Obit: Illinois legislator George Shadid, 1929 – 2018

Obit: Illinois legislator George Shadid, 1929 – 2018

Lebanese American legislator based in Peoria, Illinois dies, February 3, 2018.

George P. Shadid ( born on May 15, 1929) died on Saturday February 3, 2018 according to friends and family.

Shadid, 88, was a pioneer in American and Illinois politics, the inspiration of the growing and successful Lebanese American community presence in Peoria Illinois that grew to great heights in public service and politics. Peoria’s politics created many great Lebanese Arab American politicians and public servants including Ray LaHood, a former Illinois Congressman and United States Transportation Secretary, and Jim Maloof, who served as Mayor of Peoria.

The Shadid and Maloof families were among the most influential Lebanese Arab American families in the Midwest and Illinois.

George P. Shadid, 88, (born May 15, 1929, died February 3, 2018) was an American Democratic politician in southern Illinois. He was sheriff of Peoria County, Illinois from 1976 to 1993 and was in the Illinois State Senate from 1993 until 2006.

Shadid was a Democratic politicians who served as sheriff of Peoria County, Illinois from 1976 to 1993 and was in the Illinois State Senate from 1993 until 2006.

Shadid was born in Clinton, Iowa to immigrants from Lebanon. It’s a fascinating phenomena that so many immigrants from the Middle East including Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan settled originally in CLinton, Iowa at the turn of the century, early 1900s.

At age 14, once in Peoria, Illinois, Shadid worked with future mayor Jim Maloof at the Maloof family cleaning business. They remained friends until Maloof’s death.

Shadid became a police officer in 1953, according to his biography on Wikipedia. In 1976, he ran for sheriff of Peoria County. Running as a Democrat, with a Republican campaign manager, he became the first Democrat elected as Peoria County sheriff since 1892. He took up the office of sheriff in December 1976. The 1985 jail and sheriff’s complex on Maxwell Road was built during his tenure.

By 1993, Shadid was living near Edwards. In 1993, the Illinois State Senate 46th Senate District seat was vacated by Richard Luft of Pekin when Luft was appointed Illinois Commissioner of Banks and Trusts. Shadid was unanimously chosen as a replacement by Democratic leaders of the district, and was appointed to the Illinois State Senate on May 13, 1993. Al Meister was appointed to replace Shadid as sheriff.

Shadid retired from the Senate in December 2006 to allow his elected successor, Democrat David Koehler, to take office earlier.

In 2013, Shadid donated his remaining campaign funds, $25,000, to Bradley University, and gave$12,000 to Bradley’s Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service. In November 2014, the Peoria County jail complex on Maxwell Road was named the George P. Shadid Law Enforcement Center.

Tributes to George Shadid poured in from throughout Illinois, especially from his home base in downstate Peoria.

Former legislator Walter Dudycz said on his Facebook page, “George was a gentleman in every sense of the word & although he was a member of the opposing political party, he truly embodied what bipartisanship means. Both sides of Washington DC could learn from the example George showed.”

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth wrote, “RIP to my friend, Senator George Shadid. May God bless and keep your family as they manage life without you. Thank you for all you’ve done for our state, our community… and me. You are definitely a legend here and in Springfield.”

Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell wrote, “I want to give my condolences to the family of George Shadid, former State Senator and Peoria County Sheriff. I was fortunate enough to have a relationship with Senator Shadid when I was a teenager and it was because of him I entered the profession of law enforcement. As a 16 year old kid, I worked as a busboy at the Country Bee (now Jubilee Cafe in Kickapoo) and just about every Sunday, then Sheriff Shadid, would come in for a family breakfast. Long story short, a friendship/ mentorship developed and I told him I was going to work for him when I returned from serving in the Army but while I was away, he left for the State Senate. Nevertheless, when I returned he still pointed me in the right direction and gave me valuable advice throughout my career. Thank you Senator! You will be missed!”

Shadid’s obituary in the Peoria Journal Star adds, George married Lorraine K. Unes on May 30, 1953. Lorraine survives. Also surviving are his son, James (Jane) Shadid; daughter-in-law, Mikie Shadid; and four grandchildren, James E. (Anne) Shadid, Joseph G. Shadid, Margaret L. Shadid and Lauren E. Shadid; as well as his sister Pauline Unes; and brother, Fred (Jean) Shadid.  His son, George P. Shadid Jr., preceded him in death, along with his siblings, Gladys Abraham, Louise Shadid, Joan Petit, Jeannette Harris, Mitchell Shadid and William Shadid.

His services will be at St. Sharbel Catholic Church. Chorbishop Faouzi Elia will preside over the funeral Mass at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, with a visitation one hour prior. Visitation is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, also at the church. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Easter Seals Autism Unit, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Peoria or the George P. Shadid Jr. Memorial Scholarship at Bradley University.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

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