Richard B. Ogilvie

Richard B. Ogilvie bigraphy, stories - Recipient of the Purple Heart medal

Richard B. Ogilvie : biography

February 22, 1923 – May 10, 1988

Richard Buell Ogilvie (February 22, 1923 – May 10, 1988) was the 35th governor of Illinois and served from 1969 to 1973. A wounded combat veteran of World War II, he became known as the mafia-fighting sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, in the 1960s before becoming governor.

Governor of Illinois

He was elected governor as a Republican in 1968 against incumbent Democrat Sam Shapiro, taking 51.2% of the vote. His lieutenant governor was Democrat and future U.S. Senator Paul Simon, the only time that Illinois elected a Governor and Lt. Governor of different parties. (However, on least two other occasions there was an acting Lt. Governor from the opposite party. (Archibald Glenn and Thomas Marshall))

Bolstered by large Republican majorities in the state house, Ogilvie embarked upon a major modernization of state government. He successfully advocated for a state constitutional convention, increased social spending, and secured Illinois’ first state income tax. The latter was particularly unpopular with the electorate, and Ogilvie lost a close election to Daniel Walker in 1972, ending his career in elective office.

Education and Military service

He graduated from high school in Port Chester, New York, in 1940. While attending Yale University, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1942. As a tank commander in France, he was wounded and received the Purple Heart and two Battle Stars. Discharged in 1945, he resumed studies at Yale and in 1947, he earned a Bachelor of Arts majoring in American history. In 1949, he earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law. From 1950 to 1950 he practiced law in Chicago and served as an assistant United States Attorney from 1954–1955. From 1958 to 1961 he served as a special assistant to the United States Attorney General heading an office fighting organized crime in Chicago..

Death and legacy

After his death in Chicago May 10, 1988, Governor Ogilvie was cremated and interred in Rosehill Mausoleum, Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago.

The Ogilvie Transportation Center, from which Chicago-area Metra commuter passenger trains leave for destinations on the former Chicago and North Western, is named in his honor. The modern railroad station uses the former C & NW trainshed.

Post governorship

Oglivie had been considered a possible nominee to become Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by President Richard Nixon.

In 1979, Governor Ogilvie was appointed as Trustee for the Milwaukee Road, a railroad that had entered bankruptcy. He oversaw its sale and reorganization into the Wisconsin Central Railroad.

Oglivie was the publisher of a revived Chicago Daily News in 1979, 18 months after its demise in 1978.

In 1987, he was appointed by then-Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole to chair a committee studying the proposed termination of Amtrak’s federal subsidy.

Until his death in 1988, he was a partner in the distinguished Chicago law firm of Isham, Lincoln & Beale, one of whose founders was Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln.

Pre-gubernatorial political career

Ogilvie was elected as the sheriff of Cook County, Illinois’s largest county by population, in 1962; he served in this position until 1967. While sheriff, he was elected President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and served from 1967 to 1969, when he resigned upon being elected Governor of Illinois. As of 2010 he was the last member of the Republican Party to serve as the chief executive of Cook County.