Sharon Eckersall, who served three terms as Evanston Township assessor and was due to retake the office next year, was found dead in her home today.
Police are investigating the death but said there was no immediate indication of foul play.
Eckersall, 69, was the Republican nominee for Cook County assessor in 2010 but came in third behind the winner, Democrat Joe Berrios, and Forrest Claypool, who ran as an independent. Eckersall also worked as a real estate agent.
Evanston police responded to Eckersall's residence in the 2500 block of Ashland Avenue at about 8:45 a.m. today shortly after paramedics arrived on a call for an unresponsive female found in her bed, officials said.
Eckersall served 12 years as the Evanston Township assessor but was defeated by Bonnie Wilson in 2009. This year, Wilson did not seek re-election, and Eckersall ran unopposed to retain the seat this spring. She was due to be sworn in to the seat in January.
Evanston City Clerk Rodney Greene remembered Eckersall as a tireless advocate for property owners in the north suburb.
"She would go the extra mile to get things done. She was very concerned about taxes and how they affected people's properties and their lives,” Green said. "She was very concerned about keeping the township intact so people wouldn't have to go further to talk to an assessor because she was right there. She felt strongly about making sure you had what you needed at the time you needed it for anything concerning property."
During Eckersall's first stint as township assessor, several employees filed wrongful dismissal lawsuits against the office, but those suits were eventually dismissed, said Greene.
"I don't think there was any animosity towards her," he said. "Some folk didn't like the way she would respond to people. But the majority of folk had a good rapport with her."