DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Former Illinois State Representative Bill Black (R-Danville) has passed away.
Black passed away on Saturday at the age of 81. The Republican lawmaker spent 24 years in Springfield representing Vermilion County from 1986 to 2010. He also spent four years on the Danville City Council and was on the Danville Area Community College Board of Trustees.
Several state politicians from both political parties issued statements in response to Black’s death. State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) said he was lucky enough to serve with Black in the House for several years, and as a young legislator, he looked up to Black.
“Bill was one of a kind. As much as he will be remembered for his fierce and fiery speeches as a staunch defender of the people of East-Central Illinois, his wit and sense of humor were unparalleled,” Rose said. “He also deserves much credit and respect for his support of quality education. He was a huge advocate for the community college system here in Illinois, and even served in later years as trustee at his beloved Danville Area Community College. He truly understood and believed in the power of a quality education to transform lives.”
“I extend my sincerest sympathies to Sharon and the rest of the family. There will never be another like him.”
State Comptroller Susana Mendoza paid tribute with a memory she shared with Black when she introduced her first bill in the House.
“I was honored to be part of his tradition of hazing new legislators. I had been forewarned and donned protective gear when I introduced my first bill. He found that highly amusing and we got on great ever since,” Mendoza said. “I’ve missed his insightful commentary since he retired. Illinois was lucky to have him as long as we did. I send my prayers to his family. May he rest in God’s peace and eternal glory.”
State Treasurer Michael Frerichs pointed to the things Black was able to accomplish by working with Democrats.
“I was blessed to have Bill as a mentor when I was elected to the State Senate. The Republican Representative from Danville and the Democratic Senator from Champaign were able to get a lot done for our constituents in Champaign and Vermillion counties,” Frerichs said. “Bill was a loyal Republican, who frequently served as a floor leader aggressively challenging Democratic legislation. But he knew how to put aside partisanship to get things done for our constituents. I’m grateful for all he taught me and for his lifetime of service to his community and our state. Leaders like Bill Black are all too rare today – and our world is all the worse for it.”