Obituaries : Former Illinois Gov. Richard B. Ogilvie

United Press International

Former Illinois Gov. Richard B. Ogilvie died Tuesday after suffering a massive heart attack a day earlier at his downtown law offices.

He was 65.

Gretchen Flock, a spokeswoman for Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said Ogilvie died at 5:23 p.m. He had collapsed at his office before noon Monday and underwent a six-hour quadruple bypass operation.

Dr. Renee Hartz, a cardiac surgeon at Northwestern Memorial, said Ogilvie suffered one massive heart attack but also had some heart damage from a previous heart attack. His condition was aggravated by high blood pressure and obesity, Hartz said.


Ogilvie, a Republican, served as governor from 1969 to 1973. He lost his bid for reelection to Democrat Daniel Walker, who is now serving a federal prison term for improper banking practices.

Ogilvie retired from public life to practice law in Chicago, turning down several offers to join Republican administrations in Washington. He occasionally lent his name and support to GOP candidates in the state.

He also served as court-appointed trustee of the bankrupt Milwaukee Road, charged with overseeing the rail line’s reorganization, and later helped break a logjam that delayed construction of a needed expansion of McCormick Place, the city’s lake-front convention center.

Ogilvie was elected Cook County sheriff in 1962, the only Republican to win a county office in that election. He took personal charge of police operations during 1966 civil rights marches into suburban Cicero, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Later in 1966 he was elected Cook County Board president, the post he held when he was chosen as his party’s gubernatorial standard-bearer in 1968. He narrowly beat John Henry Altorfer of Peoria in the Republican primary and went on to defeat incumbent Gov. Samuel Shapiro.

He fought for and won approval of the state’s first income tax, contending that Illinois could not continue to function without the extra revenue. He also modernized the state budget process, reformed mental health care and began a massive highway improvement plan.

Although some praised Ogilvie’s courage and straightforward style, many observers blamed his defeat in a bid for reelection on the unpopularity of the income tax.

Born Feb. 22, 1923, in Kansas City, Mo., he moved with his family to Evanston, Ill., at the age of 7. The family later moved to New York state.


After completing two years at Yale University, Ogilvie joined the Army Reserve in December, 1942. Two years later, serving as a tank commander in the Vosges Mountains near the French-Swiss border, Ogilvie was severely wounded by an exploding German shell.

After recuperating, Ogilvie finished his education at Yale, earned a law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law and began private practice.

He married Dorothy Shriver in 1950. They had one daughter, Elizabeth.