A memorial service was held Tuesday, April 20 at Chicago Temple First United, 77 West Washington Street, Chicago.
A memorial service was held Wednesday, March 24 at Second Baptist Church, 436 South 13th Avenue, Maywood.
Funeral services were held Saturday, March 20, 2010 at Corbin Colonial Funeral Chapel, 1001 Madison Street, Maywood.
Chicago, March 17: With shock and deep sorrow, The Heartland Institute announced today the sudden death of Ralph Conner, who served as the organization’s local government relations manager since 2005 and who informed and helped shape the organization’s efforts since its founding in 1984. Conner was found dead at his home in Maywood, Illinois, on Saturday, March 13.
“We’re all still in a state of shock,” said Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute. “Ralph was full of his usual energy a week ago, inspiring and sometimes entertaining us with his insights and deeds. For him to have been taken away from us so suddenly and without warning is just shattering. I’ve lost a friend and colleague, thousands of elected officials around the country have lost a resource and trusted ally, and the world has lost a truly extraordinary individual.”
“Ralph was a stalwart and eloquent spokesman for fair play and individual liberty, and an insightful political analyst,” said Dan Miller, Heartland’s senior vice president and publisher. “As a thinker, writer, and public speaker, he was a force to be reckoned with in the political theater in Illinois and nationally.”
“Ralph was not afraid to defend unpopular and unconventional views in conversation or debate with anyone, in any place,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, Heartland’s vice president of programs. “He brought endless energy, creativity, and humor to our efforts, and he never left a room without making a friend. I was lucky, indeed privileged, to have known and worked with him.”
Conner was born and raised in Maywood, a community in the western inner-ring suburbs of Chicago. He devoted nearly 20 years of his life to public service for the municipality, serving as village president (2001-2005), director of planning and development/building commissioner (1990-1995), and enterprise zone administrator (1989-1995).
Conner was a popular spokesperson for taxpayers, government reform, school choice, and many other issues. He often appeared as a pundit on Comcast, WTTW, and Bruce DuMont’s nationally syndicated “Beyond the Beltway” radio program. In 2008 he launched the Chicago office of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). In 2009 he appeared in “No Guns for Negroes,” a documentary film on the Second Amendment. He was working on a film on black World War II veterans when he died.
Arrangements are being made for a funeral on Saturday, March 20. Updated information about that service will be available at The Heartland Institute’s Web site at www.heartland.org.
Links to some videos featuring Ralph Conner: