Dick "Bird" Rawlings  U.S.A.

January 25, 1941  -  July 15,  2014

Reisenbach  1964 -  1965


Beloved husband of Diane and Father of Monika and Michael



Dick tragically passed on Tuesday July fifteenth two-thousand-fourteen at two at morning.  Dick had been  in Memorial hospital at Springfield Illinois for three weeks prior after suffering from a hole in his esophagus that happened from an unknown cause.


Dick grew up in the Franklin Illinois and then moved to Jacksonville for the rest of his life. He joined the Army and was stationed at Reisenbach where he was promoted to Specialist E4.  After his tour at Reisenbach he went to Bradley University and became a civil engineer.  He then became a partner in Benton and Associates for the remainder of his working career. He married Diane on April 29th, 1978 and they had two children Monika and Michael. After retirement Dick went on to serve his community in many non self serving ways. He was a member of The Masons, The Elks and the American Legion. He was elected Morgan county commissioner in 2006 and re-elected in 2012.

Dick is survived by his wife Diane, daughter Monika, her husband Chris, their children, son Michael, fiance Holly, their son Nathanyle, sister Marilyn and brother Bob.

Funeral arrangements were at Airsman – Hires  1401 Lincoln Ave, Jacksonville Illinois 62650,   On Saturday July 19th at 10:30 hrs.  http://www.airsman-hires.com/

   Jacksonville Journal Courier   http://www.myjournalcourier.com/news/community-news-home_top-news/31218197/Our-community-has-lost-a-treasure

If there was a group whose mission was to improve the quality of life for Morgan County, chances are good Richard G. “Dick” Rawlings of Jacksonville was involved.

The man whose commitment to raising the bar in everything from education to employment was reflected in his eight years on the Morgan County board of commissioners died Tuesday at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. He was 73.

Rawlings was a Franklin High School graduate and earned his degree in civil engineering from Bradley University in Peoria.

It was that interest in economic improvement and his engineering background that put him at the forefront for decades of a vision to transform a mostly undeveloped U.S. 67 into a major thoroughfare for western Illinois. The road runs nearly 220 miles from Alton to near Rock Island. Once completed, it would provide a north-south expressway from the Quad Cities to metro St. Louis.

Progress on the U.S. 67 Corridor has been made — sections from Macomb to Monmouth, Illinois Route 255 in Alton and a 24-mile section that bypasses Jacksonville to the west have been upgraded — and other portions remain on the state’s “to do” list, awaiting money.

Terry Denison, president of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corp., recalled working with Rawlings on the U.S. 67 Corridor project.

“He was a driver of the U.S. 67 project,” Denison recalled. “Dick loved Morgan County and wanted to see the county grow and prosper.”

It was an attitude Rawlings carried with him as a member of the economic development group after being elected to the county board of commissioners in 2006.

“He would take in whatever the conversation or topic was. He was very interested. He always had a suggestion or comment and that was always helpful,” Denison said.

Rawlings’ interest in seeing the region grow was evident to Brittany Henry, executive director of the Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Dick has always been a great supporter for tourism for the Morgan County area and very supportive of my staff and myself,” Henry said. “You could tell he really took pride in his community.”

If an issue was important, Rawlings would not be deterred in his action, Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard said.

“He wore what he thought on his sleeve and his passion for service was second to none. We’re going to miss him,” Ezard said. “Dick Rawlings was a hard working public servant who served the county and this region very well though his efforts with Corridor 67 and though his duties being commissioner.”

Rawlings’ attention to detail and willingness to listen is something Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce President Ginny Fanning said stood out.

“He was such a good listener and always interested in what you had to say, personally and professionally,” she said. “He was a wonderful man. Our community has lost a treasure.”

Journal-Courier General Manager Kent Kilpatrick said he would frequently see Rawlings walking to the courthouse and he always took the time to chat.

“He would always stop to chat, ask how my family was, etc. He was a true gentleman and will be missed greatly,” Kilpatrick said.

In addition to his elected office, Rawlings was a member of numerous organizations, including the chamber of commerce, the Jacksonville Elks Lodge, Rotary, the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, the Gov. Duncan Association, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS and the West Central Development Council.

He is survived by his wife, Diane, children Michael and Monica, and several grandchildren.

Services are pending. Arrangements are under the direction of Williamson Funeral Home.

Deputy general counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections, Ken Menzel, said the county board chairman would appoint someone of the same political party to fill the vacancy until December, when both parties could put forth a candidate to fill the vacancy until the end of Rawlings’ term in 2018.

David C.L. Bauer can be reached at 217-245-6121, ext. 1222, or on Twitter @EditorDCLBauer.


WLDS 1180 AM -  WRAI 107.1 FM  http://wlds.com/news/morgan-county-commissioner-rawlings-has-died/

Morgan County commissioner Dick Rawlings has died

By Jim McCabe on July 15 at 1:38pm

Richard “Dick” Rawlings was 73 years old. He died Tuesday at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield after battling an illness for several weeks.

