Rich Means, 78

Richard (Rich) Kenneth Means, 78, of Oak Park, died on Dec. 17, 2020. Born in Champaign and raised in Western Springs, he graduated from Lyons Township High and attended college at Eastern New Mexico University and the University of Stockholm. He graduated from Northwestern University Law School in 1968 and practiced election and public service law for more than 50 years until he died. Long involved in civic activities and progressive politics, he was most recently Illinois Chapter chair of the liberal advocacy group Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and a past state chairman of Independent Voters of Illinois (IVI). 

“He was a very significant figure in independent politics and the go-to counsel to many an independent office seeker,” said Dan Lauber, who served with him on the IVI board.

He was twice the chairman of the Chicago Bar Association’s Election Law Committee and past executive director of the Chicago Council of Lawyers. His proudest professional accomplishment was serving as election lawyer for Harold Washington’s successful Chicago mayoral campaign in 1983. He and his wife, Anne, are longtime members of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation (UTUUC) in Oak Park. 

Rich was the husband of Anne L. Rooney; the father of Chris (Michele), Annika (Andrew) Rothbaum, and Alex Means; the grandfather of Logan Means, and Eve and Soren Rothbaum; the brother of James (Linda) and Dexter (Lynne) Means and Margaret “Peggy” (James) Newman; and the brother-in-law, uncle, friend and colleague to many. 

A virtual Celebration of Life service will be scheduled for late January. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Americans for Democratic Action @, Beyond Hunger @, or the UTUUC Abundance Fund @

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