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PASSAGES: Community leader and retired business owner Martin Enright dies
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2017-12-03

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Martin "Marty" Enright, 85, died Nov. 29 of pancreatic cancer.

At the time of his death, he was living in Tallahassee, Florida with his long-time ( since 1975 ) husband George Brophy. They were married on Jan. 6, 2015—the day Florida legalized same-sex marriages. Their wedding was featured in the local paper, Tallahassee Democrat and a number of other media outlets.

Enright was born June 20, 1932 in Chicago near O'Hare Airport and was raised in Harwood Heights. He attended Lane Tech High School prior to embarking on a career as an electrician, just like his father. Enright started an apprenticeship with Electrical Union Local 134 in his later teen years.

Shortly thereafter, he was drafted by the Navy to serve in the Korean War in the Seabee Reserves preparing the terrain for military usage and later doing regular maintenance work on the bases where he was stationed ( Midway Islands and the Philippines ).

Following the war, Enright started an electrical contracting business, Evanston Electric, in Chicago with his older brother Dennis. They ran the business together for about 10 years until Marty decided to strike out on his own for the next 20-plus years.

Enright and Brophy opened the iconic western casual-themed Buddies' Restaurant & Bar in 1988 on Clark Street in Lakeview and continued running the establishment until they sold the business in 2004.

Over the years, Buddies' supported many organizations including Equality Illinois, Heartland Alliance's Vital Bridges Food Program, Center on Halsted, Howard Brown Health, Dining Out for Life, Great Lakes Bears, the Illinois Gay Rodeo Association, LesBiGay Radio, Chicago's LGBT Hall of Fame and sponsored numerous men's and women's LGB softball teams.

In 1999, Buddies' was chosen by Genre magazine as one of the nation's top 10 gayest restaurants and in 2003 it was inducted into Chicago's LGBT Hall of Fame for its many contributions to the community.

Prior to meeting and falling in love with Brophy, Enright was married to his wife Mickey for about 20 years. They had six children ( one of whom was adopted ) together and lived in Chicago and later Florida. When the divorce was finalized, Enright moved back to the Chicago area ( where he met and fell in love with Brophy ) where he stayed until his retirement.

The couple got involved with Equality Florida soon after moving to the state to continue the fight for LGBTQ rights there.

In addition to Brophy, Enright is survived by his children ( Dierdre Edwards, Mary Fish, Martin Enright Jr., Michael Enright and William "Billy" Enright ), sister Rosemary Gartska, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, countless nieces and nephews, his Great Dane dogs Lollipop and Skyy and his chosen family. He was preceded in death by his son Joseph Enright and siblings Winston Enright, Katherine Kelliher, Maury Enright, MaryAnn Harris, William Enright and Dennis.

"The one thing I know about Marty after loving him for 42 years was he was a true gentleman, and gentleman know when it is time to leave," said Brophy. "He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten by me and everyone else who loved him."

"As a gay man, when he was younger, Uncle Marty had to live two lives: the one society forced on him and the one that he ultimately owned," said his niece Laura Enright. "Yet, his memoir is titled The Best of Two Lives. He relished the joy in them both. And when able to live openly, he did so full throttle, honoring who he was and his community. He faced adversity in his life, not just due to his sexuality, yet he took situations and people as they came. No judgment. Whenever I was with him, I felt effervescent. I am so proud of how he lived his life. Always a smile on his face and in his voice."

"If Marty connected with you he made the effort to remain part of your life no matter the physical distance and that was the case with the two of us," said long-time friend and Buddies' employee Greg Boreham. "When I moved to Chicago, I got the job at Buddies' and because Marty and George welcomed me with open arms I decided to make the city my home. We happened to move to Florida ( me in Naples and them in Tallahassee ) within a year of each other so we were able to see each other on a regular basis. He was also friends with my mom and came over to her house to play poker when he visited us. I will miss him and his down-to-earth, salt-of-the-earth genuine candor about people and the world around him."

"I met Marty in the winter of 1996 through our dogs, but the funny thing is neither of us knew each other was gay for a long time," said long-time friend Mimi Chryssikos. "Then one day in the neighborhood we ran into each other. Marty was with George and I was with my then very butch lover Olga so the cat was out of the bag. Marty shared wonderful stories about his life, including his time in the Korean War and how he felt about George. We also shared our tragedies, including the death of his adopted son.

"He was a wonderful, caring, well-rounded, good-hearted, wise human being who helped me with my business ventures, in the romance department and with parenting questions. There was a little joke between the two of us. I lost my father at an early age, and since I could not visit his grave I had a picture and candle to remember him that one friend called the dead zone. Marty used to say 'I do not want my picture over there, not yet.' Well you finally made it to the dead zone Marty. I will be sending you kisses from here to heaven my buddy."

"I am honored and blessed to have known Marty," said long-time friend and Buddies' employee Alicia Gellineau. "I will never forget his kindness. He will truly be missed and always be remembered."

"Marty, along with his husband George, was an active, positive force in our community, particularly through their restaurant/bar, Buddies', which became a community institution," said Sidetrack co-owner Art Johnston. "Organizations knew that Marty, George and their staff were always generous in lending their spaces and helping provide food and other supplies to community groups."

Memorial services are pending. Brophy has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations should be sent to Covenant Hospice and Leon County Humane Society ( both in Tallahassee, Florida ) in Enright's memory.


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