Evanston resident Kevin Andrew Putz has passed away, He was 56.
Kevin was the beloved husband of Michael McNamara; son of Sharon Putz and the late Dr. Gerard J. Putz; loving brother of Michael (Connie) Putz of Menlo Park, California, and Jenny (Bob) Kopach of Elmhurst, Illinois; cherished uncle of Hannah Kopach, Johnny Kopach and Meera Putz; brother-in-law, nephew and cousin to family across the country; and a friend to many.
He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts in architecture and urban planning. After moving to Chicago and putting down roots in Northalsted, he founded Toolbox, Inc., a leading graphic design firm in real estate and cause marketing.
Kevin brought understanding and compassion to his work for the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, STOP AIDS, Chicago House, Better Existence with HIV (BEHIV), Center on Halsted, Art Against AIDS, Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN), Dining Out for Life and Howard Brown Health Center. In 2005, Kevin was honored with the Chris Clason "Committed to Living" award by TPAN for his numerous innovative social education and awareness campaigns.
Kevin and Michael were active in Democratic politics, the Equality Illinois "Justice for All" project, and the march in Washington, D.C. for marriage equality in 2009. Kevin was also instrumental in creating the GSK "Hep Team", a health initiative designed to combat the spread of Hepatitis A and B in the gay community which was credited with a huge uptick in hepatitis vaccinations and hepatitis education in cities where the project was deployed. Working with the Mayor's Office of Special Events and The Harold Washington Library, Kevin helped create the "One Book Chicago" program.
Kevin never met a car magazine he didn't like, and always dreamed of having an Airstream Trailer he could travel cross-country in, reliving the days of camping and RVing with family and cousins in Colorado and Michigan in the 1970s. His childhood love of the outdoors turned into a gardening obsession as an adult; anyone in Evanston knew that the stone house on the corner of Kirk and Darrow had the most beautiful blooming flowers, tended shrubs, winding paths, and tiny surprises like a hidden sculpture, a ceramic birdbath or a fence woven from bent branches.
Kevin was the light of our lives. Even while battling HIV/AIDS, cancer and a variety of other medical challenges, he still met each morning with zest and drive, and fought to live just one more day for more days than anyone could have predicted. He was a hero and an inspiration, a true fighter, and through it all, always had a 1,000-watt smile.
In lieu of flowers, memorials will be appreciated in Kevin's name and may be sent to either of these organizations: AIDS Foundation Chicago, 200 W. Monroe St. Suite 1150, Chicago, IL 60606 (AIDSChicago.org); or TPAN, 5537 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640 (TPAN.com ).
A memorial visitation will take place Saturday, Nov. 7, 1-3 p.m. in Kevin's garden at 1800 Kirk St., Evanston, IL 60202. Masks are required.