Fellow commissioners Brad Zeller and Bill Meier are offering their condolences to the Rawlings family. Zeller says as a commissioner, Rawlings was the most passionate person he knew towards the county.


“He put his heart and soul into his efforts to better this community and getting on the Morgan County board was just another way of him providing an avenue for himself to better his community,” says Zeller.

In addition to serving on the Morgan County health board and other committees, Rawlings also served as the Chairman of the Corridor 67 committee and was a member of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation board.

“He was a real driver in getting Route 67 four lane to the extent that it is and was still very much in hopes of seeing the day 67 going north to almost Meredosia would one day be completed,” says Denison.

“He always had a smile on his face whenever you talked about Route 67.”

That’s JREDC president Terry Denison.

Zeller has been a commissioner for twelve years, while Meier has served for an even decade. Rawlings was a commissioner in Morgan County for seven-plus years, having been elected to his second term in November 2012.

Meier says Rawlings, as a retired engineer, had a great passion for the Morgan County Courthouse.

“Whenever we had work down at the courthouse, like the courthouse group, he was a lead man on that,” says Meier.

“He was a lead man on a lot of projects because he knew what to do and what to look for when the architects and workers came to town. That will be sorely missed. He is going to be hard to replace. I don’t think we can replace him, but it is a rough time for everyone right now.”

Rawlings was an owner and principal at the Jacksonville-based Benton and Associates engineering firm from 1971 to 2002.

Rawlings was a Republican. The Jacksonville Journal-Courier spoke with Illinois State Board of Elections deputy general counsel Ken Menzel, who stated the county board chairman would appoint someone of the same political party to fill Rawlings’ vacancy until December.

At that time, both Republican and Democratic parties could submit a candidate to fill the position until the end of the county commissioner term in 2018.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Williamson Funeral Home.


Obituary for Richard Rawlings


Richard G. “Dick” Rawlings, 73, of Jacksonville, died Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. He was born January 25, 1941, in Franklin, the son of Herman Stanley “Bill” and Mona Mitchell Rawlings. He married Diane Johnson on April 29, 1978, in Jacksonville, and she survives.

Dick is also survived by his two children, Monica (husband, Christopher Ryan) Carroll of Edwardsville and Michael (fiancé, Holly Loy) Rawlings of Port Byron; three grandchildren, Jackson and Elaine Carroll and Nathanyle Loy; his sister, Marilyn (husband, Darrell) Smith of Alexander; his brother, Robert “Bob” Rawlings of Weirton, West Virginia; and several nieces and nephews. His parents, one brother, William “Bill” Rawlings and one sister-in-law, Sherry Peck Rawlings, preceded him in death.

Dick grew up in Franklin and graduated from Franklin High School in 1959. He served in the United States Army and was honorably discharged in October of 1969. He returned to school and graduated from Bradley University in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. He worked as a Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor, licensed in Illinois and Missouri, for over 35 years. During that time, Dick served as President of the Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association and was named recipient of the association’s A. “Pat” Patterson Illinois Land Surveyor of the Year Award in 1999. Dick retired as a partner in Benton and Associates in 2002.

Dick loved Morgan County and was able to focus his energy on its betterment throughout his life. He served as chairman of Corridor 67, Inc., leading local efforts toward the expansion of the highway. He served two terms as Morgan County Commissioner, winning elections in 2006 and 2012. He was a longtime member of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, volunteering countless hours and receiving the Circle of Excellence Award. He served on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation, Passavant Hospital Foundation, Governor Duncan Association, FBI Citizens Academy Alumni, and the West Central Development Council, and was a member of both the Meredosia and Florence Bridge Replacement Citizens Advisory Committees. Dick was also a member of the American Legion, V.F.W., Amvets, Elks, Moose, Rotary, and Fraternal Order of Eagles, and Harmony Lodge #3, A.F. & A.M., Scottish Rite-Valley of Springfield, Ansar Shrine, Rasna Shrine Club, and R.O.J. Court #20. Dick gave countless hours as a member of the Combined Veterans Ceremonial Team, providing graveside military honors to his fallen comrades.
Dick was an avid outdoorsman. He loved spending time on his houseboat at the Alton Marina, enjoying the Mississippi River and its history; hunting with his son Michael and friends, and deep-sea fishing. Above all else, Dick cherished his family.

A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 19, 2014, at Williamson Funeral Home in Jacksonville. Interment and military rites will follow at Franklin Cemetery. Friends may call after 12 Noon on Friday at the funeral home, where the family will meet friends from 3 to 7 p.m. Masonic rites will be conducted at 7 p.m. Friday. Memorials are suggested to the Passavant Hospital Foundation. Condolences may be left to the family online at www.airsman-hires.com.