Home About Chat Users Issues Party Candidates Polling Firms Media News Polls Calendar Key Races United States President Senate House Governors International

New User Account
"A comprehensive, collaborative elections resource." 
Email: Password:

  Hill, John Jerome "Jack"
NameJohn Jerome "Jack" Hill
Address741 Sheridan
Aurora, Illinois , United States
Born October 27, 1918
DiedJune 13, 1986 (67 years)
Last Modifedev
Mar 17, 2023 08:57am
Tags Married - Catholic -
InfoJohn J. "Jack" Hill"

John J. "Jack" Hill, 67, who died Friday in his Aurora home, was the former Mayor of that city and had served for nine consecutive terms as a Democratic member of the Illinois House.

He was first elected as State Representative in 1958; he held that office for 18 years until stepping down in 1976. During his time in the legislature, Mr. Hill, a machinist in an Aurora factory, was a spokesman for organized labor and carried the endorsement of the AFL-CIO. He was also one of the legislature`s strongest supporters of environmental protection.

Mr. Hill ran for Mayor of Aurora immediately after stepping down from state politics; he was Mayor from 1977 to 1985. Earlier, he had served as an Alderman for nine years.

Mass for Mr. Hill will be said at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in St. Joseph Catholic Church, 405 St. Joseph Ave., Aurora.


In Washington, U.S. Sen. Paul Simon (D., Ill.) will miss a former Illinois General Assembly colleague who joined him years ago to rebel against a proposed sales tax increase.

Last Friday, Aurora`s Jack Hill died of cancer. On Monday, residents of the far western suburb and others who knew Hill began their first work week in nearly four decades without Hill`s finger in the local political pie.

Monday was a day for remembering Hill, 67, who served 8 years as Aurora Mayor, 18 years as a State Representative and nearly a decade as a city Alderman and a state labor lobbyist. Mostly, friends and former colleagues remembered Hill as the tough little Democrat who surprised them with his concern for constituents, his fiscal conservatism and his political longevity in Republican stronghold Kane County.

''Jack was a guy you could talk to,'' said Lawrence ''Laz'' Murphy, a longtime political crony who in 1958 took over Hill`s job as lobbyist for the United Steel Workers of America when Hill went to the legislature from the 39th District.

''He never lost his philosophy. He and I, we were basically union and shop guys. I`ve always said the people in Springfield and Washington are just out for selfish interests. But not Jack. He was a people guy.''

Concern for his constituents, even after he left office in 1985 when his second term as mayor expired, enabled Hill to turn foes into friends and serve so long.

''Even after he stepped down, he was concerned about the last few projects he worked on as Mayor,'' said Hill`s son, David, 19. ''He would drive around to check on the transportation center they`re building downtown and the housing project by the shopping center. Even if people didn`t see him out driving around, they knew he was concerned.''

Simon saw a similar trait decades ago when he and Hill were fresh faces in Springfield standing up to the Democratic establishment.

''He was gutsy. People respected his conviction,'' Simon said. ''I remember he joined a group of us who opposed the sales tax increase. That was back when Otto Kerner was governor. When the governor of your party supports something, and you don`t, sometimes things aren`t too pleasant. But Jack stood up.''

As a conservative on taxing and spending issues, Hill also fought taxes during his years as Mayor. Kent Piatt, a former assistant, said Hill`s stand on taxes was remembered by many at the polls.

''He managed to lower the property tax rate every year he was in office,'' Piatt said. ''Whether you`re Democrat or Republican, that`s attractive.''

Hill often generated controversy as mayor, Piatt said. One of the biggest came when he confiscated about a dozen city-owned cars from aldermen and department heads because he thought they were being used for personal business.

''He took them all away,'' Piatt said. ''He got fed up with people cruising around in them. He claimed that when he was in the legislature, he had seen them down in Springfield. So he turned them all over to the police. They used them as undercover police cars.''

Piatt, 37, who now lives in New York and works for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was back in Aurora on Monday, visiting Hill`s family and helping prepare for mass for Hill, which will be said at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 405 St. Joseph Ave, Aurora. Piatt said returning to Aurora caused him to reflect on why he followed Hill through his eight years as mayor.

''I liked his attitude on social issues,'' Piatt said. ''When he was in Springfield, he was for civil rights, he cleaned up the Fox River almost single-handedly and he voted for the Equal Rights Amendment every time it came up.

''Jack didn`t get into politics to advance his career. He got into politics because he saw things he wanted to accomplish.''

But Hill`s reputation as a social liberal turned off some when he announced for Mayor in 1976.

''One of the big concerns was his labor background,'' Piatt said.

''People said, `We can`t elect Jack Hill because he`ll sell out to the unions.` ''

In 1979, many Aurora residents couldn`t believe their Mayor was the same Jack Hill they had elected three years earlier. That year, the city`s firefighters, at odds with Hill over their contract, went on strike for nine days.

While the public and political opponents saw a gruff Jack Hill, his secretary, Vonhoff, saw the mayor`s humorous side. Hill sometimes would recruit Vonhoff to call his wife, Velva, to find out whether she was at home. ''She`s always had a reputation for going to garage sales,'' Vonhoff said. ''He liked to catch her away from home so he could go home and accuse her of going to another garage sale.''



Title Purchase Contributor

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor

Importance? 0.00000 Average


  11/05/1974 IL State House 039 Won 30.08% (+4.03%)
  11/07/1972 IL State House 039 Won 26.22% (+0.00%)
  11/03/1970 IL State House 036 Won 36.16% (+4.12%)
  11/05/1968 IL State House 036 Won 33.08% (-1.10%)
  11/08/1966 IL State House 036 Won 32.70% (-1.83%)
  11/03/1964 IL State House At-Large Won 0.44% (-0.02%)
  11/06/1962 IL State House 035 Won 35.11% (+1.84%)
  11/08/1960 IL State House 035 Won 38.93% (+0.00%)
  11/04/1958 IL State House 035 Won 39.13% (+7.97%)