Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

PASSAGES Activist John Chester remembered
2020-10-30

This article shared 2830 times since Fri Oct 30, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Longtime LGBT activist and former Chicagoan John Chester passed away Oct. 10 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he had been living since retirement. He was 78.

Chester, who was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame (now the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame) in 1994, was active in local politics and numerous local organizations, among them Hull House, Chicago House, Dignity/Chicago and Equality Illinois. He was a native of Michigan and worked as a telecommunications director for the Chicago airports.

Activist/consultant Rick Garcia, a close friend, said that "the state of Illinois owes him a debt of gratitude" for his activism.

Garcia knew Chester since the '80s. They first worked together on a campaign for U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, and Chester later approached Garcia, who was by then with Equality Illinois, to join in the work on the Illinois Human Rights Act.

"What's significant about that is that John Chester and I came from two political backgrounds," Garcia said. "He was a tried-and-true 'regular' Democrat, who worked through the system, and I was independent. In those days, we'd be at events and he'd give me the side-eye, and I'd give him the side-eye. But when it came time to do the state bill, he really put all of that aside to come and help me."

He further recalled that Chester "had an enormous amount of experience, such as doing lobby days [wherein activists and community members meet with legislators] in Springfield. He knew how Springfield worked. By this time, we became fast-and-furious friends."

Chester also served on the board of Equality Illinois. When he first saw the organization's expense sheet, he noticed that Garcia, then the organization's political director, was being paid last. Chester demanded that Garcia's pay take higher priority.

"At the next board meeting, he announced, 'We pay our staff first. Everyone else can wait,'" Garcia said. "He made sure that I had a salary and was was paid regularly. For me that was one of the most touching moments. He really grew the organization."

Among those politicians Chester also worked on behalf of were state Reps. Bruce Douglas, Susan Catania, Elroy Sandquist and Carol Ronen, and Ald. Mary Ann Smith. "John's fingerprints were all over 48th Ward politics," added Garcia.

"My heart is broken with the loss of my dear friend John Chester," said Schakowsky in a statement to Windy City Times." I am proud to have had his talents on my side when he regularly served as a top advisor, strategist and organizer as co-chair of my campaigns. He provided endless support and was always there to help. His larger than life personality helped us rise above the most challenging of situations.

"John was a tremendous asset to the Chicago community. His work ranged from advocating for health care reform to economic empowerment for the working poor. His heart was in his work for LGBT equality and progressive politics, where his efforts helped shape the early Chicago Human Rights Ordinance and elect public officials who embraced equality. I will miss him dearly."

Chester had broad and sophisticated tastes and interests. During his retirement, for example, he was a docent at Albuquerque Art Museum.

"He gave tours of the museum—he knew all the history, and every thing there," Garcia recalled. "He also gave walking tours of Old Town Albuquerque. He really loved history and the art world, and he loved to share."

Chester was also passionate about discovering new restaurants, he added. "He'd take us to the best places. Some of them were greasy spoons on a corner that nobody would go to, but they were excellent. He knew where all the excellence was."

Garcia emphasized that Chester could best be described as "a full person. He wasn't obsessed with anything other than living a good life, and justice. He knew you had to have a good sense of humor, and really enjoy life. That's what made him great."

—Windy City Times staff


This article shared 2830 times since Fri Oct 30, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Actress Olympia Dukakis dies at 89 2021-05-01
- Olympia Dukakis—who won an Oscar for her supporting role in the 1987 hit Moonstruck and starred in Look Who's Talking and Mr. Holland's Opus as well as iterations of TV's Tales of the City—died May 1 at her home in New York City ...


Gay News

PASSAGES: AIDS activist, anti-imperalist organizer Tryfan Morys Eibhlyn Llwyd 2021-04-25
- Longtime AIDS activist and anti-imperalist organizer Tryfan Morys Eibhlyn Llwyd (also known as Arawn Eibhlyn, and who uses the pronouns they/them/their) died March 3 in Louisville, Kentucky due to natural causes. They were 70. Llwyd was ...


