Richard “Dick” Rawlings was 73 years old. He died Tuesday at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield after battling an illness for several weeks.
Fellow commissioners Brad Zeller and Bill Meier are offering their condolences to the Rawlings family. Zeller says as a commissioner, Rawlings was the most passionate person he knew towards the county.
“He put his heart and soul into his efforts to better this community and getting on the Morgan County board was just another way of him providing an avenue for himself to better his community,” says Zeller.
In addition to serving on the Morgan County health board and other committees, Rawlings also served as the Chairman of the Corridor 67 committee and was a member of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation board.
“He was a real driver in getting Route 67 four lane to the extent that it is and was still very much in hopes of seeing the day 67 going north to almost Meredosia would one day be completed,” says Denison.
“He always had a smile on his face whenever you talked about Route 67.”
That’s JREDC president Terry Denison.
Zeller has been a commissioner for twelve years, while Meier has served for an even decade. Rawlings was a commissioner in Morgan County for seven-plus years, having been elected to his second term in November 2012.
Meier says Rawlings, as a retired engineer, had a great passion for the Morgan County Courthouse.
“Whenever we had work down at the courthouse, like the courthouse group, he was a lead man on that,” says Meier.
“He was a lead man on a lot of projects because he knew what to do and what to look for when the architects and workers came to town. That will be sorely missed. He is going to be hard to replace. I don’t think we can replace him, but it is a rough time for everyone right now.”
Rawlings was an owner and principal at the Jacksonville-based Benton and Associates engineering firm from 1971 to 2002.
Rawlings was a Republican. The Jacksonville Journal-Courier spoke with Illinois State Board of Elections deputy general counsel Ken Menzel, who stated the county board chairman would appoint someone of the same political party to fill Rawlings’ vacancy until December.
At that time, both Republican and Democratic parties could submit a candidate to fill the position until the end of the county commissioner term in 2018.
Funeral arrangements are pending at Williamson Funeral Home.