Army vet­eran, father of Chicago con­gress­man

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY MITCH DUDEK, STAFF RE­PORTER [email protected]­times.com | @mitch­dudek

Aban­doned by his mother, the baby boy — he was about 2 — ended up at an In­di­ana or­phan­age dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion.

His luck changed when a WWI vet­eran and his wife filled out the “boy or girl” por­tion of an adop­tion ap­pli­ca­tion with the words: “any child we can love.”

That vet­eran, Wil­liam Earl Quigley, made his adopted son his name­sake and gave him what­ever else he could work­ing as a handy­man and farm­hand in a ru­ral area out­side In­di­anapo­lis.

The ori­gin story stayed with him al­ways — from when he served in the Army dur­ing the Korean War era as a new­ly­wed to the time he re­tired with a pen­sion from AT&T — and formed the bedrock mo­ti­va­tion of his life: “You work hard to give your kids a bet­ter chance than you had.”

On Satur­day, af­ter a long battle with Parkin­son’s dis­ease, Mr. Quigley, 92, died know­ing he did just that.

His daugh­ter Chris is a re­tired school su­per­in­ten­dent. His daugh­ter Linda was a so­cial worker. His son Dan, who passed away two years ago, owned a used-record store. And his son Mike is a U.S. con­gress­man.

“He didn’t like most politi­cians, so the irony that his son grew up to be one was not lost upon him,” said Mike Quigley, who rep­re­sents Illi­nois’ 5th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict.

De­spite that fact, Mr. Quigley in­sisted on stand­ing the en­tire time as his son was sworn in to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in 2009.

Mr. Quigley reg­u­larly wrote let­ters to politi­cians call­ing out “id­iocy and hypocrisy,” and din­ner con­ver­sa­tion could eas­ily be mis­taken for po­lit­i­cal de­bate at the Quigley house.

What­ever adopted dog the fam­ily had at the time — there were many and they were all called “Missy” be­cause it was easy to re­mem­ber — was cer­tainly well fed.

“He’d spoil those dogs rot­ten, and sing to them even, be­cause they went through sim­i­lar things as him. He knew what it was like to be an or­phan,” Mike Quigley said, re­call­ing his dad’s habit of mix­ing ta­ble scraps with gravy and of­fer­ing it to the dogs.

“When you’re hun­gry, you’ll eat any­thing,” he re­called his father say­ing. “We’d be like, ‘Yeah, right!’ And he’d never elab­o­rate, he’d just say ‘Trust me.’”

Mr. Quigley, who went by Bill, was start­ing his sec­ond year at Pur­due Uni­ver­sity when he was drafted into the Army dur­ing the Korean War. He mar­ried Joan Louise Deputy in the chapel of a mil­i­tary train­ing fa­cil­ity in Ge­or­gia; the cou­ple cel­e­brated their 67th wed­ding an­niver­sary last June.

Mr. Quigley spent his post-mil­i­tary ca­reer work­ing for AT&T as a su­per­vis­ing en­gi­neer. A pro­mo­tion brought him to the Chicago area in 1967. He set­tled in Carol Stream. Upon re­tire­ment, he moved to Ottawa, Illi­nois, where he vol­un­teered at a home­less shel­ter and served on the Ottawa Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

His hob­bies in­cluded chess and read­ing. He also built ra­dios, stereos — and his fam­ily’s first color TV.

He was also fa­nat­i­cal about the In­di­anapo­lis 500; he sported his check­ered socks and stop­watches to the race on as many as 60 oc­ca­sions.

“To me, he rep­re­sented a more re­al­is­tic as­pect of the Amer­i­can Dream. He did it all to put a roof over our heads and food on the ta­ble,” Mike Quigley said.

“He came from less than noth­ing, and he raised four kids. My ac­com­plish­ments are a shadow com­pared to what he was able to do,” he said.

In ad­di­tion to his wife and chil­dren, Mr. Quigley is also sur­vived by six grand­chil­dren and two great-grand­chil­dren.

Ser­vices are pend­ing.

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Wil­liam Earl Quigley, father of U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., died Satur­day, the fam­ily said.

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