Despite the inner turmoil, Mr. Prude was dedicated to a job he held at Gold Standard Baking, a commercial bakery near the south bank of the Chicago River, according to Jason Hunley, a former co-worker, who said that Mr. Prude was responsible for shepherding pastries down the line and into the oven.
Mr. Prude took it upon himself to help others in the neighborhood get jobs at Gold Standard, according to Antonio Hall, 42, a childhood friend who now co-owns an apparel company. “Everybody that was willing to work that knew Rell, he’d get you in there,” Mr. Hall said, using a nickname for Mr. Prude that derived from his middle name, Terrell (also sometimes spelled Terrel on official reports). “That’s the type of guy he was.”
The best part of the job, he would tell the 12th Street group, was how it enabled him to buy gifts like trendy sneakers for his grown children. “He’d say, ‘I got to be a daddy before I’m anything,’” his friend, April Jones, recalled as she hung out not far from the carwash, Nation Wide Hand Car Wash, on a recent afternoon.
Mr. Prude grew up in Lawndale Gardens, a public housing complex of two-story brick rowhouses spread across about seven acres in the Marshall Square neighborhood. He was one of five siblings, four boys and one girl. The Prude children were raised by their mother Dorothy, a bus driver whose strictness kept them out of trouble, said Olivia Jenkins, 68, who lived near the family in a unit in Lawndale Gardens.
Daniel attended Manley Career Academy High School, after graduating from John Spry Community School; he peers out shyly from page 27 of its eighth grade yearbook, where he lists his favorite TV show: “Martin.” He liked dogs, said Mr. Hall, who grew up with the Prude children, and said they used to take in stray animals and train them.