Richard B. Ogilvie

Not to be confused with earlier governor Richard J. Oglesby (1824–1899).
Richard B. Ogilvie
35th Governor of Illinois
In office
January 13, 1969  January 8, 1973
Lieutenant Paul Simon
Preceded by Samuel H. Shapiro
Succeeded by Daniel Walker
Sheriff of Cook County
In office
Personal details
Born February 22, 1923
Kansas City, Missouri
Died May 10, 1988 (aged 65)
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Dorthy Shriver
Profession Lawyer and Politician
Religion Presbyterian
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1942–1945
Rank Tank Commander
Battles/wars World War II

Richard Buell Ogilvie (February 22, 1923 – May 10, 1988) was the 35th governor of Illinois and served from 1969 to 1973. A wounded combat veteran of World War II, he became known as the mafia-fighting sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, in the 1960s before becoming governor.

Education and Military service

He graduated from high school in Port Chester, New York, in 1940. While attending Yale University, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1942. As a tank commander in France, he was wounded and received the Purple Heart and two Battle Stars. Discharged in 1945, he resumed studies at Yale and in 1947, he earned a Bachelor of Arts majoring in American history. In 1949, he earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Chicago-Kent College of Law. From 1950 to 1954, he practiced law in Chicago and served as an assistant United States Attorney from 1954–1955. From 1958 to 1961, he served as a special assistant to the United States Attorney General heading an office fighting organized crime in Chicago.[1][2]

Pre-gubernatorial political career

Ogilvie was elected sheriff of Cook County, Illinois' most populous county, in 1962; he served in this position until 1967. While sheriff, he was elected President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and served from 1967 to 1969, when he resigned upon being elected Governor of Illinois. As of 2014, he was the last Republican to serve as the chief executive of Cook County.[1]

Governor of Illinois

In 1968, he was elected governor as a Republican, with 51.2% of the vote, narrowly beating incumbent Democrat Sam Shapiro. His lieutenant governor was Democrat and future U.S. Senator Paul Simon, the only time that Illinois elected a Governor and Lt. Governor of different parties.[1] (However, on least two other occasions there was an acting Lt. Governor from a different party.[3])

Bolstered by large Republican majorities in the state house, Ogilvie modernized state government. He successfully advocated for a state constitutional convention, increased social spending, and secured Illinois' first state income tax. The latter was particularly unpopular with the electorate, and Ogilvie lost a close election to Daniel Walker in 1972, ending his career in elective office.

Post governorship

President Richard Nixon considered Oglivie as a nominee to become Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In 1979, Governor Ogilvie was appointed as Trustee for the Milwaukee Road, a railroad that had entered bankruptcy. He oversaw its sale and reorganization into the Wisconsin Central Railroad.

Oglivie was the publisher of a revived Chicago Daily News in 1979, 18 months after its demise in 1978.

In 1987, he was appointed by then-Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole to chair a committee studying the proposed termination of Amtrak's federal subsidy.

Until his death in 1988, he was a partner in the distinguished Chicago law firm of Isham Lincoln & Beale, one of whose founders was Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln.

Death and legacy

After his death in Chicago May 10, 1988, Governor Ogilvie was cremated and interred in Rosehill Mausoleum, Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago.

The Ogilvie Transportation Center, from which Chicago-area Metra commuter passenger trains leave for destinations on the former Chicago and North Western, now the Union Pacific, is named in his honor. The modern railroad station uses the former C&NW trainshed.


Richard B. Ogilvie was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State’s highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 1973 in the area of Government.[4]


Political offices
Preceded by
Seymour Simon
Cook County Board President
Succeeded by
George Dunne
Preceded by
Samuel H. Shapiro
Governor of Illinois
Succeeded by
Daniel Walker
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