A well-known former Peoria politician has passed away at age 88.
Former State Sen. and Peoria County Sheriff George Shadid died of natural causes early Saturday, the Peoria County Coroner said. Shadid, a Democrat, served as sheriff from 1976 to 1993 and as state senator from 1993 to 2006.
Shadid was remembered Saturday morning by area lawmakers.
“Peoria has lost a favorite son and wonderful public servant. George Shadid was not only my mentor, but he was my friend. My deepest sympathy goes out to his wife Lorraine, his son Judge Jim Shadid and the entire family," said State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), Shadid's successor in the state Senate. “He will be remembered for his frankness and honesty, always calling things as he saw them. Whether as Sheriff or State Senator, George always put the people first. We will miss him dearly.”
"Peoria has lost one of its most notable icons with the passing of George Shadid," said State Rep. Mike Unes (R-East Peoria). "Generations of Peorians remember him well for his gregarious personality and dedication to public service. Many will recall his advocacy for school consolidation--one of his many bits of wisdom that still holds true today. George will continue to be well-remembered for years to come, and very sorely missed."
The son of Lebanese immigrants, Shadid was born in Clinton, Iowa on May 15, 1929. He later moved to Peoria, and joined the Peoria Police Department as an officer in 1953. Shadid served with the department until his run for sheriff. While sheriff, Shadid successfully lobbied voters to approve a referendum to build a new Peoria County Jail.
In 1993, he was appointed to the state Senate to fill the seat of State Sen. Richard Luft, who left to take a post on a state board.
Shadid was the father of federal Judge James Shadid, the chief judge of the U.S District Court for the Central District of Illinois.
Former Congressman and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth spoke of Shadid's legacy with 25 News over the phone.
"Senator Shadid wasn't just a senator, he wasn't just a sheriff and a former Peoria police officer, but he was a friend. He was a friend to me, to this community, a friend to the state. He was a great, wise leader," stated Gordon-Booth.
"Obviously it's a sad day for central Illinois. George Shadid represented the best interest of central Illinois. He was one of the most bipartisan legislators to ever serve our community," said LaHood.