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Last updated: Fri. Aug. 22, 2014 - 11:23 am EDT

Civic leader Gil Haynie dies

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Gilmore S. Haynie Jr., a local attorney who was active in numerous civic efforts and remembered “as a steadying influence,” died Thursday. He was 67.

Haynie was born in Bluffton, attended South Side High School in Fort Wayne, and Indiana University. He was a founding partner of the law firm Hawk, Haynie, Kammeyer & Smith in 1988.

He had served on the Fort Wayne-Allen County Capital Improvement Board of directors; Embassy Theatre board of directors and Junior Achievement of Northeast Indiana board of directors. He was a former president of the Fort Wayne Country Club and a member of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Wayne.

He was also a member of The Journal Gazette Foundation board and was a shareholder in the newspaper.

“A lot of people are civic minded” and work to improve the community, former law partner Eric Chickedantz said. “Gil was at the top of the heap. He was a great guy and a great friend to all of us. He lived a great life.”

Julie Inskeep, publisher of The Journal Gazette, said: “Gil was the funniest storyteller and best friend. But he was also a very significant contributor to The Journal Gazette Co., The Journal Gazette Foundation, and especially our community.”

Kelly Updike, executive director of the Historic Embassy Theatre, described Haynie as low key but able to get things done. He was a member of the Capital Campaign Cabinet, which raised money for improvements being made to the Embassy now. “We credit more than $1 million in gifts directly to Gil’s participation,” Updike said. She said she holds Haynie in awe because he did that while he was ill.

Haynie was also insistent that improvements to the Embassy be done correctly. When initial plans called for third floor walls to be smooth, he insisted they be heavily stuccoed like other walls in the theater.

“We call them Gil’s goofy walls,” Updike said. “He had a passion for wanting to do it well.”

Steve Brody, who served on the Capital Improvement Board with him, said Haynie’s death was sad news for all those on the board. “What strikes me is what a positive guy he was. He never let anything get him down. He wasn’t interested in notoriety. He was a steadying influence, and when he said something, it was worth listening to.”

He also spearheaded contract negotiations between the Embassy and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and was the key negotiator for the Embassy with the city during the pedestrian sky bridge project that links the Embassy to the new Courtyard by Marriott.

He is survived by his wife, Susan Higgins Haynie, a daughter, Devon, and a son, Gilmore III.

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