Scott Reichelsdorf died Oct. 24 from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease ( COPD ). He was 57.
Windy City Times was notified of his death via a Facebook posting.
At the time of his death, Reichelsdorf was the event planner at J&L Catering, where he produced galas and events such as the Lincoln Park Zoo Ball, Northwestern University's Center for Wrongful Convictions Annual Gala, Chicago Children's Theater Gala, Teen Living Annual Gala and the St. Joseph's School Annual Gala as well as events for Heartland Alliance, Chicago House and the Chicago Fire Foundation.
Previously, Reichelsdorf worked as an event planner for Calihan Catering. He also worked for Entertaining Company and Jim Guth's Chicago Caterers.
A native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Reichelsdorf was born Nov. 13, 1959, and received his Bachelor of Arts in theater from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He originally planned on being an actor; however, years of working in the catering industry in between acting gigs changed his career trajectory toward event planning.
Reichelsdorf is survived by his partner of 15 years, Hyun Tae "Rafael" Kim, and a cousin, Dennis Vegel. His parents, Evelyn and Joseph Guzauskas, and a half-brother preceded Reichelsdorf in death.
"Scott had an incredible gift for making everyone feel cared for," said friend and J&L Catering co-owner/event designer Ted Grady. "He guided our clients through many of life's journeys with grace and confidence. This is such a tremendous loss for our J&L family, as well as the Chicago special events community. He will be missed by many."
"Scott was one of my dearest friends, a great mentor and a colleague for many, many years," said longtime friend and colleague Rachel Razowsky. "We sometimes fought like siblings, but always loved each other like siblings. He brought so much joy to so many people. Scott was definitely one of the greats in our catering community. We will miss him every day."
"I first met Scott about 18 years ago at an open house we were having at our catering company," said J&L Catering co-owner/Executive Chef Kevin Kelly. "I knew of his reputation in the industry for being a true professional and incredibly passionate about his work. A few years later, he came to work for us and I was able to witness that first hand. He became more than a colleague, he became a true friend. We will miss him dearly."
"Scott was a dear friend, colleague, partner, lover and mentor for everyone he touched," said J&L Catering event designer Nitin Vyas. "I loved getting you several cups of coffee a day in your Mojo Jojo coffee mug and learning about classic movies and storylines while we drank our beverages. I will miss having you as a sounding-board for ideas as well as both our agreements and disagreements on many issues. You were always a dear friend and always supportive. I will miss you very much."
"Scott was a friend and mentor and taught me so much about the industry we loved," said long-time friend and colleague Luis Lazu. "He will forever be in my heart and memory. Love you Scotty."
Reichelsdorf's memorial service will take place at Venue West, 221 N. Paulina St., on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 4-7 p.m. Complimentary parking is available across the street.
In addition, the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame will honor him Nov. 8 at the Chicago History Museum for his years of work with the organization. The event is free and open to the public.
A fund has been set up to cover the cost of Reichelsdorf's funeral. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/scott-reichelsdorf-memorial .