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Update 12:30 p.m. Former Evanston Township Assessor Sharon Eckersall was found dead this morning in her home at 2519 Ashland Ave.

Eckersall, 69, had lost the job four years ago to Bonnie Wilson, but ran unopposed and was re-elected in April after Wilson decided not to try to retain the job. Eckersall was scheduled to resume the assessor’s job at the end of the year.

Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott says firefighters went to the home about 8:30 a.m. in response to a call about an unresponsive female found in bed.

He says police were notified after firefighters determened that Eckersall had died.

Parrott says that investigators have found no apparent indications of foul play, but that Eckersall’s body will be sent for a post-mortem examination to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Eckersall also was a real estate agent with the Coldwell Banker office on Central Street. She ran an unsuccessful race for Cook County Assessor in 2010 as a Republican, coming in third of our candidates for the job.

Her 12-year tenure in the township assessor’s office was stormy, with three employees of the tiny office filing wrongful dismissal suits. The suits, although ultimately unsuccessful, cost taxpayers substantial sums to defend.

That and other issues made her a frequent target of criticism from some members of the township board, who also serve as Evanston’s aldermen.

Update 2:02 p.m.: City Attorney Grant Farrar says he’s researching the relevant state statutes and hopes to have information on the process to select a new township assessor by tomorrow.

A new law adopted by the legislature and recently signed by Gov. Quinn gives the City Council the power to ask voters in a binding referendum next spring whether they want to abolish the township — a concept that the voters favored by a 2-to-1 margin an an advisory referendum last year.


Original story 11:44 a.m.: Evanston police report a woman was found dead in a home at 2519 Ashland Ave. this morning.

The home is owned by Sharon Eckersall, who is scheduled to reassume the office of Evanston Township Assessor next year after being returned to office in last spring’s election following her defeat by Bonnie Wilson four years ago.

Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott would not confirm the identity of the person whose body was found in the home, but said he’d be able to provide more information about the incident shortly.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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18 Comments

  1. A wonderful woman

    Sharon was a joy to be around and we were luck enough to get to know her well.  She always looked out for us and would never forget to tell us or our friends the days there were parking restictions.  She had many talents and considered everyone a friend.  She was like a second mother to our family and Ashland will not be the same without her.

  2. Inappropriate?

    Don't you think writing about a persons political career and the fact that the alderman don't get along with someone are inappropriate to write at a time when the many friends she had are grieving?  Why don't you investigate and find our how great she was rather than all the crap you can say?  I sure hope your friend or loved one doesn't pass and someone as ignorant writes a crappy 30 sec article about you.

    1. What can you expect?

      What can you expect? Evanston Now is the official organ of the Democratic Party of Evanston and Eckersall was a Republican who ran afoul of the Machine at times.  When Eckersall lost her bid for reelection in 2009, the DPOE spend huge sums to defeat her.

      1. What planet are you from?

        Evanston Now,  the official organ of the Democratic Party of Evanston?  "huge sums to defeat her" For Township Assessor?

        Thanks for a laugh!

        1. Get a clue

          The most recent election for Assessor was uncontested. Eckersall was the only candidate who qualified for the ballot.

          The election in which large sums of money was spent occurred on a contested race between Wilson and Eckersall four years earlier, not this year.

          Since ruling elites in Evanston can never admit the existence of criminal street gangs engaged in a brutal turf war over drug dealing, it is hardly a shock that you can be so oblivious to everything else going on in the Peoples' Republic.  

          1. A brave and public minded person.

            Sharon was a brave and hard working politician, facing down some of the most powerful people in the United States with a fearless determination to have a fair property tax system. And yes, the malignant forces of Evanston politics spent more than $100,000 to defeat her as Assessor, after years of good service to the community; a defeat which only increased Sharon's dedication to the taxpayers of Evanston.

            She will be missed by all who knew her, but also by the many people she helped by her professional service to her City and Township via her work at the Assessors Office.

          2. Spending

            Campaign finance reports you could look up here, show that Bonnie Wilson spend less than $6,000 in her successful campaign to defeat Sharon Eckersall for township assessor in 2009.

