Thompson mourned by suburbanites who knew him well
Here's a sampling of the reaction in the suburbs to news of the death of former Illinois Gov. James "Big Jim" Thompson:
• Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider of Bartlett
"Governor 'Big Jim' Thompson exemplified a state government that worked, treated others with legendary kindness, and created lasting positive change for Illinois over his 14 years as governor. He helped send a corrupt governor to jail as a prosecutor, rebuilt the state's infrastructure, saved the White Sox, and presided over a healthy and prosperous Illinois."
• Illinois Senate President Don Harmon of Oak Park
"No one enjoyed being governor more than Jim Thompson. Our state lost a true giant, and he will be missed."
• Kirk Dillard, Thompson's director of legislative affairs and former DuPage County Republican Party chairman
"He was bigger than life. He set the standard for what a governor's life is like today. Jim Thompson was a role-up-the-sleeves, get out with the people governor. The widening of North Avenue, flood control on Salt Creek and the I-355 tollway never would have taken place without Jim Thompson. ... He knew how to compromise and get things done."
• Former Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder
"He would always be interested in hearing what concerns mayors and communities had. ... He was a good leader because he listened."
• Thomas Lee, political editor of the Daily Herald during Thompson's time as governor
"He was always humbled by victory. He never took pride in winning election ... He was a crime-fighting U.S. attorney before he went into politics. It gave him a theme and a moral authority that very few politicians today can claim."
• Ed Murnane, a longtime Arlington Heights resident and a former staff member for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush
"Jim Thompson was a brilliant politician, an excellent (and memorable) governor of Illinois, and deserves to be remembered favorably and have his name carved into our state's history, even if the building named after him in Chicago disappears."
Thompson was Illinois chairman of the George H.W. Bush campaign for president in 1988. "I was the 'on the ground' executive director of that campaign and worked closely with him and his staff. His campaign experience, excellent reputation and willingness to work as hard as was necessary for Bush were largely responsible for the Bush victory in Illinois -- the last time a Republican candidate carried Illinois in a presidential election."
• Pat Durante, former Addison Township GOP chairman, who did advance work in Thompson's first campaign
"I'm in shock. He was a great guy to campaign for. Good sense of humor. Very dedicated. A darned good governor, just a darned good governor. Certainly not like what we have today."
• Lee Daniels, Republican House leader when Thompson was governor
"We just lost one of the greatest governors the state, or for that matter in the country, has ever seen. Skilled, talented, very important to our state's growth and a man that treated even people that he had difficulties with in the most professional and kindest way. ... His Build Illinois program was very important for the whole state and in particular for the suburban areas, for the infrastructure improvements and the program as a whole."
Daily Herald staff writers James Kane and Orrin Schwarz compiled this report.