Gilbert Ghez passed away September 15 at home after several months of battling cancer. He was born in 1938 in Rome, Italy, the second child of two born to Elsie Marx of Frankfurt, Germany and Henri Ghez of Rome, Italy. Gilbert and his family spent the majority of World War II in New York City, and following the war he returned to Europe and attended the International School in Geneva. In the early 1960s, he returned to the United States to attend graduate school. He completed a Master's in Economics at Yale University and a Ph.D. in Economics at Columbia University. In 1969, he was hired by the University of Chicago and moved to the Midwest. In 1979, Gilbert was hired in the College of Business at Roosevelt University as Associate Professor in Management, with a joint appointment in Economics. He was promoted to Professor in Management in 1982, and he taught at Roosevelt for the remainder of his life. He served proudly as President of the Illinois Economic Association from 1982-1983. His work was recognized as outstanding. When the Eastern Bloc opened in the 1990s, he created a program with Roosevelt that allowed students from Czechoslovakia to come and study at Roosevelt University. He had three daughters -- Andrea, Marissa ("Mimi") and Helena -- and was a life-long devoted parent. In the early 2000s, he had the idea for a family reunion that would ultimately unite 100 descendants from several different countries, of a Ghez relative who was the first Jewish doctor to serve a king of Italy. The gathering took place in Pisa, Italy in 2007. He was also a lover of Buster Keaton film and of early cinema, and a regular at the Art Institute of Chicago. He could spend hours gazing at a single painting, sometimes sketching it as a matter of course. He had a love of dance and followed several national and international dance troupes, often getting on planes to go to places like Canada and Brooklyn just to see select performances. He held an impressive collection of books on the physics of dance. A good deal of his time was spent drawing, a study he cultivated since youth, and he often spent his Saturdays and Sundays at the Chicago area studio, Palette and Chisel. He traveled to far-flung parts of the world to explore traces of ancient civilizations. He laid his eyes on Stonehenge, Tikkal, Luxor, Oaxaca (Monte Alb�n) - and knew how to say a few basic words in the ancient language of the Zapotec. He is survived by all three daughters, older brother Riccardo ("Richard"), sister-in-law Margalit, two grandsons ~ Evan and Miles ~~ as well as son-in-law Tom, several cousins, and ex-wife Susanne Ghez. Donations may be made in the name of Gilbert Ghez to the Hubbard Street Dance Company.
Published in Chicago Tribune from Sep. 29 to Oct. 4, 2015.