Friday, March 11, 2016

Elof Waldemere Mureen (1893-1952)

 Portrait form the Illinois State Blue Book, 1931-32.

    A former Mayor of Galesburg, Illinois and two-term member of the Illinois General Assembly, Elof Waldemere Mureen was for many years prominent in the civic and political life of Knox County, Illinois. A lifelong resident of the "Land of Lincoln", Elof W. Mureen was born in Peoria County on March 22, 1893, being the son of Fred and Minnie Albertina Mureen. His family resettled in Spring Valley, Illinois when he was a child and in 1906 removed to Galesburg, where Elof completed his schooling. Mureen married on June 28, 1916 to Ruth Adams, with whom he would have four children: Robert Wayne (1917-2015), Virginia Ruth (died 1989), Howard Frederick (born ca. 1924) and Lilian Joan (born ca. 1930). 
   Shortly after his marriage Elof Mureen began work as a salesman and for many years afterward was employed as a "local improvement representative" for a "leading Illinois clay products manufacturer." In 1919 Mureen entered into local political life when he won election to the Galesburg city council and two years later was returned to that body. In 1923 he was elected as Galesburg's mayor as the candidate of the People's Party, defeating Socialist candidate E.P. Nelson. 
    The youngest mayor elected in Galesburg up to that time, Mureen was reelected as mayor in 1925 and during his second term helped to open a municipal golf course at the Soantegetaha Country Club in Galesburg. After leaving the mayor's office Mureen was appointed to the vacant directorship of the Galesburg Board of Education, succeeding his father Fred, who had died a few days previously. In May 1930 he reached his highest degree of political prominence when he was elected as one of two representatives to the Illinois General Assembly from that state's 43rd legislative district.
   Taking his seat at the start of the 1931-33 session, Mureen served on the committees on Conservation, Fish and Game, Education and Industrial Affairs. In November 1932 he won a second term in the house, garnering 29, 542 votes on election day. During the 1933-34 session, Mureen sat on the committees on Banks, Banking and Building and Loan Associations, Education, Municipalities, Public Utilities and Transportation and Uniform Laws. Mureen's two terms in the house were also notable for his having introduced legislation to:
"Authorize school boards to equip playgrounds from moneys in the building fund and to provide supervision for these playgrounds from the educational fund." 
   Mureen's bill would be passed by both houses of the legislature and in June 1931 was approved by then-Governor Louis Emmerson. Following his time in state government, Elof W. Mureen continued service on the Galesburg Board of Education and also authored a book, entitled "History of the Fulton County Narrow Gauge Railway--Spoon River Peavine". In the mid 1940s, he joined with his brother Ernest in forming the Mureen Hardware Co., a business that would later be managed by Elof's son Howard. Elof W. Mureen died in April of 1952, shortly after his 59th birthday. A burial location for him remains unknown at the time of this writing.

                            Portrait from the "History of Public Grounds and Playgrounds in Galesburg", 1932.

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