Sydney George Bild died peacefully on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at the Self Help Home, where he had lived since 2011. He was 95.
Bild was born in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago on July 20, 1922 to Evelyn Glenner Bild and Louis Bild. He graduated from Senn High School in 1939.
He attended Wright Junior College and DePaul Law School before joining the US Army in 1942, where he developed an interest in medicine after serving as a medic.
He graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1947. It was there he met the love of his life, Bernice Ranz, and they married in 1947. They lived in Hyde Park-Kenwood for six decades and were active members of the community and the progressive movement. Bernice predeceased him in 2012.
Bild graduated from medical school at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1951, completed two years of internal medicine residency at Cook County Hospital and then set up a general practice in Hyde Park.
Active in the cause of civil rights, he fought for admission of blacks to medical school and of lifting quotas on black patients in area hospitals in the 1950s while still a medical resident at Cook County, and after. Because of his activism, he was denied entry into the American Medical Association until 1963, when his knowledge of and friendships with black physicians made him an asset to Michael Reese Hospital.
He ran a founding business of the Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center and practiced in that location for approximately 25 years, where he was a consummate “small town” doctor and deeply loved by his patients. He later joined one of the first group practices at the Hyde Park Community Health Center, eventually serving as its medical director.
Seeing a great need in the community, in the 1970s he developed one of the first drug addiction treatment facilities in Chicago, serving as the Director of Medical Services at the Behavior Research and Action in the Social Sciences (BRASS). He also helped form one of the first community-owned group practices, at the Hyde Park Medical Center, eventually serving as its medical director. After retirement from medical practice, he became active in Metro Seniors in Action and the Jane Adams Seniors Caucus, championing single-payer health care and other work advocating on behalf of seniors.
Bild maintained his physical fitness since his days in the Army. He used the Hyde Park YMCA regularly, biked to his office, did daily push-ups and played tennis. He and Bernice traveled extensively, starting with annual summertime cross-country camping trips with his family and later to Scandinavia, Greece, Soviet Union, China, Peru, and Australia. Bild had a deep knowledge of US history, political events, and Greek and Roman mythology, and he continued his support for a variety of progressive causes throughout his life. He will be remembered for his warmth and support of family and friends, his sense of humor, and his storytelling.
Bild is survived by his four children, Eugene (Ramona), Steven (Mary Ellen), Diane (Paul) and Greg (Susan); nine grandchildren, Vince, Paul, Rachael, Elena, Nastassja, Zachary, Jia, Dina, and Brandon; and one great-grandchild, Pierre.
A memorial service will be held at the Self Help Home, 908 W. Argyle, Chicago, on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 11 am.