(Updated 9/27/2016) William Garth Sr., who for more than three decades was the chief executive and publisher of the Citizen Newspaper Chain, died on Sept. 23 at the age of 78. According to the Chicago Tribune, the cause of death was complications from diabetes.
Garth was dedicated to telling stories about the Black community that otherwise would not be told by other media outlets.
Throughout his career, Garth was active in numerous press organizations. He was a member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA)-the Black Press of America, the first African-American President of the Illinois Press Association, former president of Midwest Region III of the NNPA, a board member of the African American News & Information Consortium(AANIC) group, a board member for the Midwest Black Publishers Association, Chairman of the Chatham Business Association and a lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Some of the work he has done with the Chatham Business Association included bringing a Target Store, Nike Outlet and a Home Depot to the Chatham area.
According to the Tribune, in 1995, Garth started the Quentis Bernard Garth foundation after the death of his youngest son, Quentis. Over the years the foundation has provided over $1 million in scholarships to the community.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement over the weekend which said, “William Garth was more than the successful publisher of the Chicago Citizen and other respected publications. He was a philanthropist and community leader whose legacy will live on in the countless lives he has touched and through the college scholarships he provided in memory of his son Quentis Bernard Garth. His entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to service, and love of family will continue to inspire generations of Chicagoans. Amy and my thoughts and prayers are with the Garth family and the many in Chicago who were proud to call William their friend.”
Garth has received a plethora of community and local awards and the honor of carrying the Olympic Torch in Chicago in 2002.
Garth is survived by his daughter-in-law, Janice, three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Services for Garth will take place on Friday, September 30 at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church, located at 754 East 77th Street in Chicago, Illinois.
In lieu of flowers the Garth family is asking that donations be sent to:
BMO Harris Bank, C/O The Bill Garth Scholarship Fund, 1400 West 18th Street, Chicago, IL 60608.