John Wilson Lewis Jr , 19051977 (aged 71 years)

John Wilson /Lewis/ Jr
Given names
John Wilson
Name suffix

Former Republican Illinois Secretary of State 1970 to 1973. He was appointed the Director of Agriculture in 1969 by Gov. Richard B. Ogilvie. After the death of Illinois Secretary of State (October 1970), Paul Powell, Governor Ogilvie appointed Mr. Lewis as Secretary of State to fill the vacant position. Lewis did not seek re-election in 1972. He served in the General Assembly for 26 years with perfect attendance. He was elected in 1940 to the Illinois House and served nine consecutive terms. In 1968 he was elected to a two year Senate term, then returned to the house two years later and served another six years. He served as majority whip, majority leader and was elected speaker for the 73rd General Assembly. Mr. Lewis graduation from Marshall, Illinois High School and the University of Illinois.


Terre Haute (IN) Tribune, page 2, Saturday, August 13, 1977


Marshal l, IL – Former Secretary of the State of Illinois, John W. Lewis Jr. 71, RR 2 died Friday morning in Union Hospital, Terre Haute. Services will be 2 p.m. Sunday at Moore Funeral Home. The Rev. Father Donald Meehling will officiate. Burial will be in Marshall Cemetery. Visitation will be after 2 p.m. Saturday.

Appearing in the Marshall (IL) Independent on Monday, August 15, 1977:


Former Illinois Secretary of State John W. Lewis died Friday in Union Hospital. He was 71.

Lewis, a Republican who lived in Marshall all his life, was a contemporary of the late former Secretary of State Paul Powell and worked closely with Powell both on legislation and on county fairs and harness racing.

He also was a livestock dealer and an auctioneer.

Lewis was born in Marshall on Sept. 6, 1905. He attended grade and high school in Marshall and the University of Illinois.

Lewis was elected in 1940 to the Illinois House where he served nine consecutive terms. He was elected to a two-year Senate term in 1958, returned to the House two years later and served another six years there. He had 26 years total service in the General Assembly and claimed a perfect attendance record.

He served as majority whip, majority leader and was elected speaker for the 73rd General Assembly.

Gov. Richard B. Ogilvie appointed Lewis agriculture director in 1969 and named him Secretary of State after Powell’s death the following year.

Lewis was a bombastic orator who used a “down home” twang and country boy expressions to drive hard bargains. When some racetrack stock dealings on his family’s behalf were uncovered in 1971, Lewis held a news conference to denounce the reporter who had written about the scandal, threatening at one point to “clean his plow”.

He was a member of the First Congregational Church of Marshall, a charter member of the Marshall Lions Club, the Masons, the K of P, the Elks, the Moose and the Marshall chamber of Commerce.

He is survived by his wife, Mahala (Forsythe), two daughters, Mrs. Joan Ingram, Terre Haute, and Mrs. Janice Marsha, Tuscola, one sister, Mrs. Mabel Simon, Phoenix, Ariz. And three grandchildren.

One sister preceded him in death.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Moore Funeral Home with Fr. Donald Meehling officiating. Burial was in Marshall Cemetery.