Patrick T. Reardon is a Chicagoan, born and bred. He has been writing about the city, its region, its planning issues and literary scene, mainly in the Chicago Tribune, for nearly 40 years.
He has also written extensively about his Catholic faith in four books as well as in articles and essays in a variety of newspapers and magazines. In 2009, he authored two planning booklets for the Burnham Plan Centennial — Our Region, Our Future and Creating Tomorrow’s Green Region — and wrote 78 essays over a nine-month period for the Burnham Blog.
Today, he is working on three more books, two of which are about the history of Chicago.
Reardon was the urban affairs writer and a feature writer at the Chicago Tribune during a 32-year career at the newspaper. He specialized in writing about social issues, public policy questions and the interconnections within the Chicago region.
He was the primary reporter and team leader on a wide variety of in-depth multi-part series on such subjects as the urban underclass, public housing, Chicago’s public school system, the middle-class migration out of the city, the rebirth of the Chicago River, the inner workings of a ward boss’s organization, the social and cultural shifts behind the disappearance of the city’s taverns, the surprising importance of alleys in the life of the city, and the emotional, cultural and historical factors behind suburban sprawl.
Reardon was one of a team of Tribune writers and reporters who won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting for “Gateway to Gridlock,” a series of stories about the nation’s over-crowded skies. As a team leader, he has won three Peter Lisagor Awards from the Chicago chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for reporting. In addition, his book reviews won two Lisagors for arts criticism.
During his career, Reardon used his expertise in social policy, demographics, statistics, community organizing, Chicago politics, Chicago history, the geography of the city and region, the city’s literature, the multiplicity of governments in the region, real estate development, religion and the history of the nation and world to hold a mirror up to the people of the metropolitan region. His goal has always been to help people understand where they’d been, where they were and where they were going.
He also wrote more than 200 book reviews and profiled such writers as Gay Talese, Haki Madhubuti, Sandra Cisneros, Patrick O’Brian, Richard Russo, Robert Caro, John Keegan, Antonia Fraser, P.D. James and Roddy Doyle.
In 2010 and 2011, Reardon wrote for and edited the website of the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development.
In addition, Reardon has contributed op-ed pieces to the Tribune on subjects ranging from women in major league baseball, the marital status of Jesus, Fort Dearborn, worries about Alzheimer’s disease, an all-too-human umpire, sainthood, the abrupt decision of Mayor Richard M. Daley to leave office, the joy of snow-shoveling and death.
Reardon is the author of four books, “Daily Meditations (with Scripture) for Busy Dads,” “Starting Out: Reflections for Young People” and “Love Never Fails: Spiritual Reflections for Dads of All Ages,” all from ACTA, as well as “Woven Lives: 100 years in the story of the St. Gertrude faith family.”
He also wrote several chapters in the 1997 book, “Chicago Days: 150 Defining Moments in the Life of a Great City,” edited by Stevenson O. Swanson and produced by the Chicago Tribune staff. He contributed chapters to “Christmas Presence: Twelve Gifts That Were More Than They Seemed,” published in 2002 by ACTA, as well as two follow-ups, “Hidden Presence” and “Diamond Presence.”
In 2011, Reardon was named by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to serve as a member of the advisory board of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL. In 2012, he was named to the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
He has been a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library. He has lectured on Chicago history at the Chicago History Museum and on journalism at Northwestern University, DePaul University and Roosevelt University. His poems have appeared in many periodicals.
Reardon and his wife, Cathy Shiel-Reardon, a psychotherapist and school social worker, live in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. Their daughter Sarah is a public school teacher in Chicago. Their son David, a financial analyst, married Tara Ruccolo, an event planner, in October, 2013.