Dr. Robert Saddler, an educational leader and mentor to countless individuals in the Chicago Public Schools died on Monday, March 9. He was 86.
Saddler was a highly respected educator, designing several educational programs to improve the lives of students and to provide moral support and academic guidance. The Illinois Department on Aging inducted Saddler into its Senior Illinois Hall of Fame in the category of education, in 2015.
In 1992 supporters launched a campaign for Saddler as Superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. Already the Deputy Superintendent, Saddler declined to be a candidate and retired from CPS in 1993.
Educator and community activist Dr. Conrad Worrill said, “I first met Dr. Saddler in the 50s when I was a young adolescent. Dr. Saddler was working out in the gym of the Wabash YMCA, running on the track above the gym. This perchance meeting led to a lifelong friendship and mentorship that influenced my life greatly.”
A Track & Field athlete, Saddler specialized in the 800 Meter run. He ran at Wilson Junior College (now Kennedy King College), Loyola University and the University of Chicago Track Club. Saddler came close to making the 1960 Olympic team and was a lifelong runner. He was a member of the Stony Island Runners Club.
Saddler was a founding member of the Friends of Track and Field and was also a supporter of the soon to be opened state of the art, Gately Park Indoor Track Facility.
A Phillips High School graduate, Saddler contributed much to the Black community, and to the larger society, as a homegrown success story. He influenced the careers of scores of teachers, administrators and others.
He is survived by his daughter Lorri and son Derrick; and granddaughters Jaelyn, Kylan, and Zionn Rice.
A wake will be held at Cage Funeral Home, 7651 S. Jeffery on Sunday, March 15 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The funeral service will be Monday, March 16 at Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th Street, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.