JOHNSBURG – McHenry County GOP kingmaker Albert M. Jourdan Jr. is remembered by colleagues as a man who helped shape local government and the people who run it.
Jourdan, 82, died Saturday. Born and raised in Chicago, Jourdan helped his father run the family’s Jourdan Meatpacking Co. until the business was sold in the 1970s.
In 1957, Jourdan moved with his wife and the first of two children to Johnsburg, where his political career began.
He entered McHenry County politics in 1961 as a Republican committeeman, then served as McHenry County Republican chairman between 1968 and 1998.
From 1972 to 1997, he was McHenry County auditor, and between 1991 and 1993, he was head of the Illinois Republican Party.
In 1998, Jourdan became the first inductee into the McHenry County Republican Foundation’s Hall of Fame.
Longtime Illinois and McHenry County politician Jack Schaffer met Jourdan in the 1960s, when the two were the “new kids on the block” in the Republican Party.
“Over a relatively short period of time, we convinced them we were rational,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer described his colleague and friend as a man who created significant change in every job he held, but he wasn’t one to take credit for much of anything.
Jourdan also was frequently consulted for advice by many prospective politicians throughout the state of Illinois.
“Anyone who thought they were running for office as a Republican statewide would make sure one of the first five calls they made was to Al Jourdan,” Schaffer said.
As McHenry County Republican chairman, Jourdan ran the office “without a scandal worth talking about,” and was someone who earned the respect from members of both parties.
Republican state Sen. Pam Althoff said Jourdan mentored her for a very long time, as he did for many others over the past several decades.
She said that Jourdan was someone people turned to when a political issue came up.
He also watched the county grow and almost double in size while maintaining close, tight-knit relationships with community members and new civic leaders, she said.
“First and foremost, he was a great family man, and he was truly invested in his community,” Althoff said. “He considered the community a part of his family.”
A visitation will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday and from 10 a.m. until the 10:30 a.m. funeral service Friday at Justen Funeral Home & Crematory, 3700 Charles J. Miller Road, McHenry. For information, call 815-385-2400 or visit www.justenfh.com.