            If you think the bulk of the spending in the four-way race for county assessor in 2010 was aimed at Eckersall, you are seriously misinformed. That was primarily a contest between the Democrat, Joe Berrios, who won with 48 percent of the vote, and the Democrat running as an independent, Forrest Claypool, who came in second with just under 32 percent of the vote. Eckersall, who drew less than 18 percent of the vote, was never a serious factor. Look up the election returns yourself here.

            — Bill

    2. I don’t think it is

      I don't think it is inappropriate. The note was informative and the article is not (and is not supposed to be) a eulogy. If you are looking for a eulogy, this site is not the right one.

    3. “Don’t you think writing

      "Don't you think writing about a persons political career and the fact that the alderman don't get along with someone are inappropriate to write at a time when the many friends she had are grieving?"

      No.  This is a news story, and it should be covered as a news story.

      If not for her political career, there would be no need to place the story on this website.  

  3. Passing of Sharon Eckersall

    I offer my condolence to the family of Mrs. Sharon Eckersall.

    To me Mrs. Sharon Eckersall was a woman that wore a warm smile and was always sharing a wealth of knowledge on property tax to the community.

    Betty Sue Ester

  4. Sharon Eckersall

    Sharon was a lovely woman and a great neighbor. I spoke with her on Monday and she reminded me about parking on Saturday (during the Northwestern game) and talked about having her season tickets at the 50 yard line!

    I know there is a need to report "everything" but why not allow people who knew her  to mourn her loss before writing about how she will be replaced as the Town Assessor or how contentious her 12 year term was? Sharon was kind, civic-minded and she loved Evanston despite its petty politics.

    She will be missed.

  5. My condolence to the family of Mrs. Sharon Eckersall.

     To me Mrs. Sharon Eckersall was a woman that wore a warm smile and was always sharing a wealth of knowledge on property tax to the community.

    Betty Sue Ester
     

  6. She will be missed

    I didn't know Sharon well, but every interaction with her left me smiling! She was honest, funny and kind. I know she was a wonderful lady to all of her friends and neighbors, always thinking of others and her many loved animals before herself. She also had a true love for Evanston! She will be missed. Sincere condolences  to her family and loved ones. 

  7. Condolences to Sharon’s family & friends

    I had the pleasure of spending time in conversation on a handful of occasions over the last year and found Sharon very funny and kind. I know that she cared for many, worked hard and loved Evanston. Her friends, neighbors and family have my most sincere condolences. She will be missed.

  8. Sharon Eckersall

    My condolences to her family. Sharon was a co worker. She was always optimistic and nice. Always reminded us about taxes and parking issues. I will miss her JM

  9. A kind woman, a loving soul

    Sharon was one of the few people I know who was truly non-judgmental. She opened her arms and doors to everybody – Republican or Democrat. I am an active Democrat, and while Sharon and I had different political opinions, she showed amazing care for me in need, and my child. She loved her children and grandchildren. She was a loving woman who helped me make a home for myself and my child. I will always appreciate this, and admire her unique, beautiful self. I'm not talking about her ability to perform city work, I don't know about that. I'm only pulling from my own personal experiences with her over the past two years. I'm not saying anything is right or wrong or minimizing what others' experiences have been.

    But I am only writing to say that as a human being, she was a lovely, loving soul who never wished harm on anybody. Not her intention. Her absence is a hole in my family's life now.

    Sharon, I'm glad the last time I saw you, just four days ago, we laughed together. We miss and love you, Sharon. 

  10. Pathetic

    I truly cannot believe all the negative comments at this time. 

    Most important, Sharon has been a wonderful MOM and a GRANDMA.  I have been blessed to know Sharon Eckersall for the past 7 yrs.  Nothing in the world meant more than her children and grandchild.  May she rest in peace.

  11. Sharon Eckersall was a brave

    Sharon Eckersall was a brave and a very out spoken person. She was a down to earth person. She could hold her own as a BAD local politician. When she ran the Assessor's office back when in Evanston, she had no problem in seeking more education in her field, if it meant helping her constituents. Sharon would always encourage me to voice my opinion and thank me for voicing my opinion on different issues. Plus, I had no problem with Sharon when she would disagreed with me , nor did l with her, when l disagreed with her. We had mutual respect for each other. I believed she was a good human being who tried to reach out to people in her own special way. I will remember Sharon more so when we talked about our children and especially, about her grandchild and my grandchildren. I will miss her. My condolence to her family.

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