Charles "Chip" Allman-Burgard, 44, died by suicide on Aug. 25. Windy City Times was notified of his death via Facebook postings.
At the time of his death, Allman-Burgard ( along with his husband, Dr. Keith Allen Burgard, a Hines VA Hospital attending physician ) owned a health and wellness company called Naturally Fortified which they founded in 2012. Allman-Burgard was a certified holistic health coach and served as the businesses lifestyle coach. He received his certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2011.
Allman-Burgard met Burgard through a mutual friend at Andersonville Midsommerfest during a performance by Chicago's 16 Candles band in 2010. They had a commitment ceremony in 2012 at the Mayne Stage in Rogers Park and 16 Candles performed at their reception. In 2014, they got legally married.
He was born Nov. 2, 1972 in Manhasset, Long Island, New York, and played the trumpet for many years during his adolescence. Allman-Burgard was president of the Lexington High School Band of Gold Marching Band in Lexington, Ohio. In addition to music, Allman-Burgard was active in his high school drama club and he took that love of theater with him when he moved to Chicago. He starred in plays at the Bog Theater, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks and studied at Second City and Act One Studios.
Allman-Burgard got his bachelor's degree in marketing from Miami University in 1995. Prior to graduating from college, he spent a summer in Chicago as an intern at a public relations agency and fell in love with the city which he made his home soon after his college graduation.
Before the couple opened their Naturally Fortified business, Allman-Burgard had a career in the hospitality industry where he helped open several bars and restaurants in Chicago.
He is survived by his husband; father, Schuyler Allman; mother, Lynn ( Hausermann ) Allman; and sisters Natalie ( Allman ) Dumstorff and Kim ( Allman ) Keyser.
In addition to running his business, Allman-Burgard was a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois from 2012-2016. He was also involved with the ACLU of Illinois and the new Howard Brown LGBTQ+ Youth Center in Edgewater. Allman-Burgard also appeared on WCPT's Out Chicago program with his husband where they shared their healthy lifestyle expertise during the show's Healthy Outlook segment.
"Chip was a person who felt incredible joy as few others can," said Dumstorff. "He had a smile and energy that was infectious and made others gravitate toward his love for life. My brother also felt sadness and pain so deeply. We lost him to the sadness and darkness."
Several friends also commented about Allman-Burgard.
"I met Chip through Keith they when they met at Andersonville Midsommerfest, Chip got off work and there was Keith and there it was life-long partners," said Troy Karnoff. "Chip would have fun rosé wine and sparkling wine parties at his house with his delicious Naturally Fortified Foods and once in a while he would sneak in a cigarette. I loved spending time with Chip when he started his business. He got me back to eating healthier, but most important was spending those hours with him at my house and really becoming great friends. My favorite memories are when they came over to my house before their wedding to get dressed and ready for their big day and taking pictures of these two lovebirds. Chip, you bitch, I am so sad and you will be missed. I love you buddy."
"I am so deeply saddened to hear of his passing," said Samantha Borow. "Chip was a radiant light and he will be sorely missed. One of my fondest memories of him was from Midsommerfest 2014 when we danced the night away listening to Sixteen Candles. His online posts about green smoothies, detoxes, meditation and healthy living tips always came at the right time and would inspire me to make some changes in my life. He even came to my home once to teach me some veggie cooking techniques and we made some scrumptious dishes.
"He was deeply affected ( as was I ) by the injustices caused by the policy changes following the 2016 election, and he fought eloquently and tirelessly not for partisan politics but for equality and equity for all people. I will keep his memory alive and think of him every time I sip a green smoothie, see 11:11 on the clock, or participate in a political protest. He may be gone from this earth but his memory will live on in the hearts and minds of many people who were inspired by him and loved him dearly."
"I met Chip through my longtime friendship with Keith," said Jason Held. "When I was the executive director of About Face Theater, I started a young professionals board and Chip was the first person to raise his hand to participate. He was the type of guy who would get behind someone else's idea to help it come to fruition, bringing as much passion to the project without needing any fanfare. Chip was a dedicated person who was committed to helping people and making a positive impact on the community."
"Your family, whether given by grace or chosen by action is here, grieving, planning and fighting our way through the darkness, to ease your burden and take your hands so that we might walk through this together Keith," said Mike Sanchez. "I know Chip is grinning from ear to ear to see how much love was really there in the hearts of our community, friends and family. Chip is not one to be forgotten by any of us that his light touched."
"I met Chip and his husband at their wedding celebration at their Andersonville home," said Mimi Morris. "A mutual friend invited us and both Chip and Keith were welcoming to everyone attending, even those of us who had just met them. To honor them we decided to go to the Jewel and buy them a full bar. I hit it off with them right away and we would get together often with a big group of people including their annual Christmas party with everyone participating in the Secret Santa gift giving. They were a very loving and nice couple and respected by everyone they knew. I will miss Chip immensely."
"Chip was so full of life and his laugh and smile were infectious especially when any of us were feeling down," said Steven Adams. "He always knew how to make any of us feel better. We were a part of what we dubbed the Big Gay Bruch Club. Our friend Troy Karnoff created the group and that is where I met Chip. During those brunches, Chip was always the most bubbly and full of life person there and that included spontaneous dancing. There was not a bad bone in his body. It will be hard not having him around. I will especially miss his optimism about the world."
A memorial service will take place Sept. 3 at Barr Funeral Home, 6222 N. Broadway in Chicago with visitation at 2-3 p.m. and a memorial service at 3 p.m. Evanston's Ward 8, 629 Howard St., will host a celebration of Allman-Burgard's life at 5 p.m. that evening.
Burgard has requested that people bring Allman-Burgard's favorite flowers ( daisies, lavender, sunflowers and their wedding flower, calla lilies ) to the service.