Chicago legend Ron Helizon, 'The Polish Princess,' dies at age 65

Mon. March 7, 2011 11:53 PM by News Staff

Chicago - Chicagoan and civil rights activist Ron Helizon, who fought for equality and tried to get the Catholic church to recognize gay and lesbian parishoners, died over the weekend at age 65.

Helizon was known as "The Polish Princess" and owned a popular bar, "Company," on Halsted.

His activism started back in the 1960's when he was a young man trying to find his way in Chicago's fledgling gay community.

"As a young man sitting in Grant Park in the 1960's and dreaming, I dreamed that I could worship, I dreamed that I could go into any place and be treated as equal, and I dreamed that I would be accepted," Helizon told historian and Windy City Times publisher Tracy Baim in 2007.

Helizon worked with Catholic gays and lesbians in the group "Archdiocese Gay and Lesbian Outreach" to try to gain a foothold of acceptance in the church.

He told Baim he felt like the world had come a long way since he was a young man.

"I think my dreams have come true," he said.