The Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation is saddened by the news that one of our Founding Board Members – Vonita D. Reescer – passed away on July 22, 2022. Commonly referred to as “Chicago’s First Lady of Philanthropy” – a name given to her by another Foundation Founding Board Member years ago – Vonita was a magnetic force and true Chicago icon.
Vonita was a true leader in philanthropy and charity for decades. She served on numerous boards in addition to HCRF, including: the Apparel Industry Board, the Chicago Lighthouse, the National Museum of Mexican Arts, the Theater School of DePaul University, the Service Club of Chicago, and Face the Future Foundation. We were honored to have had Vonita lend her talents to HCRF since our founding. She was passionate about all of her charities, but the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation held a special place in her heart. Vonita was a survivor of multiple myeloma and understood the importance of cancer research. She was very proud of HCRF’s commitment and contributions to medical research and of the groundbreaking work of Dr. Platanias and the world class researchers at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
Vonita used the skills and connections she gained through her decades’ long work in the banking, insurance, and hospitality industries to benefit charities by fostering connections between people and organizations, mentoring and supporting people in their volunteer activities, promoting civic engagement, and organizing fundraising and educational events. Vonita founded VDR & Associates in 2004 to provide consulting services to hotels and not-for-profit agencies. She met the love of her life, Richard Miller, when they both worked at the Continental Insurance Company and they spent the last 43 years of Richard’s life together before his death in 2017.
Vonita arrived at our annual Wings to Cure Gala decked out in fabulous gowns. She loved dressing in formal attire, but never forgot the true purpose was charity, not partying. She knew what mattered was raising money and awareness for cutting edge, impactful research — not accolades. She was generous in sharing her contacts and put hundreds of people “on the map” in the worlds of charity and high society. Her legacy will live on in the good work of her protégés. Vonita was brilliant, opinionated, and always retained the right to speak her mind. She knew where all of the skeletons in the City of Chicago were buried.
Most of all “V” was an inspiration to so many HCRF supporters and board members as well as a dear and trusted friend. We are proud of all that Vonita accomplished and grateful for her contributions to HCRF WingsToCure.com . God speed Vonita!