SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Former U.S. Rep. Harris W. Fawell of Illinois, who served seven terms in Congress and was a state senator, has died. He was 92.
Fawell died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease Thursday at his home in suburban Naperville, his wife Ruth told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Fawell, a Republican, represented a Chicago-area district in Congress from 1985 to 1999 when he retired. He was known as a fiscal conservative, and spent time on a bipartisan panel that objected to excessive government spending on lawmakers’ pet projects.
Family members recall a caring man of quick wit.
"He was a loving, honest and intelligent man," his wife of 69 years said. "A husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather."
Fawell was born in West Chicago in 1929. He earned a law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law and practiced as an attorney. He was part of a well-known family in DuPage County politics; His late brother, Bruce, was a circuit court judge and his late sister-in-law, Beverly, was a state senator.
Harris Fawell began his Illinois Senate career in 1963, leaving office in 1977 for an unsuccessful Illinois Supreme Court bid.
While he was a Republican, he supported Democrat Barack Obama’s presidential bid in 2008 and was one of 30 former GOP members of Congress who in 2016 publicly said they would not vote for Donald Trump.
In later years, Fawell reflected on his work as an elected leader in essays, including for a 2007 volume of Gonzaga University’s International Journal of Servant-Leadership.
"I have come to believe, after 14 years in our nation’s government, that eventually we all must learn that we need an ability, indeed, perhaps better referred to as a response-ability, to drop our negative judgments, defensiveness, resentments, hatreds and criticisms that serve only to short-circuit our natural gifts of love," he wrote. "We do, indeed, need to remind ourselves constantly that love is the only reality there is and that we are all here to love and serve."
Funeral services were private, according to Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Homes & Crematory in Naperville.