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Chicagoan Bill Gutrich dies

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William "Bill" Gutrich, 67, of Chicago, passed away Sept. 29 at his home after a short fight against cancer.

Gutrich was born in the Beverly neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago on Dec. 19, 1949 to parents Michael and Kathryn Gutrich. He is the beloved partner/husband of Kevin Meek; loving father of Mary Kay, Kris ( Jody ), and Kory ( Rae Ellen ); cherished grandfather of Wesley, Kyler, Lukas, Ryder, and Kathryn; dear brother of Tom ( Peggy ), Mary Kay ( Bill ) Brown, Ken ( Jeanne ), Janet ( Jan Dee ), the late Michael ( Rita ), the late Richard ( Nancy ), the late baby Susanne and in-laws Maureen ( John ) Zawsza and Jack ( Liz ) Meek; treasured uncle, cousin and friend to many.

He was a connoisseur in the food and beverage industry and managed a number of prestigious places such as Grassfields on Ridge, The Hut in Colorado, the Columbia Yacht Club and The Shedd Aquarium.

"Bill and I met in a gay bar on the South Side of Chicago 33 years ago and we have been together ever since," said his husband Kevin Meek. "It was love at first sight, and 33 years later I love him more now than ever. We've had so much fun together over the years.

"I have traveled all over the United State and Europe with Bill, my best friend. We went to a royal wedding in Monaco! Bill just goes up to Prince Charles like he was just a regular guy and starts talking to Prince Charles and his wife Princess Charlene."

The couple, both real estate agents, worked 17 years in business together. "Everybody loved Bill," Kevin said. "He was a big personality. He could go into a room of 50 people not knowing anyone, and by the end of the evening everyone is listening to his stories. God he was a great story teller. He was so smart, a voracious reader and lover of cinema, a master of movie trivia. Bill paid the bills and whenever I would ask hime how we were doing, he would hold my hand and say we're doing just fine, always keeping me happy, never letting me worry about anything."

The couple has three children and five grandchildren. Gutrich is from a big Irish family, one of eight children. His sister Janet Gituch, an LGBT activist, said: "He was my big brother always my protector, confidant and conspirator. We had a blast growing up together the two youngest of eight, loving our music and gay life styles."

"I miss my prince so bad, I just can't stop crying," Kevin said. "I look forward to the day that I can hold his hand and kiss his lips again."

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