Goodbye Jim. And thank you.

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 Jim Maloof's passing was not a surprise. He hasn't been well for some time now. But it is no less sad, a reason to pause and reflect on the man, what he meant to so many of us who knew him and to his city.

We should remember, too, what he meant to his family. Jim would be the first to tell you he was nothing without them.

When I first heard that Jim had passed away Saturday night, my first thought was of Trudy, his wife. As much as I loved and respected Jim, I absolutely adored Trudy and have missed her since her passing March 29, 2001.

I thought about the times I was around both of them together, how in one instance she was rolling her eyes at one of his jokes and in the next watching him with a look in her eyes that bespoke the wonderful, loving life they had together.

I thought about feeling so privileged to have been there when Jim sang "The Wind Beneath My Wings" to Trudy at their 50th wedding anniversary party in 1991.

I cried then. I cried when I learned Trudy was gone.

I cried Saturday night. But I also smiled, knowing Jim and Trudy are together again. While Michael, Nick and Jan are feeling the loss of their parents today, and I offer them my most sincere condolences, they also must feel proud of the legacy they share. Jim and Trudy were also immensely proud of them.

Jim also was very proud of his city. He believed in Peoria and its citizens. He took the job of being its mayor seriously, even the morning he went to a public event wearing pajamas and a bathrobe or the times he broke into song. He did those things not to get laughs or to draw attention to himself as much as to draw attention to Peoria. If his antics drew publicity to Peoria, he was fine with it.

Yes, people laughed at those antics. But I think I can safely say Peorians today are proud we had Jim Maloof as our mayor, our ambassador, our friend, for 93 years. He was one of a kind.

I could go on and discuss the years I covered Jim the mayor as a reporter for the Peoria Journal Star. There were times we disagreed about an issue and he wasn't above letting me know about it loudly. I could talk more about the relationship we had outside of work, one of mutual respect (something that was important to Jim) and a genuine affection for one another.

When I left the Journal Star nearly two years ago and came to work here, he was very supportive of my decision. It still felt great to get personal notes from him when I wrote a story for The Peorian he liked. He always did that when I was with the newspaper.

He'll never know how much those kinds of gestures meant to people. I don't think he ever realized how many lives he touched.

Goodbye Jim. You will be missed. Tell Trudy I said "hello, dear heart."

Paul Gordon is editor of The Peorian. He can be reached at 692-7880 or

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).