obituary

Bob Michel
Bill Hardin / Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

Longtime Peoria Congressman Bob Michel has died. He led the House Republican caucus during a more congenial era in American politics.

Michel was House Minority Leader from 1981 to ’95.

Back then, Democrats ran the House. But rather than attacking or obstructing, Michel preferred to advance conservative causes through “gentle persuasion.”

In his farewell speech in November 1994, Michel reflected on his good working relationship with his Democratic counterpart.

Prince — the Purple One, who reeled off pop hits in five different decades — has died at age 57. The shocking news was confirmed by Prince's publicist after reports that police were investigating a death at his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis.

"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer Prince Rogers Nelson has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57," publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said. "There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time."

Illinois Issues

Illinois’ longest-serving state Senate president died Friday. He was 78.

Philip Rock, a Democrat from Oak Park who had once given serious consideration to running for governor against Jim Thompson, took his seat in the Senate in 1971 and was elected to lead it in 1979. 

Thomas Fitzgerald
Brian Mackey

Thomas Fitzgerald, a judge who had a leading role in the aftermath of some of Illinois’ most notorious political scandals, died on Sunday at his home in the Chicago suburbs.

Dan Walker sign
file / WUIS/Illinois Issues

A former governor of Illinois has died. Dan Walker ran the state for one term in the 1970s. A Democrat, he focused much of his brief political career on fighting members of his own party.

At a time when most Democratic politicians in Illinois were cogs in a massive political machine, Dan Walker was a nobody.

Dan Walker at the 1973 Bud Billiken Day Parade
John H. White / National Archives

Former Illinois Gov. Dan Walker has died. The Democrat led the state from 1973 to 1977.

Walker came to fame in 1971 by literally walking the length of Illinois.

He spent much of his time fighting the Democratic machine. In Illinois in the 1970s, that meant fighting Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Illinois state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has died from complications following a stroke. She was 70.

Topinka’s career spanned more than three decades in Illinois government. It was not without controversy, but her distinctive personality won the support of voters time and time again.

Topinka worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter before first running for office in 1980. She served in the Illinois House and Senate until 1995, when she was sworn in as treasurer.

Obituary: Former University President Durwood Long Dies

Jul 1, 2008

The third president of then-Sangamon State University, who helped found what is now the Center for State Policy and Leadership in 1989, died Saturday, May 31. 

Barbara Ferrara, associate director of the center at what is now the University of Illinois at Springfield, says Durward Long's vision for the school helped elevate its standards. 

People: Obituary - Henry Hyde

Dec 1, 2007

Longtime U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde died November 29. He was 83.

Some three weeks prior, President George W. Bush awarded Hyde the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a president can give to a citizen.

Obituary: Ronald Reagan

Jul 1, 2004
Ronald Regan
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The conservative icon, the only native Illinoisan to become president, died June 5. He was 93.
Reagan, who was plagued by Alzheimer’s disease in his final years, energized the country with his 
man-of-the-people image and love-of-country message.

U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, whose district covers the region of Illinois where Reagan was born and raised, said it was there that Reagan “learned the common sense values and virtues that helped him reshape not only our nation, but also the world. 

Obituary: Paul Simon

Jan 1, 2004
Paul Simon
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon of Makanda died December 9 in Springfield following heart surgery. Simon, known for integrity and high ethical standards, was 75. A Democratic presidential candidate in 1988, Simon was director of the Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale at the time of his death. The former newspaperman was a founder ofIllinois Issues. He also was the first director of the Public Affairs Reporting Program at what is now the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Obituaries: Kim Knauer, Douglas Hoeft, & Timothy Osmond

Feb 1, 2003

Kim Knauer 
For two decades, she was the person who could answer just about any question put to her about this state’s schools. Kim Knauer served as public information officer of the Illinois State Board of Education, which sets policy for elementary and secondary schools. She also served as assistant to the state schools superintendent, director of communications and manager of public affairs and communications. 

She died of cancer on January 2 in Springfield. She was 45.