Gay News

Body of 19-year-old Chicago Black trans woman found in June 2020, identified April 2021 2021-04-24
- On June 6, 2020, the body of an unidentified young Black trans person was found in an abandoned building at 7908 S Laflin in Chicago. https://twitter.com/KaylaraOwl/status/1292173435750277123 . Koko Nia Labeija was born 29 May 2001 in ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Retired Chicago Police Commander Nancy Y. Lipman dies 2021-04-22
- Retired Chicago Police Commander Nancy Y. Lipman died April 11 due to complications from ovarian cancer. She was 61. Lipman was born Jan. 21, 1960 in Chicago and graduated from Morgan Park High School. She also ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Donald Duane Slater 2021-04-20
- Donald Duane Slater, age 73, of Kalamazoo Michigan made his transition on April 8, 2021 in his home, of natural causes. Don worked in several bars in the 1970's and 80's. Among them the Glory Hole ...


Gay News

Longtime LGBTQ activist Julie Valloni dies 2021-04-06
- Longtime LGBTQ activist Julie Valloni died March 28 in Rockford, Illinois due to complications from a hip fracture. She was 80. Valloni was born July 12, 1940 and grew up in Chicago where she graduated from ...


Gay News

PASSAGES John Stephen Hunt 2021-03-29
- John Stephen Hunt—a writer, world literati and global human-rights activist based in Chicago—died March 17 of natural causes in Chicago. He was 85. Hunt came out as a 20-year-old gay man during his U.S. Army Service. ...


Gay News

Longtime Chicago LGBTQ, HIV/AIDS activist Roman Buenrostro dies 2021-03-28
- Longtime Chicago LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS activist Roman Buenrostro died March 25 due to complications from cancer. He was 54. Buenrostro was born Jan. 18, 1967 in Chicago. When his father retired, the family moved to Southern ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Roman Buenrostro 2021-03-26
- Roman Buenrostro, a past AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) Director of Special Projects passed away on March 25, 2021. He was a longtime LGBTQ+ leader and activist for people living with HIV and a co-founder of the ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Downstate activist Buff Carmichael passes away 2021-03-25
- Longtime LGBTQ+-rights activist Buff Carmichael II, who was publisher of the Prairie Flame newspaper, passed away March 21 at his home in Springfield after a long illness. He was 73. A longtime State of Illinois employee, ...


Gay News

WORLD Court rulings, trans kids' books, activist dies, Naomi Campbell 2021-03-07
- A Chinese court upheld a ruling that a textbook description of homosexuality as "a psychological disorder" was not a factual error but merely an "academic view," according to the South China Morning Post. The Chinese LGBT ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Maya Kali Evans dies at 53 2021-02-19
- Maya Kali Evans (formerly Curtis O. Love)—a tattoo artist and caregiver who resided in Newark, Illinois, and who previously lived in Chicago and Philadelphia—passed away peacefully Feb. 18, 2021, at home in Newark. She was 53. ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Dr. Gary B. Beringer, epidemiologist, dies at 70 2021-02-17
- Epidemiologist Gary B. Beringer, Dr. P.H., age 70, passed away suddenly Wednesday, Jan. 27 at his home in Chicago, IL. Gary, an only child, is survived by his wife, Nancy M. Abbate, who worked closely with ...


Gay News

Queer musician Ari Gold dies at 47 2021-02-14
- New York City-based dance artist Ari Gold has died at age 47 after a long battle with cancer, according to out.com. Gold—who was also known as Sir Ari and GoldNation— released seven albums as a part ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Robert Thomas Cichocki, J.D. dies at 70 2021-02-11
- Robert Thomas Cichocki, J.D., passed away peacefully at home in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood on Feb. 5. He was 70. After earning his B.A. from Wayne State University and his J.D. from The John Marshall Law ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.