Laurence J. Msall, 61, formerly of Oak Park, died on Feb. 4, 2023, surrounded by his family. Born in Chicago on Jan. 3, 1962, the eighth of 10 children, to Emil and Lucille (nee Kotewa) Msall, he attended St. Ignatius High School and Knox College in Galesburg, where he later served on the Board of Trustees. At Knox, he picked up the political bug and moved to Springfield to work for then-Illinois Governor Jim Thompson at the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs.

In 1990, he joined the staff of the Commercial Club of Chicago as vice president, where he worked with the CEOs of some of Chicago’s largest corporations promoting regional economic development strategies and special projects, including the Soldier Field rehab and reorganization of the United Way of Chicago. He earned his Juris Doctorate in 1992 at Loyola University School of Law, Evening Division.

As the business community’s voice for fiscal responsibility, government efficiency and accountability, he was a fixture in the media and legislative bodies throughout Illinois, helping to explain complex government finance issues and pushing government leaders to choose sustainable fiscal policies with a long-term perspective.

In addition to his professional career, he was an avid runner, fisherman, world traveler, White Sox fan, father, grandfather, uncle, friend and husband.

He returned to Illinois government in 1999, when then-Governor George H. Ryan appointed him Senior Advisor for Economic Development. He was responsible for the oversight of 11 of the state’s economic development and infrastructure-related agencies.

He became president of the Civic Federation, Illinois’ century-old, leading voice for fiscal responsibility and government accountability, in January 2002. Over his 20 years as president, he worked tirelessly to make the Civic Federation an indispensable source of reliable fiscal information and government process recommendations to public officials, the media and the general public. He was also a strong mentor to a generation of Civic Federation staff, who have gone on to successful careers in government, philanthropy and the private sector.

In 2018, he married the love of his life, Nicola Hill-Cordell, creating a boisterous mixed family of eight children.

In addition to his wife, Laurence Msall is survived by his three daughters, Lucille, Camille and Matilda, and Nicola’s children, Alex (Maria), Samantha (Michael), Tommy, Tess and Oscar, as well as three grandchildren, Valerie, Owen, and newly born Reece Jeffrey; eight of his siblings, Michael (Karla), Anita, Karin (Steve) Fischer, Mary (Scott) Rogers, Camille, Madeleine (Frank Mauceri), Christianne, and Julianne (Christopher) Pegler; his first wife, Mary Jo Smith, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, father and brother, Gerard Peter. Generous to the end, he will also live on through the people he helped via organ donation.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Salerno’s Galewood Chapel, 1857 N. Harlem Ave., Chicago. Meet the family for Mass at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at St. Giles Church, 1045 Columbian Ave, Oak Park.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his memory to L’Arche Chicago, an organization that provides services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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