He had the street-smarts of a newsman, the whimsey of a jazz-loving poet, and a reformer’s distaste for all things unjust. Hank DeZutter, 80, died July 14 of a brain bleed after a fall days earlier in the Lincoln Park apartment he shared with wife Barbara.
Hank covered protests and political unrest during the late 60s for the Chicago Daily News, winning awards including one for exposing FBI spying on activists at the U. of Illinois. He helped launch the Chicago Journalism Review in response to the overly pro-police slant editors gave to violence during the ’68 Democratic Convention.
Hank went on to teach writing and journalism at city colleges and Columbia in the South Loop. There he helped found Community Media Workshop, a program to help neighborhood groups get better press. Meantime, he wrote for the Chicago Reader on neighborhood issues, including a 1995 front-pager on a then-unknown Barack Obama. In spare time, he wrote books, spun poetry for the Chicago Journal, played boogie piano, and made impossibly long golf putts.
Surviving are wife Barbara Belletini Fields; her daughters Jayne Mattson and Ana Boyer Davis; sons Max (Sarah), Chris, and daughter Amanda Kotlyar (Simon); stepson Agward “Eddie” Turner; sisters Joyce (Ronnie) Mooneyham and Wendy (Steve) Callahan; and five grandchildren. Predeceased by mother Evelyn (née Dammer) and father Henri DeZutter. Memorial gathering in planning. Gifts to Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Box 51196, Wash., DC 20091, or https://giffords.org/lawcenter/gun-laws/
Published in Chicago Tribune.