Barbara Keough Lundergan

Barbara Keough Lundergan

  • Funeral Date: 5/20/17
  • Funeral Time:
  • Date of Birth: 11/06/38
  • Date of Death: 2/13/17
  • Funeral Location: All Saints Cemetery - Des Plaines, IL

A letter about our mom:

We are the proud children of Barbara Ann Keough Lundergan and we want tell you about her.

Barbara was born on November 6, 1938, on the North side of Chicago.

Barbara did not want us to write in her obituary that she passed away. We were to say “she died.” We so understand, Mom, and you got it. Barbara died on Monday, February 13, 2017, in Northfield, Minnesota.

Barbara had more integrity, honesty and goodness in her than anyone we have ever known. We will never know anyone like her for the rest of our lives. We are certain of that.

Barbara was brilliant. We mean that literally. Not in a hyperbolic way. Barbara graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1960 from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, on a full-ride academic scholarship. Barbara wanted to be a journalist. Her father told her she had to get a teaching certificate because that is what women went to college for, after all. She compromised and majored in history.

Barbara wasn’t done after college. She went to law school. Not many women took that path. She graduated first in her law school class in 1964. She passed the Illinois Bar Exam with flying colors, while working full time at the Continental Bank in Chicago. Did we mention she was very pregnant with her first child, at the same time? That would be Matthew. She studied for the bar exam in the hospital just after giving birth. True story.

Barbara broke the glass-ceiling. She was the first woman partner at Seyfarth Shaw Fairweather & Geraldson, an international law firm based in Chicago. Founding partner Ray Geraldson hired her in 1964 when many law firms told her (to her face) that they could not hire a female attorney, even if she was first in her law school class. (He knew talent when he saw it).

Barbara was a leader in her field. She spoke and wrote extensively about trusts and estates law. She taught law classes as an adjunct professor. When the U.S. re-opened relations with China, the State Department invited her to travel there with a delegation of attorneys, each specializing in an area of law. (Sorry you couldn’t make that China trip, Mom). She was elected to the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) in 1993. ACTEC is the tops for attorneys in her field. Barbara never bragged about it.

Barbara was modest and understated. She was never flashy. She had impeccable morals and high standards. As for her manners, she could have ghost-written for Emily Post. She never swore. Barbara could not tell a lie. Literally. (Even about the existence of Santa).

Barbara was a beloved big sister. She was the oldest of four. She adored her brothers, Dan and Richard, and her sister Dorothy, and they adored her. Their bond goes deep and always will. Dan, Richard and Dorothy, we will have many more stories to share as we toast her life.

Barbara was frugal, despite her professional accomplishments. She used every tube of lipstick to the very bottom, and even then used a little brush to get out a bit more. She washed her own raincoat in the shower. That is how she lived her life, when it came to herself. But to others, she was generous.

Barbara was adventurous. She enjoyed trips to far away places before her health stopped her from traveling. After she retired in 2004, she left Chicago, the only city she had ever known, and moved to Northfield, Minnesota, to help care for her grandchildren. (Where it was even colder than Chicago). Retirement did not last. Thank goodness. She joined her daughter’s law firm and continued to practice until the final months of her life.

Barbara is survived by Matthew Lundergan and Mary Lundergan Hahn (the writers of this letter and her children), her former spouse James Lundergan, her brothers Daniel Keough and Richard Keough, and her sister Dorothy Keough.

Barbara is also survived by her grandchildren, Erin Hahn (age 19) and Luke Hahn (age 17). She was and will always be their GB – Grandma Barbara. Erin and Luke were the lights of her life. She took care of them. And not just the easy drop-in kind of care. She bathed them, played Apples-to-Apples with them, took them to Disney World, hosted their sleep-overs, and watched Fiddler on the Roof with them about 87 times. She attended every piano recital, dance recital, gymnastics party, and two Rock-N-Roll Revivals. She helped fill out the FAFSA for goodness sake. She told Luke to read “A Random Walk Down Wall Street.” (He is reading it now).

GB taught Erin and Luke to live life and live it well, with integrity and honesty. She taught them to be global citizens, travel the world, embrace other cultures and never live in fear. Erin and Luke, you are already living GB’s hopes and dreams for you. She will be forever proud of you.

Thank you for reading just a bit of Barbara’s story. Barbara was cremated and her ashes will be buried next to her parents in All Saints Cemetery, in Des Plaines, Illinois, this May. She insisted on a spring burial. She never wanted anyone to have to stand out in the cold. You got it, mom.

We love you, Barbara Ann Keough Lundergan. Thank you for being our mom. Matt & Mary

Please share a story or memory about Barbara on her memorial page at https://www.lastingmemories.com/home. Barbara’s remains will be interred at All Saints Cemetery, River Road, Des Plaines, IL, on Saturday May 20, time to be determined. All are welcome.

3 comments

  1. Dear Mary and family,
    We are saddened to hear of your mother’s passing.
    May she rest in peace knowing she was loved and respected.
    You are in our thoughts and prayers!
    Ray and Judy Buck

  2. Raymond Kelly

    Your mother was a fine lawyer, good friend and lovely lady. I was proud to be her partner at SSF&G.
    Ray & Ronni Kelly

  3. I am saddened to learn of Barbara’s death. When I joined Seyfarth as a young lawyer in 1979, she was a welcoming role model. She taught me how to be an attorney in the best way. She was always honest, generous and giving of her time. I was lucky and proud to have known her. She and her family are in my prayers.

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