After 8 days as mayor and 28 years as clerk, David Orr retiring Friday

SHARE After 8 days as mayor and 28 years as clerk, David Orr retiring Friday

Harold Washington laughs with David Orr in a photo taken around 1983. Orr retired last Friday as Cook County clerk. | Sun-Times file photo

It was all a matter of chalk.

Cook County Clerk David Orr, who is retiring Friday after a career as the shortest serving mayor of Chicago (8 days) and the longest serving Cook County Clerk (28 years), has been tripping down a sidewalk in memory lane.

Specifically, he is remembering the days after Chicago’s first black mayor died on Nov. 25, 1987.

“I have been thinking about a simple chalk line on a sidewalk drawn decades ago for people standing in line to view Mayor Harold Washington’s body, which was lying in state at the rotunda between City Hall and the Cook County building,” Orr told Sneed. The line was drawn to direct the huge crowds of mourners where to stand.

“It was a very emotional time for me when Mayor Washington died and I remember watching that chalk line which went on for blocks,” said Orr, an alderman who served as acting mayor immediately after Washington’s death.

Even after Washington’s body was moved, the line remained visible.

“I guess I decided to make it my own private memorial to this great man — and began watching how long it took the chalk to disappear. Thousands of people walked that line and believe me it took forever — weeks — to disappear,” he said.

“I suppose I watched that chalk line in memory of him.

“Of course, on one hand I missed him — but on another hand it kept reminding me how much the city was going to miss him and how the progressive coalition he had formed was in grave danger of disappearing after his passing,” he added.

Orr will be given a send-off Friday night by present and former staff at a lakefront condo in a building that was formerly a Rogers Park hotel once occupied by comedian Charlie Chaplin, actor Errol Flynn and, at one time or another, the mob, he added.

“I may not be famous, but I started out in politics in 1979 as alderman of this ward and it’s a great place to spend my last official night in politics, he said.

Lori Lightfoot | Rich Hein / Sun-Times

Lori Lightfoot | Rich Hein / Sun-Times

Over & out!

A case of an anemic campaign?

Sneed has learned media maven Ken Snyder, of the Snyder Pickerill Media Group, has terminated his contract with Lori Lightfoot’s campaign and is now advising mayoral hopeful Gery Chico.

“We believe Lori was the best candidate when the mayoral race was against Mayor Rahm Emanuel out of respect for things Lori had done for the city,” said Snyder. “But when Rahm dropped out, we decided to move in a different direction.

“Ken Snyder and Terrie Pickerill of Snyder Pickerill Media worked for my campaign in 2011,” said Chico. “They are extremely talented and we have remained close friends. I know they are no longer affiliated with another campaign for mayor, and I have sought and received advice from them.

• Translation: They are not on the payroll, but advising Chico.

Mike Ditka | AP photo

Mike Ditka | AP photo

The Ditka beat . . .

Former Bears coach Mike Ditka — who was released from the hospital in Naples, Fla., earlier this week after suffering a heart attack last week — has buddies who are concerned he is overdoing rehab. “They are now worried he’s running around his pool way too much,” said a Ditka pal.

Sneedlings . . .

I spy: Sarah Jessica “Sex and the City” Parker spotted at TAO last week. . . . Bears Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher at Gibsons on Rush recently. . . . Ditto for Michael “The Sopranos” Imperioli, former figure skater Tonya Harding, San Francisco Giant Evan Longoria and NFL legend Joe Montana. . . . Today’s birthdays: Chrissy Teigen, 33; Ben Stiller, 53; Kaley Cuoco, 33, and a happy belated birthday to Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar.

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