Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » In memoriam
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      About     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact Rich Miller
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
In memoriam

Saturday, Aug 15, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

[Comments are now open on this post.]

* Gov. Jim Thompson’s family…

The Thompson family is mourning the loss of a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Jim Thompson’s love and devotion to his family mirrored his lifelong dedication to his beloved State of Illinois.

His guiding principle in public and private life was to help people and do what he could so they could have an opportunity to succeed. In that process, he achieved big things for Illinois that matched the life he lived.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Thompson family said it will be impossible to hold a public wake that would accommodate all those who would want to express their condolences and respect for the Governor and his life. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. Other arrangements are pending.

* Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider…

Today the Illinois Republican Party mourns the loss of a great leader in Illinois’ storied history. 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. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jayne and his family at this time.

* Governor JB Pritzker…

On behalf of the entire state of Illinois, MK and I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of former Governor Jim Thompson. As the longest-serving governor in Illinois history, ‘Big Jim’ was known to treat people he encountered with kindness and decency. He dedicated himself to building positive change for Illinois, and he set an example for public service of which Illinoisans should be proud. He will be remembered and revered as one of the titans in the history of state government.

* Shirley and Michael Madigan…

The passing of Jim Thompson brings great sadness to our family. He was a cherished friend. Jim Thompson should be credited with the modernization of Illinois government as best illustrated by the structure that bears his name. His pioneering commitment to the arts strengthened the fabric of our state. He was a hard-nosed political figure and a compassionate leader. We were honored to serve with him. On behalf of our children, Lisa, Tiffany, Nicole, and Andrew, we offer our deepest sympathies to Jayne and Samantha. We offer them prayers of comfort and strength in these sad times. Illinois is a better place because of Jim Thompson’s work.

* Illinois Senate President Don Harmon…

No one enjoyed being governor more than Jim Thompson. Our state lost a true giant, and he will be missed. My condolences go out to his family and friends.

* House Republican Leader Jim Durkin…

Governor Thompson was a friend, mentor and an exemplary statesman who loved Illinois. He was a hands-on Governor who loved the process of getting things done in Springfield, and his accomplishments still stand strong today. Our state was fortunate to have such a dedicated leader.

* Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady on the passing of former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson.

Jim Thompson was a man of integrity and a man of many talents who always put the people of Illinois first. As a former US Attorney, he worked tirelessly to root out public corruption in Illinois. As our governor, he strived to find common ground and build consensus. That ability to bring people together, despite a difference of opinion, is a testament to the type of leader he was and is a reminder of what can be accomplished when Illinoisans work together for the betterment of our state. My thoughts and prayers are with Jayne and his family during this difficult time.

* Attorney General Kwame Raoul…

Governor Jim Thompson dedicated many years to serving the people of Illinois and working toward making our state a better place to live and work. My thoughts and prayers are with Jayne Thompson and all who knew and loved Governor Thompson.

* Comptroller Susana Mendoza…

Former Governor Jim Thompson leaves a proud legacy of working across party lines to make Illinois a great state. Thank you for your service and for keeping the White Sox in Chicago, Big Jim. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family.

* Terry Cosgrove at Personal PAC…

Governor Thompson was a proud pro-choice leader who vetoed 34 of 34 anti-abortion bills that came to his desk from the General Assembly. Accompanying one such bill he vetoed in 1977 was a stinging rebuke of how cruel it was to end Medicaid funding of abortion for low-income women. Forty years later, in 2017, HB 40 corrected this injustice, which included getting rid of the “trigger” law that stated abortion would become illegal the day Roe v. Wade was overturned. Governor Thompson was on the right side of history.

* Secretary of State Jesse White…

I served as a member of the Illinois General Assembly while Jim Thompson was our state’s governor. He was a Republican and I’m a Democrat but we worked together for the betterment of the people of Illinois. I’m saddened at his passing. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and many friends.

* Sheila Rock, wife of the late Illinois Senate President Philip J. Rock…

On behalf of our family, we offer our deepest condolences to Jayne and the entire family of Governor James R. Thompson. Phil and “Big Jim” worked well together to pass historic legislation benefiting the people of the State of Illinois. Sharing 14 years in leadership, they may not always have seen eye-to-eye, however, they had the utmost respect for each other and worked well together; a Republican and a Democrat interacting as statesmen and always enjoying a beer and a laugh at the conclusion of each session.

* Winston & Strawn…

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our former Chairman, friend, and colleague, Governor James R. Thompson. The Governor led the firm as Chairman for 13 years, overseeing a period of tremendous growth. The impact of his leadership was profound. He had an unshakeable belief in the importance of doing the right thing that helped establish a culture for the firm that still guides us today. He led the effort to diversify the firm and provide opportunities for all to succeed.

The Governor was a legal lion – arguing more cases in the Illinois Supreme Court than any lawyer other than Abraham Lincoln. Whether it was his ongoing zeal to improve the city where he was born and raised, his fight to break the chokehold of corruption in Chicago politics in the 1970s, or his determination to find justice for victims of 9/11 as a Presidential appointee to the 9/11 Commission, the Governor always led with his principles. Illinois, Chicago, and Winston & Strawn have lost a true leader.

