As a teen, Jarrett spent her summers traveling to Ghana, Nigeria and Egypt among other places. She remains a key player in her hometown, where she serves as vice chair of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee and bonds with local entrepreneurs, journalists, politicians, union bosses and activists. Journalism website Muckety.com has listed her as one of the city’s “100 best networked.”
Once a summer tour guide at the Museum of Science and Industry, Jarrett now serves as trustee on the board. Once a summer clerk at The University of Chicago’s Medical Center, she is now Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees. Jarrett is also the CEO of The Habitat Company, a Chicago real estate developer, and is on the Board of Directors for USG Corporation, a Chicago based building materials corporation. She was also Chairman of the board of the Chicago Stock Exchange. How’s that for networking?
Let’s move on to Jarrett’s personal life. In an interview with …
Don Terry of the Chicago Tribune, Jarrett, in response to questions about her failed marriage to Dr. William Robert Jarrett, son of the legendary Chicago Sun-Times journalist Vernon Jarrett, she answered “Married in 1983, separated in 1987, and divorced in 1988. Enough said.” When Terry asked about her husband, with whom she has one daughter, she said, “He was a physician, he passed away. He got very sick quite suddenly and he died.” According to a November 20, 1993 article by the Chicago Sun-Times, Dr. William Jarrett, 40, died of cardiac arrest. He had been appointed director of obstetrics and gynecology and was involved in a project to bring health education and disease prevention to the black community. Before he died he had recently been diagnosed with Bechet’s syndrome, a rare multisystemic inflammatory disease. A medical information website notes the following:
“The cause of this disease is not fully known. It is prevalent in people from around the Mediteranean, the Middle East, China, and Japan; and also thought to have a genetic back-ground. Because many of the findings common to some established immune-complex diseases are also encountered in Bechet’s disease, it is proposed that the cause is most likely an immune reaction triggered by infectious organisms, such as virus or bacteria; or antigens, in genetically predisposed individuals. Although Herpes simplex virus and Streptococcal antigens are suspected, among others, none has been reliably identified.”
Dr. William Jarrett had a wife at the time of his death, Sherry Luck Jarrett, with whom he founded the Jarrett-Luck Medical Center in Chicago. His wife was another dedicated doctor and an emergency room heart specialist at several Chicago hospitals. Note the past tense; she also died suddenly in June, 1999 from complications from an enlarged heart. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the night before her death, Dr. Luck, 44, “felt too ill to attend a ceremony where she was to receive the Daniel Hale Williams Award for Health, given by Afrique magazine in honor of the doctor who first performed open-heart surgery.” She was discovered dead in her condominium the next morning. Curious…both the ex and his wife dead in their early 40s?
Jarrett’s dedication to the Obama’s was described by the NY Times as a “fierce, almost familial loyalty.” In an interview with Vogue Michelle Obama said, “There’s a cadre of people like me who have worked for her who are like family. Valerie at some level has advised me and Barack. She’s always one of the people that he and I talk to when we’re about to make a move.” Cadre of people like family? What happens to the people outside the family? Or those who choose to leave the family??
According to the Washington Prowler, “She knows where all the bodies have been buried in the past 30 or so years in Chicago politics and she knows all the tricks,” says one longtime Democrat political consultant in Chicago, “If Obama had a political and financial godmother, it would be Valerie.”