Former Bloomington Mayor Judy Markowitz passes away

A plaque at the main entrance of the McLean County Museum of History recognizes Judy Markowitz and the gift she gave in 2000. (Facebook/McLean County Museum of History)


By Neil Doyle

BLOOMINGTON – Judy Markowitz, the first and only woman ever elected mayor of Bloomington, has died at the age of 82.

Markowitz was elected Bloomington’s 52nd mayor in 1997 and served two terms. During that time, she helped bring an arena to downtown Bloomington and the performing arts center.

Judy was the promotions coordinator at WJBC for 10 years, during which she organized the community’s “Debt of Honor/Welcome Home Vietnam Vets” parade. She was hired by longtime WJBC morning show host Don Munson.

“She wanted a place to get involved and she thought WJBC would be a good place to do that,” Munson told WJBC’s Marc Strauss. “She was a trailblazer in a lot of ways, a heck of an organizer, but mostly, she was just a bubbly force of nature.”

“I said on a Facebook post that she introduced herself to darned near every human being in central Illinois, but to me, she was the happy dynamo who helped make WJBC so special. Judy Markowitz was one of a kind,” Munson said.

Judy has received numerous honors, including a YWCA “Woman of Distinction” award in 1994 and she was honored by the McLean County Museum of History in 2013 as a “History Maker.”

A private family service was held, according to Carmody-Flynn Funeral Home in Bloomington.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Moses Montefiore Temple, the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois or the Bloomington Public Library, all close to Judy’s heart.

Neil Doyle can be reached at


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…