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Gary C. Comer Edit Profile

apparel executive

Gary Campbell Comer was the founder of mail order clothing retailer.


Comer, Gary C. was born on December 10, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, United States.


Born on the South Side of Chicago in the Grand Crossing neighborhood, Comer graduated from the Paul Revere Elementary School in 1942 and Hyde Park High School in 1946.


From 1950 to 1960, he worked as a copywriter at Young & Rubicam in Chicago. After quitting, he traveled around Europe for a year, and then, having been an avid sailor from childhood, he began his own business supplying sailing equipment. They started it originally as a retailer of sailing supplies and equipment (based on a mail order equipment business begun a year earlier).

Comer served as president through 1990 (including following 's registration as a public company), when he stepped down from active management. He remained a major shareholder until was acquired by Sears in 2002. Comer was a long-time philanthropist, donating money to causes including children's health care, education and the study of global climate change.

He opened the Gary Comer Youth Center which houses among other things Gary Comer College Prep, a campus of the Noble Network of Charter Schools. Comer was a major contributor to the University of Chicago, providing more than $84 million in donations leading to the establishment and expansion of the Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago. Comer succumbed to prostate cancer on October 4, 2006, at his home in Chicago surrounded by his family.


  • In 2011 the Gary Comer Youth Center and Gary Comer College Prep won the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence silver medal.


Married Frances Comer. Children: Stephanie, Guy.

Frances Comer

Stephanie Comer

Guy Comer