Former U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson III carried on Lake County family's tradition of politics

  • Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), left, Sen. Adlai Stevenson III (D-Ill.), and Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Daniel Walker, right, stand before an audience prior to Cook County's Democratic dinner on May 25, 1972, in Chicago.

    Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), left, Sen. Adlai Stevenson III (D-Ill.), and Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Daniel Walker, right, stand before an audience prior to Cook County's Democratic dinner on May 25, 1972, in Chicago. Associated press

  • Adlai E. Stevenson III and his wife, Nancy, center, with their children and grandchildren before the dedication ceremony of The Adlai E. Stevenson Home as a National Historic Landmark on Sunday at the home in Mettawa in October 2014.

    Adlai E. Stevenson III and his wife, Nancy, center, with their children and grandchildren before the dedication ceremony of The Adlai E. Stevenson Home as a National Historic Landmark on Sunday at the home in Mettawa in October 2014. daily herald file photo

  • Adlai Stevenson in 2009 discusses his book, "The Black Book," about the Adlai Stevenson family at the Stevenson Center in Libertyville.

    Adlai Stevenson in 2009 discusses his book, "The Black Book," about the Adlai Stevenson family at the Stevenson Center in Libertyville. Daily Herald file photo

  • From left, George McGovern, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Adlai Stevenson III, and Edward M. Burke greet members of the audience in 2008 just before they take their seats on a panel discussion titled, "The American National Nominating Process-Then and Now" at the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy near Mettawa.

    From left, George McGovern, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Adlai Stevenson III, and Edward M. Burke greet members of the audience in 2008 just before they take their seats on a panel discussion titled, "The American National Nominating Process-Then and Now" at the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy near Mettawa. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 9/8/2021 12:26 AM

He came within nearly 5,000 votes of being governor of Illinois. But four years later, he bolted the Democratic ticket to run as a third-party candidate after voters saddled him with a couple of fringe candidate as running mates.

For the better part of a century his name was a household word in U.S. politics -- a member of a political dynasty with Lake County roots that included both those who served in the White House and those who sought to but fell short.

 

Former U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson III died Monday at his home on the North Side of Chicago at age 90.

His son Adlai Stevenson IV, who confirmed the Illinois Democrat's death, said his father had dementia.

"He just faded away," his son said.

Before his health declined, Stevenson kept active organizing presentations and speakers for the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy, which leases space on the property of the Stevenson family's historic home in Mettawa. Subsequent owners donated the estate to the Lake County Forest Preserve in 1974.

Adlai Ewing Stevenson was born in Chicago in 1930, the great-grandson of former Vice President Adlai Stevenson -- who served in the Grover Cleveland administration -- and the son of Adlai Stevenson II, a former Illinois governor, two-time presidential candidate in the 1950s and namesake of Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire who with his wife had the family home built in Lake County in 1938.

A 1970 New York Times profile of the younger Stevenson, and "The Black Book" website inspired by his book of the same name, said he attended five different grade and prep schools, including the public schools of Lake Forest, then Harrow School in England in 1945-46 while his father was with the United Nations Preparatory Commission, and then Milton Academy in Massachusetts, where future Senate colleague Ted Kennedy was a schoolmate.

Read more at chicago.suntimes.com.

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