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Passages: John Stroger
2008-02-01

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Former Cook County Board President John Stroger died Jan. 18. He was 78.

Stroger died at the long-term care facility known as Warren-Barr Pavilion, 66 W. Oak, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Stroger, father of the current board president Todd Stroger, has been out of the public eye since his March 2006 stroke, which occurred just before the primary election. Democratic Party leaders chose his son to replace him on the ballot.

He was elected board president in 1994 after serving on the board since he was first elected in 1970. Stroger was the first African American to hold that seat, as well as the longest-serving board president.

During his time as board president, Stroger focused largely on the construction of a new public hospital, which was named after him when it opened its doors in 2002.

Many regarded Stroger as an ally of the LGBT community. Among other things, he co-sponsored the move to amend the Cook County Human Rights to include gender identity in 2002.

Several people, including political heavyweights, have commented on the former board president. Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court Dorothy Brown stated, 'John Stroger Jr. was a husband, father, political trailblazer, and he was a mentor and friend to many. Personally, he treated me like a daughter.'

Mayor Richard Daley called Stroger 'one of the most dedicated public servants of our time,' the Tribune reported.

In addition to his son, Stroger is survived by his wife, Yonnie, and a daughter, Yonnie Lynn. Another son, Hans, passed away in 1982.

Stroger was buried Jan. 23 in St. Mary's Cemetery, 87th Street and Hamlin Avenue in Evergreen Park.


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