Martin Gapshis, an openly gay Chicago business owner and philanthropist, has died. He was 63.
Gapshis was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2007. According to the hall's website, Gapshis was president of Progress Printing ( a 75-year-old business founded by his father, Stanley ) and contributed to many organizations, including Lakefront Supportive Housing, Chicago International Film Festival, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the NAMES Project and the Center on Halsted.
On Feb. 10, 1995, Mayor Richard Daley declared "Martin Gapshis Day" in Chicago, in honor of Gapshis receiving the "Biggest Heart in Chicago" Award from the now-defunct HIV/AIDS organization the Hearts Foundation. In 2004, Gapshis received the NAMES Project's Hopeful Spirit Award, which acknowledged his steadfast dedication to the AIDS Memorial Quilt and to the eradication of HIV/AIDS.
This year at its Human First gala, the Center on Halsted honored Gapshis, who, as co-chair of the Center's capital campaign, helped raise $20 million for the construction of the organization's current Lake View location. In a recent interview with Windy City Times, Gapshis credited his upbringing as vital to the work he did. "People need to be taught philanthropy," he said. "My parents were really involved in all aspects. I think a lot of people don't have that."