Indiana businessman and philanthropist Gene Glick dies at 92

Eugene B. Glick

Indiana businessman and philanthropist Eugene Biccard Glick died at his home Wednesday. He was 92.

Gene Glick's name is well known around Indianapolis after he and his wife Marilyn funded the Glick Eye Institute at the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, the Indiana Authors Award, and many charitable projects benefiting the arts, education, public health, and aid organizations in central Indiana.

He was a World War II combat veteran who was featured in Tom Brokaw's bestseller "The Greatest Generation." Glick also founded a successful housing firms during the greatest construction boom in U.S. history.

After the war, Glick joined Peoples Bank, where he established its GI loan program. He saw the need for housing for returning veterans and their families, and, along with his wife Marilyn, later founded the Gene B. Glick Company, a large privately held real estate development firm.

Governor Mike Pence issued this statement:

"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," said Governor Pence. "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."

Statement from IU President Michael McRobbie:

"The Indiana University community has lost a true friend in the passing of Gene Glick, and our thoughts, deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends. Gene, along with his late wife and partner Marilyn, were Indiana treasures whose generosity and spirit of caring will be benefit Hoosiers for decades to come. The eye care institute that bears their name will keep IU at the forefront of vision research and care, and we will endeavor to live up to the faith they have shown in Indiana University."

Early history (provided by Kate Snedeker Communications)

Born in Indianapolis on August 26, 1921, he was the older son of Reuben Glick and Faye Biccard Glick. He spent his early childhood taking piano lessons, visiting Riverside Park, and playing baseball with his younger brother, Arthur, who died in 1937 as a result of spinal meningitis. The Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center was named by Gene to honor his brother.

He attended Shortridge High School, where he was an ad salesman for the school newspaper. He also operated a charter bus service at Indiana University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree from its School of Business.

After graduating from IU in December 1942, he completed basic training with the Army and served as a combat instructor until June 1944, when he was deployed to Italy, then later transferred to France as part of the 179th Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division, fighting to secure France in the months following the D-Day invasion of Normandy. As a German speaker, Glick often served as a front-line interrogator for Army scouts.

One day of the war would serve as the touchstone of his life. He and his fellow GIs were under heavy shell fire, and he dove into an ice-covered slit trench. He had to lay face-down in freezing water for what seemed like hours as shells and shrapnel rained down. He later wrote in his autobiography, Born to Build, "I said to myself, how much worse can it be? If I survive, I'm not going to forget this day. 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 November 11, 1944?'"

The following spring, the division pressed into Germany and took Nuremburg and Munich. Glick and his comrades liberated Dachau concentration camp in April 1945. At that time, few soldiers knew what they would find at such camps - crematoria, execution pits, railroad cars full of bodies. Glick had a camera with him and documented what he saw. He would later donate his photographs to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Emory University. Glick received every European Theater ribbon awarded and was decorated with the Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman's Badge.

In 1982, the Glicks 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 (JFGI). The Glicks have been major benefactors of a number of Jewish causes, including JFGI and a number of its programs and services. One of Gene Glick's favorite philanthropic projects was the Pro-100 mentoring program, administered by the Children's Bureau. Created by Glick in 1981, Pro-100 offers paid summer internships for disadvantaged youth.

Throughout his career, Glick served on numerous professional, civic and philanthropic boards.

He is in the National Housing Hall of Fame and is a Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame Laureate. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Butler University in 1989. He received Sagamore of the Wabash awards from Indiana governors Robert Orr (1982), Evan Bayh (1992), and Joe Kernan (2005). Glick was named an Indiana Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society in 2002.

Gene Glick was a member of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Marilyn Koffman Glick. He is survived by his four daughters: Marianne Glick (Mike Woods), Arlene Grande (Thomas), Alice Meshbane (Andrew), and Lynda Schwartz (Mark). He is also survived by his many grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

A memorial service will take place on Friday, October 4th at 11:00am at the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute at Indiana University School of Medicine.