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Gordon Bartelstein, who ‘never missed a game’ for his grandkids, has died at 84

Gordon Bartelstein and Myrna Bartelstein, his wife of more than 50 years. | Provided photo

Whether it be basketball, soccer, lacrosse or badminton, Gordon “Gordy” Bartelstein never missed a game featuring one of his 13 grandchildren.

That commitment brought him to Atlanta in 2013, where he watched one of his grandsons — a co-captain on the University of Michigan’s men’s basketball team — play in the Final Four.

“He was as excited about a small-fry basketball game as he was the Final Four that his oldest grandson was playing in,” said Michael Sacks, Mr. Bartelstein’s son-in-law.

Mr. Bartelstein died of a heart attack Saturday evening. He was 84.

After growing up in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side, Mr. Bartelstein enrolled at Purdue University, where he played basketball on the same team as Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson. After two years at Purdue, he left to join the U.S. Navy as the Korean Conflict was drawing to an end.

Mr. Bartelstein worked as a residential real estate developer. As part of the construction of a project in Glenview, he named two streets after two of his children: Mark Drive and Cariann Lane.

Gordon Bartelstein (center) spent a lot of time in recent years at his son’s sports management firm, chatting up professional athletes about the latest sports news. He’s pictured here with his 13 grandchildren. | Provided photo

“His family and his kids and his grandkids, that was it for him,” Sacks said.

Mr. Bartelstein and his wife Myrna were married in 1959 and had four children: Mark, Cari, Patti and David. In recent years, they split their time between Chicago and southern California.

Even in his 80s, the avid golfer would shoot his age or below. Just two weeks ago, he shot an 82 on an 18-hole course, Sacks said.

All of his golf trophies, and there were many, Sacks said, were kept at his son Mark’s office in Chicago. Mark Bartelstein founded Priority Sports & Entertainment in 1985 and in recent years his father had spent a lot of time at the sports agency.

The employees and revolving door of professional sports stars all took a shine to Gordy.

“All of the people who worked there and all of the clients loved Gordy,” Sacks said. “They’d go into his office to talk to him about what went on over the weekend in sports.”

“For Gordy, it was a wonderful thing.”

Services will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Am Shalom, 840 Vernon Ave., in Glencoe.