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Former Champaign Mayor Robert Dodd Dies

Former Champaign Mayor Robert Dodd, current Mayor Don Gerard, and former Mayor Jerry Schweighart.

Former Champaign Mayor Robert Dodd, current Mayor Don Gerard, and former Mayor Jerry Schweighart. (Della Perrone)

Former Champaign Mayor Robert Dodd has passed away. Dodd was an attorney who served as Champaign’s Mayor from 1983 until 1987.

Longtime city council member Michael La Due served with Dodd.

He said a lot of the recent growth in Champaign is because of Dodd’s insistence to use financial instruments like bonds, his push for building developments, and his interest in a research park on the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus.

“Bob wanted this city to be guided very self-consciously, deliberatively into the process of forming public private partnerships,” La Due said. “That was his biggest contribution, and it has proven to be huge and of enduring legacy.”

"Credit should go where credit is due," he added. "He was instrumental in forming a downtown association of merchants with city participation to try and oversee and plan for the future of the downtown. They did that. We can see what the future was. It was very bright indeed."

Champaign Mayor Don Gerard remembers Dodd as being the last mayor before him to have a full-time job while serving in office.

“After I was elected, he called me up and we got together,” Gerard said. “He was just tickled. He was very encouraged and enthusiastic, excited about the prospects. Gave me a lot of not so much strict advice, but just moral and personal support.”

Up until his death, Dodd was a partner for the Champaign law firm, Dodd & Maatuka, LLC. According to the firm's website, his primary responsibilities in the practice were "profit and non-profit corporations, business organization, real estate and advice to start-up companies."

In addition to his work with agricultural cooperatives and small companies, he also had an interest in family law matters and the needs of the elderly and developmentally disabled.

Attorney Shayla Maatuka was Dodd's partner at the firm.

"I think he was definitely one of the leaders in the legal community," "Maatuka recalled. "He represented several businesses in the community, and did a lot of good work for citizens in the community."

Dodd, who was 75, had been battling pancreatitis. Funeral arraignments have not been set.

Categories: Government, History, Politics