HERALD STAFF REPORT
Memorial services for Marie Therese Raoul, 90, the mother of Illinois Attorney Gen. Kwame Raoul, will be held Saturday, Sept. 28, at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 5274 S. Kimbark Ave., with visitation at 10 a.m. before Mass at 11 a.m. She died on July 18 at age 90.
Raoul was born in Petit Goave, Haiti, on May 9, 1929, the daughter of Jules and Augusta Bance. She was raised with four brothers in Port-au-Prince, until she emigrated to the United States as a college student, studying interior desing in New York City.
She was working in the New York furniture textile industry in New York when she met her life partner, Dr. Janin J. Raoul from Port-de-Paix, Haiti, who was completing his residency at the State University of New York-Downstate Medical Center.
They married on Sept. 24, 1960, and moved to Chicago, where they eventually settled in the Hyde Park-Kenwood and started a family.
Marie Therese and Janin loved traveling and crisscrossed the globe, where they took note of people who were socially and economically disadvantaged, particularly children, and those deprived of healthcare.
The experienced and her own upbringing in Haiti inspired Raoul to actively support charities that provided for children in poverty. Institutions that benefitted from her philanthropy included International Child Care-Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince and Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees.
She had three children — Edwidge, a physician in Daytona Beach, Florida; Ninaj, an Immigration Advocate in Brooklyn; and Kwame — and four grandchildren: Sidney and Allen Jackson and Che and Mizan Raoul.
Raoul was very involved in her children’s education and volunteered at the schools they attended. She taught French at the Ancona School, 4770 S. Dorchester Ave., and embroidery at the former Harvard St. George School.
She also trained and developed her skills in floral design, creating dynamic floral arrangements for weddings, cultural events and other special occasions.
Her unconditional love towards her family and friends was on display through her final days, as she attended her son’s wedding just one day after being release into home hospice care, ignoring her chronic pain and weak physical condition.
In her final months, she spent time sewing dresses and sleepwear for children at an orphanage in Leogane, Haiti.