The life of state Rep. Mark H. Beaubien Jr., lauded by friends and colleagues as a man of conviction who unabashedly stood on principle during his 15 years in Springfield, will be celebrated Friday during a funeral Mass in Barrington.
Visitation will be held Thursday in Crystal Lake.
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Beaubien, 68, of Barrington Hills, collapsed suddenly Sunday afternoon during a GOP fundraiser at Arlington Park racetrack in Arlington Heights. He suffered an apparent heart attack and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, according to police and track officials.
Beaubien represented the 52nd District in the state House since 1996, serving as a member of House Republican leadership and a point person on budget issues. The 52nd District encompasses parts of Lake and McHenry counties, as well as a smaller portion of Cook County.
A fiscal conservative, Beaubien was also a social progressive -- encouraging fellow Republicans to rethink their stances on same-sex unions, and one of the first to publicly congratulate Democratic state Rep. Deborah Mell on her engagement to partner Christin Baker.
Beaubien, his family noted in a Monday statement, "was a confident man who refused to limit his ideals to those of his generation."
He knew instinctively, the statement continued, that the "fundamental rights that he both cherished and demanded were meaningless unless they were enjoyed by all men and women. This principled leadership made it easy for him to support issues and causes that were unpopular within his party including the fundamental rights of women and the gay community."
Visitation will take place from 1 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Davenport Family Funeral Home, 419 E. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake. The funeral will begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Anne Church, 120 N. Ela St., Barrington. Burial will be private at White Memorial Cemetery in Barrington.
The GOP chairmen from the three counties included in the 52nd District will decide who fills Beaubien's seat until the 2012 election, Lake County Republican Party Chairman Bob Cook said.
State Rep. Mike Tryon of Crystal Lake leads the GOP in McHenry County, and Lee Roupas chairs Cook County's Republicans.
Their votes will be weighted based on the number of ballots cast in each county in the last 52nd District race this past November, Cook said.
According to 2010 election totals, most of the race's ballots were divided nearly equally between Lake and McHenry counties, with a relative fraction coming from Cook County.
Lake County's Cook said he will invite Republican township leaders and county leaders to share opinions about possible successors. Beaubien's widow, Dee, also will be invited to participate, he said.
The process will be similar to one that took place in 2002 when Antioch Republican Tim Osmond suffered a fatal heart attack. His widow, JoAnn, was ultimately named as her husband's successor, and she has since won re-election four times.
Under state law, the GOP has 30 days to name Beaubien's successor. Cook hopes party leaders will meet and make a decision within two or three weeks.
"This is going to be an open process," Cook said.
It's not, however, the immediate task at hand, notes former state lawmaker Al Salvi, Beaubien's predecessor in the General Assembly.
"I keep getting calls from people who are speculating about what will happen," Salvi, of Wauconda, said. "I keep saying God bless Mark, let's pray for him and his family. But this isn't the time to talk politics right now."
A former Lake County Board member and Cuba Township supervisor, Beaubien had a history of heart problems, including congestive heart failure, an investigator with the Cook County medical examiner's office said Monday. An autopsy will not be conducted.
Deaths at Arlington Park are rare, said track General Manager Tony Petrillo, also a friend of Beaubien. The last one occurred about three years ago, he said.
Arlington Park employees are trained to deal with medical emergencies, Petrillo said. The facility is equipped with automated external defibrillators, but Petrillo did not know if one was used to help treat Beaubien.
Petrillo described Beaubien as "a very beloved legislator and a very beloved friend."
"We're deeply saddened by his passing," he said.