Former Cook Co. Board President John Stroger dead at 78
John Stroger, the first black Cook County Board president, has died. He was 78.
Stroger’s son, and current board president, Todd Stroger said his father died at 8 a.m. Friday at Warren Barr Pavilion in Chicago from complications of a stroke he suffered in 2006.
“Today, my family mourns the passing of my father, John H. Stroger, Jr., loving husband, devoted father and outstanding public servant. He dedicated his life to his family and gave generously of himself as an elected official. His love for this county knew no bounds and he will be deeply missed,” Todd Stroger said in a written statement.
In 1994, Stroger was elected to his first of three terms as president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. His involvement with Cook County government began in 1970 as the Eighth Ward Democratic Committeeman where he worked on improving all the facets of public service.
Providing access to affordable and convenient health care was an issue Stroger focused heavily on. He served on the Chicago Metropolitan Healthcare Council and was involved with the purchase of Provident Hospital which was reconstructed and renamed after Stroger.
As a committeeman, Stroger chaired the Health & Hospitals board, as well as Building & Zoning and Finance boards. He was involved with creating the county’s 911 emergency center as well as a boot camp for non-violent adult offenders, according to a news release.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said he is saddened by the loss of a “friend” who was dedicated his life to helping those in need.
“John Stroger spent his political life breaking down racial barriers and working to lift up the less fortunate. His lifelong commitment to serve those who struggle every day to find affordable, quality medical care is his legacy,” Durbin said in a written statement.
Stroger suffered a crippling stroke a week before the Democratic primary in 2006 which took him out of the race as the incumbent for what would have been his fourth term as board president.
Stroger resigned from office that summer. A few months later, Todd Stroger was selected to take his place on the ballot and later won the election.