Chicago philanthropist Edward Gardner dies at 98

A trailblazer in Chicago business, politics and philanthropy Edward Gardner has died at 98.

Gardner was known for founding the hair care company Soft Sheen in the 1960’s. By the late 1980's, Soft Sheen would become the biggest black-owned beauty company in the nation.

Gardner, who served in the army during World War II, was also known for recreating the historic Regal Theater, his philanthropy, and his anti-violence initiatives.

He earned a master’s degree in education at the University of Chicago, and was also a part-owner of the Chicago Bulls.

Before Harold Washington was elected mayor of Chicago, Gardner was credited with running a campaign that registered 200,000 voters.

His son Gary said in a statement, “He was my father, my hero, my teacher. He taught me how to engage people with humanity and humility.”

His daughter Terri said, "My father saw the untapped potential of his community."

Gardner's family said he died peacefully, surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren.

Listen to our new podcast Courier Pigeon
Listen to WBBM Newsradio now on Audacy!
Sign up and follow WBBM Newsradio
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images