Longtime Prospect Heights alderman who served tumultuous 52 days as mayor dies

  • Gerald T. Anderson

    Gerald T. Anderson

Updated 1/6/2020 8:29 AM

Gerald T. Anderson, a longtime Prospect Heights alderman who served a tumultuous 52 days as the city's mayor, has died.

Anderson, 76, passed away peacefully on Dec. 19, according to an obituary.


An Air Force veteran who served during the Vietnam War, Anderson first was elected to the city council in 1997, representing the community's 4th Ward. A frequent and outspoken critic of city policies and officials, Anderson at times publicly clashed with mayors and his fellow aldermen.

He mounted his first mayoral campaign in 1999 and, despite being removed from the ballot and running as a write-in candidate, was declared the winner after the votes were counted on election night that April.

Anderson was sworn in the next month, but incumbent Mayor Edward P. Rotchford challenged the results, leading to a recount that later determined dozens of votes were counted improperly in Anderson's favor. A day after a Cook County judge upheld the new count on June 25, 1999, Anderson was locked out of city hall and Rotchford returned to the mayor's office.

Anderson would fight on in the courts for another 16 months, but a state appeals court affirmed the Cook County judge's ruling and the Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear his case.

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In 2001, Anderson won back his 4th Ward alderman's seat and would continue to serve on the council for the next decade. He ran again unsuccessfully for mayor in 2003 and 2007, then 2011 lost his bid for reelection to the council after being removed from the ballot and forced to run as a write-in candidate.

Anderson is survived by his wife of 45 years, Linda; brothers Jim, Jeff, Doug and Pete; and seven nieces and nephews.

Services will be private. Anderson will be interred at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.

Donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at woundedwarriorproject.org.

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