Joan Howard Housman Syer Bailar, loving wife, business executive, volunteer, mentor, philanthropist, passed away at home at the age of 78 in Lake Forest, Illinois on July 29, 2015 after a long illness.
Born in Rahway, New Jersey, Joan is survived by her husband Benjamin F. Bailar and her sister-in-law Pat Bicket of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey and many loving friends. Joan was preceded in death by her parents Frank and Alice Housman and her first husband, Richard Syer.
Joan and her late husband moved to the Chicago area in 1978. Joan and Ben, family friends for many years, married in 2003 after the deaths of their spouses.
Joan was a great lady, an exceptional business leader, beloved by all who knew her, and a devoted friend and champion of Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. She served on the LFGSM Board of Directors from 2006-2014, as Board Chair from 2009-2013, and was awarded the Distinguished Director Award in November 2013 for her outstanding leadership of the Board and her passion for education. While on the Board, she served as Chair of the Degree Programs, Human Resources & Compensation and the Executive Committees. A faculty member from 1996-2010, she taught courses in Organizational Change and Strategic Thinking, giving tirelessly of her time to not only teach, but also to mentor her students.
Joan founded the Richard and Joan Syer Scholarship in 1997 in memory of her late husband, Richard Syer, who also was a long-time faculty member of the Graduate School. The Scholarship supports students with a financial need who provide more than 50% of their own education expenses. She also founded the Joan Syer-Bailar Scholarship Fund at the University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Nursing. It was awarded to undergraduate nursing students, with preference to minority students.
An active community leader, Bailar served on the Education Committee of Ada S. McKinley Community Services and on the Board of Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church. She also served on the Board of the Chicago Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and on the External Advisory Board for the University of Illinois, College of Nursing. In addition, Bailar served on the Board of Hospital Laundry Services Corporation form 2001-2003 and on the City of Chicago Special Olympics Committee from 1999-2001.
Bailar built her business career as a healthcare industry executive where she gained a broad view of this dynamic and complex industry. During her career, she held executive positions with large health care corporations, teaching centers and hospitals. Bailar co-founded two healthcare consulting companies: Syer and Nottingham, a healthcare consulting firm and insurance agency, and SNI Management Associates. In 1995, after leaving the two companies that she founded, Bailar was an independent consultant in the healthcare industry. From 1998 until her retirement in 2003, she was Vice President and Chief operating Officer of Advocate Health Centers, a large multi-specialty physician group practice with numerous sites throughout Chicago area. Since her retirement Bailar remained active in the business community.
Joan earned an MBA from Northwestern University, J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, a BA in Management and Business from Barat College, and started her career as a registered Nurse.
A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, 700 North Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045, on Friday, August 7, 2015 at 2:30 PM. Donations can be made to the Richard and Joan Syer Scholarship at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management 1905 W. Field Court, Lake Forest, IL 60045 or the Joan Syer-Bailar Scholarship Fund at the University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Nursing 845 South Damen Avenue, MC 802, Chicago, IL 60612
. Info: Wenban Funeral Home (847) 234-0022