The Governor made an indelible impression on everyone around him, as shown here in a video tribute to the Governor at the firm’s 2015 Partners Conference, thanking him for his many years of service and friendship to the firm. We extend our sincere condolences to Governor Thompson’s family.

* Former Gov. Pat Quinn…

“From the time he signed the Political Honesty Initiative – to stop legislative conflicts of interest, double dipping, and advance pay for politicians – when he was first running for Governor in 1976, Gov. Jim Thompson stood for cleaning up corruption in Illinois politics and government.

“As US Attorney, he brought to justice scores of corrupt public officials. As Governor of Illinois for a record 14 years, Jim Thompson always remained true to his conscience and convictions.

“Jim Thompson generously helped me when I was Governor of Illinois from 2009 to 2015.

“For the past four decades, he has strengthened the annual conference of US midwest states and the people and businesses of Japan, an international legacy of friendship that created and maintained thousands of jobs in Illinois.

“The people of Illinois owe a permanent debt of gratitude to Gov. James R. “Big Jim” Thompson.

“May God rest his eternal soul.”


  1. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Aug 17, 20 @ 8:01 am:

    RIP to Gov. Thompson and condolences to his family and everyone who knew him. Didn’t follow state politics back in his day but he seemed like a moderate. He enacted collective bargaining for public employees, so different than the voices of today who shout out for cuts and taking workers’ rights away.

  2. - Nitemayor - Monday, Aug 17, 20 @ 8:35 am:

    I was in attendance at Fishers Banquet room in Belleville for the Exemplification of the Southern District of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. The Worthy Master, Jim Gentile, had arranged for Governor Thompson to speak. There was an elderly man sitting at the organ. Big Jim was running late, crowd was getting restless when Jim suddenly announced “The Governor of the Great State of Illinois:James R. Thompson!” Right on cue, the organist broke into a lively rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again”. Big Jim didn’t miss a beat.
    They don’t make em like that anymore R.I.P.

  3. - West Sider - Monday, Aug 17, 20 @ 9:36 am:

    Governor Thompson was a man who could say “yes”- he could make a deal. Some of them were of lasting benefit to the State of Illinois. Some of them were disastrous. A bunch of them were about art and architecture- both the Thompson Center and the restoration of FL Wright’s Susan Dana Thomas house. He was a conservative- in the very best sense- Jim Thompson conserved beauty.

  4. - DuPage - Monday, Aug 17, 20 @ 10:46 am:

    RIP Big Jim. I thought he was a good governor. He had integrity. I met him once totally by chance. The one time ever the family and I went to the Kane County Flea Market, he had a table there. Shook his hand and had a nice chat.

  5. - Boomer - Monday, Aug 17, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    Jim Thompson was a man of the upmost integrity. He was a very smart person with real street sense.
    People were glad to be around him. He had a brilliant legal mind and a quick wit
    I first met him in 1975 when he ran for his first term. It was not the GOP’s best year - post Nixon. I remember his first inaugural speech when he said, “The war is over” He wanted to end the battles that Governor Walker had with the legislature to work with them and make Illinois better. He did that for the next 14 years and did it well. I was around for quite a bit of that time both as an appointee and a member of the legislature.
    I have a lot of stories that prove my points but those are for another day. I think the one thing He would like is to be remembered as someone who raised the standard in Illinois for public service. That includes the media, the public, as well as all those who devote time to a position of public trust. Jim Thompson should serve as our role model whether you knew him or not.

  6. - JoanP - Monday, Aug 17, 20 @ 7:36 pm:

    If he had done nothing else, saving the Susan Lawrence Dana House would be legacy enough.

  7. - Payback - Tuesday, Aug 18, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    The last time I saw Jim Thompson, he was in the federal courtroom during former Gov. George Ryan’s trial. Jim walked in and shook George’s hand, publicly showing his (and his law firms) support for his old Lt. Governor/ political buddy. From Wikipedia article:
    “Ryan’s defense was provided pro bono by Winston & Strawn, a law firm managed by former governor Jim Thompson. The defense cost the firm $10 million through mid-November 2005.[49] Estimates of the cost to the firm as of September 2006 ranged as high as $20 million. Ryan served as Thompson’s lieutenant governor from 1983 to 1991.”

    I’m not sure about Thompson’s reputation as an opponent of corruption.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* New laws (Updated)
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Campaign update: Circling the wagons
* Isabel's afternoon roundup
* Southern Illinoisan newspaper journalists say goodbye to their community after new owner fires all employees
* Report examines Illinois women’s political power
* Proposal to save suburban, Chicago public transit transit includes tax on services, parking and raising RTA sales tax
* AG Raoul, others file antitrust lawsuit against NCAA
* Question of the day: 2023 Golden Horseshoe Awards
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live Ed Burke Trial Coverage
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...



Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller