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Real estate developer, philanthropist Glick dies at 92

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Eugene Biccard Glick, an Indianapolis native and World War II veteran who built a fortune as a residential real estate developer before becoming better known as one the city’s most generous philanthropists, died Wednesday at 92.

Glick, who had Alzheimer's disease and had been ill for some time, died at home.

“A devoted patriot, successful businessman, and generous philanthropist, Gene B. Glick will be remembered always in Indiana for his heart of gold and commitment to leaving this world better than he found it,” Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said in a prepared statement. “On behalf of the State of Indiana, the First Lady and I mourn the passing of this extraordinary Hoosier and lift up his family and friends in prayer during this difficult time.”

Gnere Glick mugGene Glick

Glick and his wife, Marilyn, who died in 2012, donated millions of dollars over the past two decades to fund a wide range of civic and capital projects, including the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, the Glick Eye Institute at the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Indiana History Center and the Indianapolis Art Center.

The couple gave $30 million for the construction of the Glick Eye Institute and $15 million to the Cultural Trail, the bike and pedestrian trail named for them that runs through downtown.

The Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center in Indianapolis was named by the Glicks to honor Gene’s brother, who died in 1937 from spinal meningitis.

Shortly after their marriage in 1947, the Glicks founded what would become the Gene B. Glick Co., which became Indiana’s most prolific private developer of single-family homes. It began transitioning to the development and management of apartment communities in 1962 and now manages about 20,000 apartment units in 10 states.

“His business philosophy was consistent with his worldview," said David Barrett, president and CEO of Gene B. Glick Co. "He thought, ‘Let me see how I can make things better for people.’ ... His goal was to provide affordable and market-rate housing to people, where they would truly find value.”

Much of the fortune the Glicks earned through their business has been used to fund civic projects and charitable organizations throughout central Indiana.

In 1982, the couple established the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Family Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the state. The pair also established The Glick Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation and The Glick Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis.

The Glick Fund operated by the CICF has given out more than $45 million in grants since it was founded in 1998.

One of the Glick's favorite charities was the Children's Bureau Inc., a not-for profit that provides child and family social services in 47 Indiana counties. Three facilities operated by the Children's Bureau are named in honor of the Glick family, including the Gene Glick Family Support Center & Executive Offices. Glick founded the Children Bureau's Pro-100 youth summer-work program in 1981.

Born in 1921, Glick attended Shortridge High School and Indiana University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business.

After college, Glick served in Italy, France and Germany during the height of World War II. As a German speaker, Glick often served as a front-line interrogator for Army scouts. His war experiences were featured in Tom Brokaw’s bestselling book, “The Greatest Generation.”

Glick's division took Nuremburg and Munich, and helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp in April 1945. Many of the photos Glick took in Germany were donated to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Emory University.

He received every European Theater ribbon awarded and was decorated with the Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

One of his war experiences played a major role during the rest of his life, Glick recalled in his autobiography, "Born to Build." He and his fellow soldiers were under heavy shell fire and trapped in an ice-covered trench. He had to lay face-down in freezing water for what seemed like hours as shells and shrapnel rained down.

"I said to myself, how much worse can it be? If I survive, I’m not going to forget this day," he wrote. "Any time I think I’ve got it tough or things aren’t going well, I’m going to say to myself, ‘Glick, how does this compare to Nov. 11, 1944?’”

Glick remained chairman emeritus of the Gene B. Glick Co. after he retired from the CEO position in 2008.

Glick is survived by his four daughters, including local philanthropist Marianne Glick.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation.
 

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  • Thank you
    Thanks for your comments.
  • Thank you
    Thank you so much for your comments. My sisters and I had no idea of this kindness. We are so happy that you shared your experience.
  • I am where I am because .....
    As a welfare mother who was seconds away from leaving law school because I could not afford housing for my daughter and I, I am forever grateful to Gene Glick. I wrote to him while attending Valporaiso University School of Law, telling him I was on the edge of dropping out because I could not provide affordable, safe housing for my young daughter. Within two weeks, , the Gene Glick apartment complex that I had been working so hard to get into, called me with an opening. Gene Glick was that kind of man. I never had the opportunity it's to personally thank him. But I want all to know that his generous heart has touched many. Not only.did Gene Glick gave me a place to live he taught me to listen to those in need. I have worked hard to carry on Gene Glick's message. Your generosity will continue to carry your message as will my continued actions. Thank you Gene Glick. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
    • Gene,Marilyn Remembered
      What wonderful people--even more wonderful parents--both of them were. And my favorite member of Gene is rooted in the homey MCL near Glendale. Rich, successful as he was, it was Gene Glick's favorite restaurant. I would always, when I dropped in, see him going through the line with a tray, sooften with business friends, but also alone. He never failed to rise to greet & hug me...always called it his favorite place other than home..."I often eat here 6 days a week and would do 7 if I could." He is remembered by most as giving millions--he is remembered by our family in that he was always the donor who would give the relatively small sum annually to buy basket balls for little known youth Optimist benefit. Were that there were more like him
    • Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Glick
      The City of Indianapolis is very blessed for having had the honor of Mr. & Mrs. Glick's mentorship and generosity the past 30+ years. Our son went to JA Biz Camp in the Glick Bldg, we've ridden bikes on parts of the Indpls Cultural Trail many times, and viewed Mrs. Glick's beautiful glass collection at IMA. As a city, we've enjoyed affordable homes before the idea was popular, and later better libraries, art programs and hospitals because of their generous philanthropy, which continues through their foundation and their family. As Tom Brokaw said, Gene Glick was one of "The Greatest Generation."
    • Thank You
      I never met him and never will, but I've benefited many times and in many ways from the work he and his family did. Thank you.
    • RIP
      RIP MR Glick. Indianapolis was lucky to have such a great man as one of its residents.
    • Remembering
      I will always have fond memories of the kindnesses that Gene and Marilyn showed to me and my family during my 29 year tenure with their organization.
      • A truly good person!
        I was a waiter at the Glass Chimney restaurant for many years and Mr. and Mrs. Glick were regular diners. They were always very nice, considerate and delightful people to serve. Indy has lost a great soul.
      • sad day in Indiana
        Eugene was a great guy and did great things!! Both of my kids were adopted through Children's Bureau which is one of his foundations.
      • thank you
        thank you to Mr. Glick and the Glick family for funding the cultural trail. I use it daily and it has improved the city. Mr. Glick sounds like a fascinating person.

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        1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

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