Last weekend Chicago lost one of its most vibrant citizens, North Side campaign worker, former Ald. Eugene Schulter staffer and North Center Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Garrett FitzGerald, who passed after a two year struggle with brain cancer. A man who defined the term bon vivant, Garrett was not the creator, but he lifted his chamber’s annual Rib Fest into one of the city’s best neighborhood festivals with genuinely great music acts, a disgustingly fun rib eating contest and more. Garrett also took his Chamber duties seriously by supporting many local businesses, including one of my earlier publications, Center Square Journal, extending himself more than many other local chamber directors.

Because it was fun, Garrett had bought an old electric golf cart, affixed it with a big North Center Chamber “N”, and then would drive up and down Lincoln Avenue with a big grin on his face, especially during Rib Fest. I’ll always remember him that way.

He is survived by his wife Alicia and daughter Bridget. Visitation is at Grein Funeral Directors, 2114 W. Irving Park Rd, Friday, May 15 from 3:00 p.m.to 9:00 p.m. and a funeral mass at St. Benedict’s Church, 2215 W. Irving Park Rd, Saturday, May 16 at 11:00 a.m. Rather than sending flowers, the family asks you consider giving to Voices Against Brain Cancer or Neumann Family Services.