BYRON — Longtime Ogle County public official Kim Gouker was found dead in his home Tuesday by Byron Police after missing an appointment that morning.
Officials do not expect any foul play and believe Gouker passed away in his sleep sometime overnight Monday.
Gouker has served as Ogle County Board Chairman since 2012 and has been an Ogle County Board member since 1996. He was also a former Byron City Clerk and owned an insurance, annuities and tax preparation business in Ogle County.
“Chairman Kim Gouker worked tirelessly for the good of Ogle County and had an extensive knowledge of county government. During his tenure on the Ogle County board which began in 1996, the board accomplished many things including the construction of the Ogle County Judicial Center, the renovation of the Ogle County Courthouse and the current Ogle County Jail project,” Ogle County State’s Attorney Eric Morrow said in a statement released Wednesday. “Since his election as Chairman in 2012, the Ogle County board has been a cohesive and productive legislative body. Chairman Gouker will be missed, not only for his contributions to local government, but also his wit and personality.”
Ogle County Clerk mirrored Morrow’s sentiment.
“I have worked with Kim for a very long time and I know my staff and I are going to miss him,” Ogle County Clerk Laura Cook said Wednesday morning.
According to a post on Gouker’s Facebook page made by his brother, Michael Gouker, on Tuesday Kim had not been feeling well lately and had been having medical tests done to determine the cause of his illness. In his post, Michael confirmed Kim passed away in his sleep.
“By statute, if a vacancy occurs in the office of County Board Chairman the remaining members of the County Board shall elect one of the members of the board to serve for the balance of
the unexpired term of the Chairman. Historically, the Ogle County Board has elected a vice-chairman to preside in the absence of the chairman. Our current vice-chairman is John Finfrock. Mr. Finfrock, who worked closely with chairman Gouker, has been attending to the business of the county and
shouldering the duties of chairman since we learned of chairman Gouker's untimely passing,” Morrow said.
Morrow added that after consultation with and Cook, it has been decided that the election of a chairman to serve for the balance of Gouker's unexpired term will be on the agenda of the Ogle County Board meeting to be held on Sept. 17 at 5:30 p.m.
Funeral arrangements for Gouker have not yet been released.