William ( "Bill" ) Walter Weeks passed away suddenly June 29.
Bill was a lifelong resident of Chicago and preceded in death by his father, Walter H. Weeks and mother, Louise J. Weeks ( Devlin ). He was also the beloved brother of Victoria C. Weeks, of Savannah, Georgia; Ronald B. Weeks, of Des Plaines, Illinois; and Patricia A. Weeks-Stork, of Frankfort, Illinois. He was the fond uncle of Nicole, Brian and Matthew Weeks, a great-uncle to six and a dear friend to countless others.
Bill received his bachelor's degree from Illinois State University and a master's degree from Florida State University. He was a residence hall director at Florida State and Loyola University Chicago, as well as the director of residential life at University of Illinois at Chicago. He then moved into his career as a high school teacher. An eclectic life-long learner, he continued taking courses in education, but also took classes and workshops that ran the gamut from the history of the Irish in Chicago at the Newberry Library to the art of making classic cocktails at Cindy's Rooftop Bar.
Bill worked in the Chicago Public School system for 25 years as a teacher, dean of students and, always, an educator. He worked at Jacqueline Vaughn Occupational High School, School of Entrepreneurship at the South Shore campus, Al Raby School for Community and Environment, Prosser Career Academy, and Foreman College and Career Academy. He was instrumental in establishing Service Learning Programs, and was known for his monthly weekend conservation service learning treks with his students in the local wetlands. But he also gifted his students with field trips that allowed them to experience the city's ethnic diversity, cultivate an interest in the arts and appreciate the beauty of nature. "Mr. Weeks" was much loved by students and respected by colleagues.
Throughout his life, Bill was a passionate activist for the LGBTQ community. He was a past director of Horizons Youth Services, and facilitated LGBTQ programs and plans for the Illinois chapter of the ACLU. His volunteer service was extraordinary. Besides his service on the board of the Chicago chapter of the Gay Alliance Against Defamation, he served for 10 years as the political liaison for Chicago with the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ). For six of those years, Bill served on HRC's National Board of Governors. Following his service at HRC, Bill served on the board of The Civil Rights Agenda.
Bill was dedicated to advancing equality for the LGBTQ+ community and lobbied tirelessly to local, state and national representatives. He advocated for the marriage initiative in Illinois, the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and for countless hate crimes and employment-protections legislation. Bill volunteered his time to support numerous political campaigns, including both of President Obama's elections as well as those of Hilary Clinton, Jan Schakowsky and Tammy Duckworth. He gave generously of his time for the rights of all, and not only talked the talk, but literally walked the walk. His life was about service to others.
He was a world traveler, never letting a school break or summer vacation go by without exploring somewhere new. He had a National Parks "Passport," a goal being visiting all of them.
Bill's generosity and kindness knew no bounds. For decades, he hosted a holiday Friendsgiving for family and friends where he could put his exemplary culinary skills on display. All were welcomeespecially newcomers.
There are not enough words to describe Bill Weeks: teacher, educator, activist, environmentalist, change agent and, most of all, friend. He was wicked smart, empathetic, big-hearted and beyond funny. Bill appreciated and accepted everyone he encountered, for who they were, never passing judgement and making everyone feel valued. A considerate, unselfish, loving man, he truly was one of a kind.
A celebration of his life will be held at a future date. Donations in his memory can be made to:
The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago IL 60605
Human Rights Campaign
1640 Rhode Island Ave. N.W.
Washington D.C. 20036
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200 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago IL 606004