Jacksonville Journal Courier
If there was a group whose mission was to
improve the quality of life for Morgan County, chances are good Richard
G. “Dick” Rawlings of Jacksonville was involved.
The man whose commitment to raising the bar in everything from education
to employment was reflected in his eight years on the Morgan County
board of commissioners died Tuesday at Memorial Medical Center in
Springfield. He was 73.
Rawlings was a Franklin High School graduate and earned his degree in
civil engineering from Bradley University in Peoria.
It was that interest in economic improvement and his engineering
background that put him at the forefront for decades of a vision to
transform a mostly undeveloped U.S. 67 into a major thoroughfare for
western Illinois. The road runs nearly 220 miles from Alton to near Rock
Island. Once completed, it would provide a north-south expressway from
the Quad Cities to metro St. Louis.
Progress on the U.S. 67 Corridor has been made — sections from Macomb to
Monmouth, Illinois Route 255 in Alton and a 24-mile section that
bypasses Jacksonville to the west have been upgraded — and other
portions remain on the state’s “to do” list, awaiting money.
Terry Denison, president of the Jacksonville Regional Economic
Development Corp., recalled working with Rawlings on the U.S. 67
“He was a driver of the U.S. 67 project,” Denison recalled. “Dick loved
Morgan County and wanted to see the county grow and prosper.”
It was an attitude Rawlings carried with him as a member of the economic
development group after being elected to the county board of
commissioners in 2006.
“He would take in whatever the conversation or topic was. He was very
interested. He always had a suggestion or comment and that was always
helpful,” Denison said.
Rawlings’ interest in seeing the region grow was evident to Brittany
Henry, executive director of the Jacksonville Area Convention and
“Dick has always been a great supporter for tourism for the Morgan
County area and very supportive of my staff and myself,” Henry said.
“You could tell he really took pride in his community.”
If an issue was important, Rawlings would not be deterred in his action,
Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard said.
“He wore what he thought on his sleeve and his passion for service was
second to none. We’re going to miss him,” Ezard said. “Dick Rawlings was
a hard working public servant who served the county and this region very
well though his efforts with Corridor 67 and though his duties being
Rawlings’ attention to detail and willingness to listen is something
Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce President Ginny Fanning said stood
“He was such a good listener and always interested in what you had to
say, personally and professionally,” she said. “He was a wonderful man.
Our community has lost a treasure.”
Journal-Courier General Manager Kent Kilpatrick said he would frequently
see Rawlings walking to the courthouse and he always took the time to
“He would always stop to chat, ask how my family was, etc. He was a true
gentleman and will be missed greatly,” Kilpatrick said.
In addition to his elected office, Rawlings was a member of numerous
organizations, including the chamber of commerce, the Jacksonville Elks
Lodge, Rotary, the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, the Gov. Duncan
Association, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS and the
West Central Development Council.
He is survived by his wife, Diane, children Michael and Monica, and
Services are pending. Arrangements are under the direction of Williamson
Deputy general counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections, Ken
Menzel, said the county board chairman would appoint someone of the same
political party to fill the vacancy until December, when both parties
could put forth a candidate to fill the vacancy until the end of
Rawlings’ term in 2018.
David C.L. Bauer can be reached at 217-245-6121, ext. 1222, or on
Obituary for Richard Rawlings
Richard G. “Dick” Rawlings, 73, of Jacksonville, died
Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. He
was born January 25, 1941, in Franklin, the son of Herman Stanley “Bill”
and Mona Mitchell Rawlings. He married Diane Johnson on April 29, 1978,
in Jacksonville, and she survives.
Dick is also survived by his two children, Monica
(husband, Christopher Ryan) Carroll of Edwardsville and Michael (fiancé,
Holly Loy) Rawlings of Port Byron; three grandchildren, Jackson and
Elaine Carroll and Nathanyle Loy; his sister, Marilyn (husband, Darrell)
Smith of Alexander; his brother, Robert “Bob” Rawlings of Weirton, West
Virginia; and several nieces and nephews. His parents, one brother,
William “Bill” Rawlings and one sister-in-law, Sherry Peck Rawlings,
preceded him in death.
Dick grew up in Franklin and graduated from Franklin
High School in 1959. He served in the United States Army and was
honorably discharged in October of 1969. He returned to school and
graduated from Bradley University in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science
Degree in Civil Engineering. He worked as a Civil Engineer and Land
Surveyor, licensed in Illinois and Missouri, for over 35 years. During
that time, Dick served as President of the Illinois Professional Land
Surveyors Association and was named recipient of the association’s A.
“Pat” Patterson Illinois Land Surveyor of the Year Award in 1999. Dick
retired as a partner in Benton and Associates in 2002.
Dick loved Morgan County and was able to focus his
energy on its betterment throughout his life. He served as chairman of
Corridor 67, Inc., leading local efforts toward the expansion of the
highway. He served two terms as Morgan County Commissioner, winning
elections in 2006 and 2012. He was a longtime member of the Jacksonville
Area Chamber of Commerce, volunteering countless hours and receiving the
Circle of Excellence Award. He served on the board of directors for the
Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation, Passavant
Hospital Foundation, Governor Duncan Association, FBI Citizens Academy
Alumni, and the West Central Development Council, and was a member of
both the Meredosia and Florence Bridge Replacement Citizens Advisory
Committees. Dick was also a member of the American Legion, V.F.W.,
Amvets, Elks, Moose, Rotary, and Fraternal Order of Eagles, and Harmony
Lodge #3, A.F. & A.M., Scottish Rite-Valley of Springfield, Ansar
Shrine, Rasna Shrine Club, and R.O.J. Court #20. Dick gave countless
hours as a member of the Combined Veterans Ceremonial Team, providing
graveside military honors to his fallen comrades.
Dick was an avid outdoorsman. He loved spending time on his houseboat at
the Alton Marina, enjoying the Mississippi River and its history;
hunting with his son Michael and friends, and deep-sea fishing. Above
all else, Dick cherished his family.
A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on
Saturday, July 19, 2014, at Williamson Funeral Home in Jacksonville.
Interment and military rites will follow at Franklin Cemetery. Friends
may call after 12 Noon on Friday at the funeral home, where the family
will meet friends from 3 to 7 p.m. Masonic rites will be conducted at 7
p.m. Friday. Memorials are suggested to the Passavant Hospital
Foundation. Condolences may be left to the family online at