Ill. State Reps. say Myers "helped make Illinois a better place" - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Ill. State Reps. say Myers "helped make Illinois a better place"

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The main electronic board at the Illinois House of Representatives. (Courtesy/Wayne Padget) The main electronic board at the Illinois House of Representatives. (Courtesy/Wayne Padget)
The seat of Ill. State Rep. Rich Myers is draped in black to mourn his passing. (Courtesy/Wayne Padget) The seat of Ill. State Rep. Rich Myers is draped in black to mourn his passing. (Courtesy/Wayne Padget)
Rich Myers (sitting) in the last day he was in Springfield in session on the Illinois House floor. (Courtesy/Sara Wojcicki) Rich Myers (sitting) in the last day he was in Springfield in session on the Illinois House floor. (Courtesy/Sara Wojcicki)
A 2009 photo of Rich Myers on the Illinois House floor. (Courtesy/Sara Wojcicki) A 2009 photo of Rich Myers on the Illinois House floor. (Courtesy/Sara Wojcicki)

(WGEM) -- The Illinois State Capital is mourning the loss of Illinois State Representative Rich Myers, who died Wednesday night at the age of 62.

He battled prostate cancer since mid-March.

His home away from home, the Illinois state capitol, mourns the loss of one of its most respected and well-liked members.

Myers' seat in the house chamber is draped in a black shroud and members of the state senate paused for a moment of silence.

His colleagues say they're not only going to miss a good politician, but they're going to miss the man they all admired.

John Sullivan says, "He was a good decent man, he was in the job for the right reasons."

While many in the state legislature are mourning the loss of a colleague, state Senator John Sullivan lost his friend. A Republican lawmaker this Democrat grew to admire and respect.

Sullivan says, "He was there because he wanted to be a public servant. He wanted to serve the people, he wanted to represent his district. And I think he did an outstanding job of that."

Even as his disease was progressing and chemo made him weaker, Rich Myers was determined to work. He attended the first day of the fall veto session on November 16. It would also be his last day at the state capitol.

Representative Raymond Poe of Springfield was elected to the state legislature the same year Myers was - 1994. Their backgrounds in agriculture brought them together long before that. It was a relationship that only grew stronger over the years.

Poe says, "although he represented Western Illinois in that area, he still was a very good representative for all the state of Illinois."

Sen. Bill Brady says, "What a loss, he was certainly a great friend, a good legislator, and certainly a person who cared deeply about his community."

Long before Senator Bill Brady ran for Governor, he and Rich Myers were new lawmakers learning their way in the State House. They became fast friends, and for much of the last 16 years, they've shared an apartment in Springfield during legislative sessions.

Brady says, "the opportunity to talk before you went to sleep at night, talk in the morning while you're getting ready, kind of visit with each other about the pressing issues we faced down here."

It's easy to get lost in a chamber of 118 representatives, but Myers, in his own quiet yet determined way managed to stand out in the crowd.

Sullivan says, "The other think I liked about him was that he was even keel. He wasn't up and down and all over the board, ranting and raving. He was quiet, but he was effective. He was that way because he was a decent person."

Just one month ago, Myers was celebrating his re-election to a 9th term in the state house.

Myers served on a variety of committees, including Agriculture & Conservation; State Government Administration; Appropriations-Higher Education; Higher Education; Ethanol Production Oversight and Committee of the Whole.

Myers graduated from Colchester High School in 1966 and Western Illinois University in 1973. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves for six years.

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