Chicago Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Tommy E. Pickens Dead at 78


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Chicago, ILLong-time Chicago Area Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Tommy Eugene Pickens Has Passed Away at 78.

Pickens was born on November 9, 1942, in Columbus, Georgia. His mother Tommie Pickens Forte was a successful real estate investor and stepfather George Forte was a Sergeant of the Army. His father Benjamin Pickens died while Pickens was very young. After leaving high school, Pickens headed to Chicago with his older sister the late author and publisher Dr. Juanita Bratcher and her husband (also deceased) labor leader Neal A. Bratcher, Sr.

Pickens started his business on Maxwell Street in Chicago and eventually moved it to the west side because he liked the community and described it as “unpretentious.” Later, following in the footsteps of his mother, he invested in several properties on the west side of Chicago which he eventually sold at significant profits. He was also a philanthropist that shared his wealth and resources with those in need, including musicians, artists, software developers, and business startups. He was also known to be an avid reader and lifelong learner by those that knew him well. He was respected and known by many in the community.

He was a collector. Pickens had an eye for spotting rare objects and valuable antiques. He also enjoyed collecting and profitably selling many types of motor vehicles.

Pickens passed away on August 19, 2020. He is survived by two sisters, five sons, three daughters, thirteen grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

A private service was held on Tuesday, September 1, followed by the burial and repast.


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