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Sam Gove

By Ken Andersen

Illinois lost a giant in the history of Illinois politics with the death of Samuel K. Gove. Sam was an Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and former Director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. Although he did not hold a Ph.D., his writings and presentations on governmental issues, particularly those related to Illinois, earned him a national reputation. His last and lasting contributions are reflected in the book Illinois Politics, reviewed in this issue. That book was an expansion and revision of an earlier book on the same subject written with James Nolan.

Sam was instrumental in preparations for and during the famous late 1960’s Constitutional Convention that developed the Illinois state constitution under which we now function. He served as a mentor to many young individuals who went on to becoming important political figures including former Governor Edgar. Many continued to rely upon his shrewd and thoughtful advice. He was there at the founding of the monthly journal Illinois Issues and continued active involvement on the Editorial Board for many years well into retirement.

I believe his greatest contribution was his incredible insight into and understanding of the workings of the political process, both the good and bad. He was an amazing mentor with a great sense of humor, a keen intellect, a sometimes wry style and smile, and maintained for himself a high ethical standard.
Those of us who knew him as friend and colleague obviously miss his warmth and humor, his insights and good advice. Most citizens of Illinois will never realize how much he contributed to the state and its citizenry and those contributions will be missed in the years to come. But as educator and mentor, he prepared many whether active in the political arena or commentators upon it to continue his work. We will continue to profit by his legacy and as individuals treasure the memory of interacting with him over a good drink or during intermission at a concert at Krannert.