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Former Champaign Mayor William Bland Passes Away

Former Champaign Mayor William Bland died Friday at the age of 73. Bland passed away at the Champaign County Nursing Home, according to Wolfe Funeral Home in Potomac.

Bland served as Champaign mayor from 1975-79, following a term on the city council. Bland was an electrician who became a local union leader. He was instrumental in the creation of the Workers' Memorial monument at Dodds Park in Champaign.

One of his supporters at the time was school teacher Dannel McCollum, who would serve as Champaign mayor in the 1980s and 90s. McCollum said Bland and his fellow council members made up one of the most liberal city councils in his memory. He said Bland was a very open person, who presided over an inclusive city council.

"But I always had the sense that bill was really a person open to everyone, and I just had a lot of personal respect for bill just for the sense of his open, frank and honest character," McCollum said.

Champaign City Council member Michael LaDue said he has warm memories of Bland in his later years.

"Well he was the sort of person that we in downstate Illinois would like to think of ourselves as being. He personified good sense and good will," LaDue said. "He was an endless font of good will. He was always positive and quiet, and always willing to participate and eager."

Wolfe Funeral Home in Potomac says funeral services for Bland will be held Saturday, Sept. 17 at 1pm, at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall in Champaign.