Former lesbian nightclub bartender Jennifer Cadieux died Oct. 1 of cancer at the age of 60. She was surrounded by close friends.
Cadieux was born Jan. 6, 1963, in Aurora, where she spent the early part of her childhood. Her first professional endeavor was as a bartender at various Chicago lesbian-focused bars, including Augies and CK's, Girl Bar and Circuit where she regaled patrons with her expertise and wicked sense of humor.
While Cadieux was working as a bartender, she became a licensed hairdresser, and her clients called how she styled their hair "Cadieux's Do's." She brought the same kind of energy to that field as she did as a bartender. She was also a home interiors painter alongside Girl Bar co-owner Jennifer Murphy.
When Cadiuex was not working, she was also what her friends would say "a kick-ass drummer" playing in a number of girl bands throughout the city. She was a big fan of many musical artists, especially Amy Mann. Cadieux also volunteered and worked at animal shelters in Kankakee towards the end of her life.
She especially loved her cats Bello, Blaise, Freckles and Rocco. When she could not care for them anymore due to her ongoing health issues, Abby Smith at Felines and Canines Chicago took them into her cat sanctuary where they will live out the rest of their lives.
Cadieux is survived by her younger brother Michael Cadieux, her cats and countless chosen family members and friends.
Longtime friend and fellow bartender Victoria "Pickles" Martinez said in a Facebook post: "If you knew Jen, you knew she had a heart of gold and would always be there for those she cared about. You would never know she had such a rough childhood, because she had so much love to give, and that's all she ever wanted … to be loved by her friends. She loved tending bar at Augie & CK's, and the girls loved her too. Jen was the light you saw when you walked in Augie & CK's, and that light will shine on forever in our hearts."
Another longtime friend and fellow bartender, Kellie Norden Blackburn, said in a Facebook post: "She always had a smile for ya … such an innocent, caring and totally authentic human … I am hoping she is flying with all her angels and is at peace."
Augie's and CK's co-owner Cary McNamara said in a Facebook post, "You will never find a more beautiful person than Jennifer. Her life was cut way too short like a lotta others of our whole friend group."
Longtime friend Mary Howard said, "Jen was a bartender at Augie & CK's when I met her. She was the best flirt, batting her beautiful eyes and a smile that lit up the room. She was a very kind soul."
Another longtime friend Marina Mondello said, "Jen was fearless and she was kind. She brought life to the room when she walked in. When Jen loved you, she loved you with everything she had. Her light will be missed."
Murphy said in her Go Fund Me post about Cadieux's death, "If you knew Jen you knew that even in a packed club the two minutes that she spent making you your drink she made you feel like you were the most special and important person in the room. With her bombshell looks and flirty eyes she would create a true connection and genuine moment in time with you. Those moments kept the girls and boys coming back to see her for decades."
Tarrie Plachno, another longtime friend, added "Jennifer was a fun beautiful hard working woman, always smiling, loved by many who drove from far suburbs from Chicago just to see her. She would dance behind the bar at Augie & CK's, one of her favorite songs was by Nancy Sinatra: 'These boots are made for walking.' She also worked at Girl Bar and again the place was packed. Jennifer was a huge animal lover, especially cats. She walked into that shelter and organized everything; she loved every single cat. She was also a painter. I want to thank Marina, Pickles and Jennifer Murphy for being by Jennifer and holding her and taking care of everything for her. While God took her home ... I am forever grateful for you three. Jennifer has been a huge part of the gay community for years. We all will miss her dearly."
Per Cadieux's wishes, there will be no memorial service. She asked that people donate to Felines and Canines Chicago via the Go Fund Me Murphy organized at gofundme.com/f/in-honor-of-jennifer-cadieuxs-love-for-animals in her honor.