Even though her leukemia returned after she endured a stem cell transplant, Judge Jean Prendergast Rooney didn’t let that prevent her from hosting Thanksgiving.
She ordered a catered Thanksgiving meal — making sure it was gluten-free for celiac-sensitive relatives — and arranged a sit-down dinner for 10 in her room at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Two weeks later, the respected jurist died at 45, leaving three children behind.
Jean Prendergast Rooney, an appellate law expert and judge of the Cook County Circuit Court, died Tuesday at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
She was the first woman from her law class to become a member of the judiciary, according to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, her former classmate at Loyola University School of Law.
“And this is an impressive feat,” Madigan noted at Mrs. Rooney’s swearing-in, “in part because Jean was the youngest member of our law school class going through Loyola’s elite six-year accelerated program. So Jean finished college and started law school while the rest of her peers were struggling through what was hopefully their senior year.”