siblings’ qualities the most was loyalty.

He told a story about how he and his brothers went to different high schools and their respective basketball teams ended up playing each other.

“When I would score a basket, my brother would yell, ‘Atta boy, Larry!’ … I’ve never forgotten. It’s been with me my whole life, that loyalty,” he said.

Jonathan Strauss also spoke at the service, saying: “Just thinking of what a nice, giving, loving person he was, it makes the cruelty and horror of his death so hard. And I’ve been through the last few days.” I’ve been so good at putting it together, but when I look at pictures of her, it’s like she’s right there. Then it really dawns on me what we’ve lost, what I’ve lost, my best friends.”

Amidst the heartbreak, there were also moments of euphoria.

Peter Strauss ended his remarks by saying that he would like to “share with you a secret about your father that I was reminded of by an old friend who recently offered his condolences. My dad, who worked in loop for (at least) six decades… made a point of pressing their nose – the side of their nose – against the glass of every revolving door that came before them, leaving a mischievous nose signature. What can the kids of today call the tagging that marked once again and forever that Steve Strauss was here.”

Steve’s granddaughter, Macy, sang “Run to Me” by the Bee Gees when her father Peter played guitar next to her.

Steve’s grandson, Toby, read “In Flanders Fields” by John McCray, which Toby found in his grandfather’s study in a World War I poetry book.

Toby said, “My grandfather was a very gentle and peaceful man, but he was actually killed in a battle.”

The family in Toledo-Zaragoza has said they had planned to spend three months with the family moving to Chicago, something that was delayed because of COVID-19.

As a father of eight, his family said, he had a large number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and when he died he was surrounded by relatives in a parade.

“Today Nicholas is our guardian angel,” wrote his granddaughter Xochiel Toledo of Nicolas Toledo. “We ask you (to do) to please keep our family and all the families affected by this terrible tragedy in your prayers and stay strong as a community.”

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