50 Most Beautiful Chicagoans

Gerri Shute

AGE: 60-something
OCCUPATION: philanthropist
HOMETOWN: Lisbon, Illinois
LIVES IN: Gold Coast

Gerri Shute recently found herself transfixed by William Kuhn’s Reading Jackie, about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s act-two career as a book editor in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. “[The book] gave me pause in terms of thinking, How do I want to give back? How do I want to be remembered?” she says. “I was underlining and underlining, fascinated by how well Jackie had thought out so many things.” A former executive recruiter who ran her own firm for 13 years but retired to take care of her ailing husband (David Shute, the general counsel for Sears, Roebuck, and Co., died in 2008), Shute is now searching for her own later-in-life focus. “I always loved working,” she says. Lately she has been collecting clothing to send to orphans in the Philippines and also nurturing an interest in secession art, reignited by visits to Neue Galerie in New York. Her varied cultural tastes took her to a Jason Mraz concert at Wrigley Field last summer (the song “I’m Yours” is her ringtone). “My niece, Kerri, went with me,” Shute says. “Whenever I tell someone we went to a Jason Mraz concert, Kerri whispers, ‘She really went to a Dave Matthews concert. Mraz was the opening act.’” Shute shrugs. “In any case, ‘I’m Yours’ is a delight.”

 

 

Photograph: Maria Ponce

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