Meet the Wolf Pack: L’dor Vidor in Action! The Selfhelp Home

Meet the Wolf Pack: L’dor Vidor in Action!

Three members of Chicago’s Wolf family continue a century-old tradition of support and engagement at The Selfhelp Home. The Wolf family represents three generations of the Selfhelp community. Currently, two Wolfs – siblings Jerry and Judith – serve on the Selfhelp board of directors. It’s all in the family with this amazing gene pool!

Judith Wolf, Board Member Since 2001

Judith Wolf has served on Selfhelp’s Health, Nominating, and Admissions Committees, in addition to serving on the Search Committee that hired Hedy Ciocci as Executive Director. Judith now lives in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, but she grew up in South Shore, Hyde Park. She started her career with Jewish Family Services in Boston in 1970 after graduating from the University of Chicago.

Where did you grow up? Attend high school and college?

  • South Shore High School – 1964
  • BA in History and Sociology from University of Chicago – 1968
  • MA from University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration – 1970
  • MBA from Simmons’ Graduate Management Program – 1981

Do/did you work outside your home? If so, what do/did you do for a living?

I moved back to my hometown of Chicago in 1981 and became the Assistant Director of the health plan at University of Chicago, my alma mater, which was my first position in healthcare administration. In that position, I got involved in negotiating a contract with the Rehab Institute, which led to my next position in the Managed Care Department at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, at which I negotiated contracts. I got involved in the organ transplant side of healthcare, negotiating on behalf of Northwestern hospitals and physicians with insurance companies. My final professional position was with an insurance company, as I wanted to see the healthcare business from the other side. I retired in 2016.

What is your connection to Selfhelp? When did you first learn about the organization?

My grandfather died just before Hanukkah in 1929 and my widowed grandmother moved into Selfhelp’s original Drexel Avenue house and lived in one of the few single rooms there until she died in January, 1970. I was recruited to join the Selfhelp board of directors by former President Herbert Roth, who was looking for the next generation of Jewish leaders to steward the organization into the future. My mom was on her way to a meeting at our synagogue, Congregation Rodfei Zedek, when she suffered a freak accident in October, 2003. She became trapped in a revolving door, crushing her pelvis. She came to Selfhelp for care on the eighth floor after her stay at the Rehab Institute (now the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab). My father stayed in an apartment at Selfhelp while my mother convalesced, and then they moved into independent living together in November, 2003. My dad died on Selfhelp’s eighth floor on the first day of Passover in 2006. We dedicated the Wolf Family Room on the eighth floor so families could have privacy when they need it.

Meet the Wolf Pack: L’dor Vidor in Action! The Selfhelp Home

Judith Wolf and mother, Fanny Wolf | Hugo and Fanny Wolf | Chuck Wolf

Jerry Wolf, Chair of the Audit and Operations Committee

Jerry Wolf lives in Northbrook with Jan, his wife of 48 terrific years. Although Jerry lives on the North Shore, he is a native South Sider. He describes himself as detail-oriented, persistent, an analyzer, loves history, loves being a grandfather, and is a Diehard White Sox fan. He’s the Director of MGT Consulting, LLC, which does financial and operational consulting for governments and nonprofits. He also lectures in Finance at the University of Chicago’s Crown School of Social Service Administration and Harris School of Public Policy.

Where did you grow up? Attend high school and college?

  • South Shore High School – Class of ‘68
  • Washington University in St. Louis – Class of ‘72
  • University of Chicago – Crown School – Class of ‘74
  • University of Chicago – Booth Business – Class of ‘75

What is your connection to Selfhelp? When did  you first learn about the organization?

My parents were always active in Selfhelp since they settled in Chicago. My father’s mother was an original resident in the new Becker Wing at the Home at 4941 Drexel Boulevard. She moved there in 1956, and lived there until she passed away in January, 1970. My parents were always involved in social activities and fundraising. They moved into the Argyle Selfhelp Home in the early 2000s after a freak accident/ encounter with a revolving door at the entrance to their condo in Hyde Park. They lived there together until my father passed away in April 2006, and my mother passed away in May 2013.

What is your favorite memory of Selfhelp? His favorite memories were from the Drexel site:

Weekly visits with my father to see my grandmother. Dad would go over the mail and catch up with the weekly “Aufbau” newspaper. I loved riding the elevator they installed with the Becker construction. The Argyle elevators are a vast improvement. I’d also visit the kitchen! Either Mrs. Lemle or Mrs. Oschatsky would always find a cookie for me! And then there was the little black puppy that lived at the Drexel home. Since we didn’t grow up with a pet, it was like “our dog” whenever we’d visit! I think the dog’s name was “Smokey.”

How do you describe Selfhelp when you tell people about the organization?

Founded by the German Jewish refugee community. Created as a social organization and as a vehicle to help newcomers settle in Chicago. Evolved to address the needs of aging parents.

Chuck Wolf

Chuck Wolf has lived in Oak Park for 44 years with his wife, Sallie. They raised their two boys there, who have both left home over 20 years ago. He went to Brown University (where he met Sallie) and then attended University of Chicago Law School: “I thought I was going to go back to New York, but decided to stay here while I was in law school. One of my best decisions!”

Do/did you work outside your home? If so, what do/did you do for a living?

I practiced law at Vedder Price, P.C., for 41 years, doing labor relations, employment, and employee benefits law and litigation and serving as co-chair of the firm for a while. It was a wonderful career. I’ve been teaching part-time at the University of Chicago Law School for the past 10 years and running the family foundation which my uncle started, the Walter Mander Foundation. Note: Walter Mander was Chuck Wolf’s uncle, but he was not related to Judith and Jerry Wolf.

What is your connection to Selfhelp? When did you first learn about the organization?

I was still a baby in Hyde Park when my family of German Jewish refugees started taking me to Selfhelp. When I returned to Chicago for law school in the early 1970s, I used to drive my grandmother up to Selfhelp to visit her friends, but then drifted away from it when she moved away in the late 1970s. My mom moved into Selfhelp in 2009 and lived there for almost three years before she died, so I was there twice a week to visit with her and her friends. After she died, I kept going almost every week to see my cousins (Hugo and Fanny Wolf, Jerry and Judith’s parents), as well as a group of other residents, most of whom had known my parents. The pandemic stopped me and, by that point, almost all of my buddies had passed away so, fortunately, they didn’t have to experience it.

What is your favorite memory of Selfhelp?

It’s hard to isolate one or two things. Some of the dinner conversations with mom and her friends, covering either current events or recollections of days gone by, were extremely engaging and fun. I also used to visit a woman who lived across the street from us in the 1950s and early 1960s and who lived to be 103; her short-term memory was a wreck, but it was great to hear how sharp and detailed she could be when talking about the old days. I was also very proud of my youngest son who visited my mom every week while he was attending law school. He was a good-looking kid and it was hilarious watching the old women trying to fix him up with their granddaughters.

How do you describe Selfhelp when you tell people about the organization?

Times have changed and people’s lifestyle choices have changed since I first visited Selfhelp. Today, most people go there a bit reluctantly and at a more advanced age when they can no longer live independently. Selfhelp is a very good option with a caring staff; safe, comfortable facilities; many activities to help residents remain mentally and physically active; and good companionship.

Interested in joining our Board of Directors? The Selfhelp Home has many opportunities for people to get involved. If you have a special skill to offer, want to give back or get more involved with the home, consider joining a committee or becoming a Board Member.
Contact us to learn more: [email protected]

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